Panthera Evolves as EASA Certification Nears

Since the first flight of the prototype in 2013, Pipistrel has incorporated more than 200 design changes into the sleek Slovenian four-seater.

Pipistrel Panthera
The Pipistrel Panthera prototype has gone through more than 200 changes as it nears EASA certification.Pipistrel

The Pipistrel Panthera continues to progress toward certification, but the airplane that enters production will incorporate a vast number of design alterations — some minor, some major — that the Slovenian manufacturer hopes will make the sleek four-seater an even more attractive product.

According to Pipistrel CEO Ivo Boscarol, the biggest change to the production version of the Panthera is its Lycoming IO-540 engine, which replaces the IO-390 used in the prototype. The cabin has also been expanded to provide more head and leg room. In all, Pipistrel has made more than 200 changes to the prototype based on flight test experience.

The engine change means Pipistrel will come very close to meeting its design target of producing an airplane capable of cruising at 200 knots, flying 1,000-nautical-mile legs at reduced power settings and carrying four adults with the fuel tanks full. The Panthera’s normal cruise speed is projected to be 198 ktas, range at 55 percent power is 1,000 nm and full-fuel payload tips the scales 770 pounds.

At about 14.5 gallons per hour, fuel consumption using the 260 hp IO-540 will be higher than the 10 gph fuel flow originally hoped for.

At Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany, Boscarol said EASA certification of the Panthera is expected soon. Base price is targeted at about $480,000.