Ampaire Begins Ground Tests, Seeks Funding
As a follow-on to its hybrid-electric Cessna 337 Electric EEL, Ampaire announced on April 22 that it has begun ground testing the propulsion system on its hybrid-electric Cessna 206B Grand Caravan. Ampaire began conducting the tests in early April at Los Angeles’ Hawthorne Airport. Known as the Eco Caravan, it is the first hybrid-electric piloted aircraft to enter the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification process, the company said. The first flight of the eCTOL aircraft is expected in the second half of 2022, with certification planned for 2024. The company expects the Eco Caravan will save up to 70% of fuel on short-hop routes and over 50% on long-haul flights, while still carrying nine passengers or cargo. The aircraft can achieve an emissions reduction of up to 90% if using sustainable aviation fuel.
Meanwhile, Ampaire is preparing a Series B funding round and intends to proceed as an independent company. The news comes after a deal with Surf Air Mobility, Ampaire’s prospective launch customer, fell through earlier this year. That deal, which was first announced in February 2021, would have seen Surf Air acquire Ampaire and place orders for its aircraft (see “SPACtacular Financing: Billions Coming for eVTOL,” Vertiflite, March/April 2021). Instead, Ampaire will proceed as a standalone company and raise funds from existing investors.