With a hybrid-electrically powered propulsion system, Ampaire’s twin-engine Cessna 337 Skymaster successfully completed the first public flight from Camarillo Airport in Southern California. The original Skymaster included an engine in front and one in the rear providing a push-pull thrust arrangement. The 337 also offered six seats and weighed approximately 4,700 pounds.
Ampaire replaced the rear engine with an electric powerplant but left the piston engine in place up front. The goal of the flight was to begin proving that an electrically powered six-place aircraft can operate at a much lower cost than one powered by fossil fuel. Even with just one hybrid-electric powerplant, the Ampaire 337 creates significantly less in greenhouse gases than a conventional engine.
While the company has offered few details about the aircraft, the 337 is believed to have a range of nearly 200 nm. Ampaire plans to begin more intensive flight testing of the 337 beginning this month in Hawaii. Those flights are expected to run through the end of the summer. Ampaire believes it could have a commercially viable electric propulsion system available by 2021.