Hybrid-electric EEL aircraft sets distance record

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Ampaire's hybrid-electric EEL demonstrator aircraft has completed an 1,880 statute mile mission from Los Angeles to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where it is now being displayed at EAA AirVenture’s Boeing Plaza.

Hybrid-electric EEL in flight to Oshkosh
Hybrid-electric EEL in flight to Oshkosh - Ampaire

The journey included a flight of 1,135 miles, which is the longest non-stop flight made by a hybrid-electric aircraft.

Ampaire said test pilot Elliot Seguin took off from Camarillo Airport on Wednesday afternoon, July 20 and flew to Mojave Airport in California (a flight of 85 miles) to avoid the potential for early morning fog the next morning. On Thursday, he flew the 1,135 miles from Mojave to Hays, Kansas. The next morning, July 22, he completed the trip, flying 660 miles to Oshkosh’s Wittman Regional Airport.   

The EEL is said to have demonstrated fuel savings of up to 40 per cent compared to a standard Cessna Skymaster, on which the aircraft is based. The EEL is a parallel hybrid, with one conventional combustion engine and an independent electric drivetrain. According to Ampaire, optimised hybrid electric aircraft can demonstrate ‘substantially higher’ fuel savings and emissions reductions. 

In a statement, Dr Susan Ying, Ampaire’s SVP of Global Partnerships said: “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. 

“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 per cent and emissions reductions up to 100 per cent when using sustainable aviation fuel.” 

Following the Eco Caravan Ampaire said it will scale its technology to larger regional aircraft.