Pipistrel Panthera

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Panthera
Pipistrel Panthera aircraft.JPG
Role Light aircraft
National origin Slovenia
Manufacturer Pipistrel
First flight April 4, 2013[1][2]
Introduction 2013[3] Part 23 certification anticipated for 2015[4]
Status In development
Unit cost
EUR€400,000[5]

The Pipistrel Panthera is a lightweight, all-composite, highly efficient four-place aircraft under development by Pipistrel of Slovenia.[3][5][6][7][8]

The gasoline-powered version of the Panthera is intended to cruise at 202 kn (374 km/h) for over 1,000 nmi (1,852 km) with a 10 US gph (37 lph) fuel burn. There are two other versions planned, one with a 145 kW hybrid power system, and the other with a 145 kW pure electric system. These two latter variants will only seat two people to accommodate the electric systems.[3][5][6][7][8]

The company intends to offer the aircraft first as a kit for amateur construction and may later type certify it.[8]

Design and development[edit]

Pipistrel Panthera roll-out

In May 2011, Pipistrel was working on constructing the prototype, powered by the Lycoming engine, with all of the aircraft molds already completed. The first flight was planned for autumn of the same year, with the aircraft being tested the following summer with the electric technologies derived from the Green Flight Challenge electric Taurus project. It will be initially offered in kit form, and Pipistrel indicated that construction will take place in Italy.[9]

Features of the aircraft will include an airframe parachute designed for use at high speeds and low altitudes[10] and a glass cockpit.[3] The Pipistrel Panthera has an all-composite airframe, made from carbon fiber, glass fiber, and kevlar, and it sports trailing-link electric landing gear made of titanium and aluminum alloys,[11] which will be of benefit for operations from grass runways.[12] The composite materials used for the exterior of the aircraft were selected in part based on their ability to withstand lightning strikes,[13][14] which merit increased consideration when employing composite materials instead of a traditional aluminum airframe.[15]

In March 2014 it was announced that the intended Lycoming IO-390 powerplant will be replaced by a six-cylinder Lycoming IO-540. The change was made due to Lycoming Engines not planning to certify the IO-390 for automotive fuel as an option. The IO-540 will provide the same cruise performance and fuel economy, but weighs 41 kg (90 lb) more. However, it will allow the Panthera's gross weight to be increased by 95.25 kg (210 lb) to make up for the extra weight. The aircraft will use the existing cowling, which was originally designed to accommodate a six cylinder engine anyway.[16]

Operational history[edit]

A test article was introduced at AERO Friedrichshafen 2012 in April 2012. On March 29, 2013, the Panthera had its first successful engine start, using a 210HP Lycoming engine,[17] and subsequently began taxi tests[17][18] in preparation for the "complete flight test programme".[17] The Pipistrel Panthera made its 54-minute maiden flight less than one week later on April 4, starting the evaluations of performance, handling and systems in flight.[1][2] Less than one month later, the Panthera flew over the Alps to the Aero fair at the Friedrichshafen Airport.[19]

Specifications (Panthera)[edit]

Data from manufacturer’s website[20]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: three passengers
  • Length: 26 ft 6 in (8.07 m)
  • Wingspan: 35 ft 8 in (10.86 m)
  • Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.90 m)
  • Wing area: 117 sq ft (10.9 m2)
  • Max takeoff weight: 2,646 lb (1,200 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming IO-540 six cylinder piston aircraft engine. Variants will include a hybrid system and a pure electric option, each 145 kW (194 hp).

Performance

  • Cruising speed: 232 mph; 202 kn (374 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 68 mph; 59 kn (109 km/h)
  • Never exceed speed: 253 mph; 220 kn (407 km/h)
  • Range: 1,181 mi; 1,026 nmi (1,900 km) , Hybrid range is 758 mi; 659 nmi (1,220 km) , Electric range is 249 mi; 216 nmi (400 km)
  • Service ceiling: 20,013 ft (6,100 m) ; ceiling for hybrid and electric versions is 13,123 ft (4,000 m).
  • Rate of climb: 1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The maiden flight of the Panthera". Retrieved 2013-04-07. 
  2. ^ a b Panthera maiden flight (Flash video) (Youtube). Cerklje ob Krki Airport, Slovenia: Pipistrel EcoLution. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Panthera: Pipistrel's new four seater electric plane for clean aviation". Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  4. ^ "Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present.... the PANTHERA!". Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  5. ^ a b c "A new 4 seater electric plane for Pipistrel, the Panthera". Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  6. ^ a b "Panthera: Is This The Plane To Catch?". Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  7. ^ a b "Travel made effortless with Pipistrel's new four seater Panthera". Retrieved 2011-11-26. 
  8. ^ a b c Bernard, Mary and Suzanne B. Bopp: What's Coming?, Kitplanes, Volume 29, Number 12, December 2012, page 29. Belvoir Publications. ISSN 0891-1851
  9. ^ "Des Nouvelles du Panthera" (in French). Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  10. ^ Pipistrel Panthera (Flash video) (Youtube). Friedrichshafen, Germany: Pipistrel USA. 2012. Event occurs at 1:40. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Pipistrel Panthera (Flash video) (Youtube). Friedrichshafen, Germany: Pipistrel USA. 2012. Event occurs at 1:15. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Lightning Strike Test". Retrieved 2013-02-18. 
  13. ^ Lightning Strike Test - Panthera Aircraft by Pipistrel - Episode 1 (Flash video) (Youtube). Milan Vidmar Electric Power Research Institute, Lubljana, Slovenia: PipistrelOfficial. 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  14. ^ Szatkowski, George; Nguyen, Truong; Koppen, Sandra; Ely, Jay; Mielnik, John (15 Sept 2009), Electrical Characterizations of Lightning Strike Protection Techniques for Composite Materials (PDF), NASA Langley Research Center, retrieved 18 Feb 2013  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  15. ^ Bertorelli, Paul (3 March 2014). "Pipistrel Switches Engines for Panthera". AVweb. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c "Panthera: successful first engine start". 29 March 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  17. ^ PANTHERA - first roll-out and engine start (WMV Video file) (Pipistrel News). Ajdovščina, Slovenia: Pipistrel. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  18. ^ "Panthera is going to AERO Expo - by air!". Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  19. ^ "Technical sheet". Retrieved 2011-11-25. 

External links[edit]