Pipistrel’s prototype of its Panthera rolled out of the company’s factory in Ajdovscina, Slovenia. The Pipistrel engineers and technicians performed a successful first engine start and ground runs of the 210-hp Lycoming engine, verifying design parameters and engine operation, according to company officials.
Ivo Boscarol, Pipistrel’s CEO (pictured above) says: “It is very exciting to witness the tests and see the aeroplane come to life for the very first time. This is definitely a very important milestone in the development of Panthera. We look forward to the continuation of tests and the first flight soon!”
You can see a video of the first engine start here
Work will continue on functional ground tests and preparation for first flight, followed by a complete flight test program, officials noted.
Panthera is capable of flying four people for 1,000 nm, cruising at 200 kts, burning 10 gallons of fuel per hour, officials said. With full composite construction with titanium retractable undercarriage and a parachute rescue system standard, Panthera can be equipped with the conventional, hybrid, or all electric propulsion system, officials add.
Pipistrel, founded in 1987, is an aircraft producer and 2012 Collier-prize nominee with a wide range of products, from single and two-seat self-launching gliders, light-sport trainers, motorgliders and high-performance two-seat cruisers, to the four-seat Panthera. Pipistrel was the first to fly both a two-seat and four-seat electric aircraft, and was the winner of all three NASA Centennial Challenges for energy efficient airplanes, company officials note..