Tecnam P2010 H3PS Hybrid Aircraft Takes First Flight

Rolls-Royce and Rotax also collaborated on the aircraft, which made its maiden voyage in Italy.

Italian aircraft manufacturer Tecnam Aircraft announced this week that it successfully flew its P2010 H3PS hybrid aircraft for the first time on December 21. 

The new model is the first general aviation aircraft to use a parallel hybrid configuration to propel it. The P2010 H3PS was created as part of a collaboration with Rolls-Royce and Rotax, who each had representatives present for the demonstration flight in Italy.

Tecnam’s chief experimental test pilot, Lorenzo De Stefano, piloted the four-seat experimental aircraft. It was powered by a 104kW Rotax 915 IS engine coupled with a 30kW Rolls-Royce electric motor. This new powertrain can produce 134kW (180hp) in a fully integrated parallel hybrid configuration.

H3PS stands for “High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain,” a project funded under the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Tecnam R&D director Fabio Russo said in a statement that the successful test flight means the H3PS project was a success.

“Though H3PS is not intended for market purposes, our successful flight tests demonstrate that hybrid powertrain, with combustion engine coupled with an electric motor, can bear [an airframe with] the same useful load of the traditional 180 hp combustion engine,” Russo said.

The aircraft served as a validation tool and launchpad for Tecnam Aircraft and its project partners, who are now focused on expanding their sustainability efforts.

“Tecnam’s approach to innovation is truly sustainable,” said Tecnam’s managing director Giovanni Pascale Langer in the same statement. 

“Our development focuses on three key pillars: environmentally friendly, technologically viable, and marketable solutions. We do this by leveraging our multi-generational expertise, research and development, next-generation technology, and strategic partnerships.”

Traditionally, Tecnam Aircraft produces light general aviation, next-generation piston aircraft with two to 11 seats for commercial operators, special missions, flight schools, and private owners. 

Rolls-Royce Electrical’s president, Rob Watson, called the flight a “pioneering achievement” and said the collaboration with Tecnam and Rotax has been productive.

“Working with Tecnam and Rotax has been hugely beneficial, and this project has continued to build our capabilities in delivering all-electric and hybrid-electric power and propulsion systems for the advanced air mobility market.”

Michael Dopona, the head of the design organization at BRP-Rotax, also commented on the achievement, saying “there are still challenges to take up,” but that the companies would continue working together to produce “very interesting and future-orientated results for innovative propulsion systems.”

The Tecnam P2010 was first certificated with a traditional Lycoming powerplant in Europe in 2014 and the diesel version gained initial EASA certification in October 2020.


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