Longest hybrid-electric flight made by Ampaire’s Eel aircraft


Ampaire’s hybrid-electric Eel demonstrator aircraft has completed a 1,135 mile flight from Los Angeles to Wisconsin.

The 1,135 mile (1,827km) non-stop flight was part of a 1,880 mile (3,025km) trip to an air show and is the  longest nonstop trip yet made by a hybrid-electric airplane, said Ampaire.

The Eel is a six-seat Cessna 337 twin-engine aircraft modified with a hybrid-electric propulsion system – an electric motor in the nose and traditional combustion engine in the rear. Los Angeles-based Ampaire, which was founded in 2016, has been flying two Eel aircraft since 2019, including a series of test flights in the UK.

The flight was to the EAA AIrVenture show at Oshkosh, were the aircraft is now on display at the Boeing Plaza until the end of this week.

Ampaire test pilot Elliot Seguin took off from Mojave Airport in California July 21 and flew the 1,135 miles to Hays, Kansas. The next morning, July 22, he completed the trip, flying 660 miles to Oshkosh’s Wittman Regional Airport.

According to Ampaire, the Eel demonstrated fuel savings of up to 40% versus the standard Cessna Skymaster, on which it is based. The Eel is a parallel hybrid, with one conventional combustion engine and an independent electric drivetrain. Optimized hybrid electric aircraft can demonstrate substantially higher fuel savings and emissions reductions.

“By the time the Eel returns to California it will have flown more miles than any hybrid-electric aircraft, over 15,000, including airline demonstration flights in Hawaii and the UK. It is flying with great reliability and demonstrating the workhorse nature of hybrid-electric aircraft,” said Dr. Susan Ying, Ampaire’s senior vice president of global partnerships.

“We are taking the technology and expertise developed with the electrical EEL and applying it to our first commercial product, the hybrid-electric nine-seat Eco Caravan regional aircraft, which will make its first flight later this year. That aircraft will demonstrate fuel savings up to 70% and emissions reductions up to 100% when using sustainable aviation fuel.”

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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