MORE SPEED
WITH
LESS FUEL
This is our idea of what a
modern, four seat CS/FAR-23
certified aircraft should deliver.
 
 
31
 
JULY
2014

Panthera successfully completed spin testing

30. JULY 2014

We are very happy to announce that despite the awful weather this year (we might be better off making boats with all this rain!) we nevertheless managed to complete all the flights according to the spin-test program for the Part-23 certification of Panthera.
The Pipistrel design team did a fabulous job - Panthera behaves just as expected in all configuration settings that CS-23 and FAR-23 design codes mandate (most front and back center of gravity, all flaps positions, gear extended and retracted, with engine power idle or full, with full or asymmetrically empty fuel tanks, etc.). 

The spin test campaign was a total success!

Ivo Boscarol, CEO of Pipistrel says: "The tests revealed that no modifications to the airframe are necessary, no adaptations to the already designed production tooling or to mold-lines. The fact that no other on-board systems require any interventions is a testament to this fantastic design. It is remarkable, but even after a full ten-turn spin, Panthera recovers in less than one additional turn just by releasing all controls!"

The spin-tests alone accumulated more than 50 flight hours, all logged using state of the art equipment and cameras. Every spin case also included a chase plane for external monitoring, while Panthera was equipped with three different parachutes (the tail-mounted spin-test parachute, pilot personal parachute and full airframe ballistic rescue system.) All doors were equipped with pyrotechnic jettison mechanism. We take safety very seriously!

Our team was so delighted by the splendid test results that they decided to make a video (see below) and share their joy with you.
Enjoy the result of the Pipistrel "safety first" philosophy!

**

Original version at YouTube:
http://youtu.be/9e31q09AksA 

Embedded:


** Panthera is to become a full Part-23 (FAR-23 and CS-23) certified airplane under the "Utility", not "Normal" category. This calls for spin testing a fully developed spin of at least 6 full rotations before recovery is initiated. Tested were all combinations of front/aft cg, lateral cg cases (various asymmetric cases of one fuel tank containing more fuel than the other, flaps and landing gear positions, idle, 75% and full engine power.) All cases proved to be non-problematic, thus we decided to go the extra mile. Pipistrel doesn't just recognize the standards and fulfill the minimum level of safety - we want to be a lot better than the minimum! The above video was recorded once the minimum test were passed and we were absolutely certain that all spin cases are safe - and then we went a step further. We expanded the testing for spins to 10 rotations, which happens to be the norm for aerobatic aircraft, although Panthera was never conceived to be one. It was however designed to be superbly safe, and the spin test campaign proved this aspect of safety very well. To demonstrate a 10-turn spin is not necessary for certification, but we chose to do it because of our commitment to extra safe products.

screenshot
A screen-grab from our engineering video / flight test logging equipment.

During the test campaign it was discovered that regardless of the aircraft configuration, spins always fully develop at latest by the 3rd rotation. Once it passes 3 rotations, it is the same if it spins for 4, 6, 10 or 20 rotations. Panthera always recovers using standard technique, with less than 1 turn delay - well inside certification norms. A 10-turn spin at high altitude, which is what the video shows, is a straight-forward and absolutely safe maneuver for the Panthera.

This is a step further in aircraft design and flight safety! In the Panthera, spinning is not a dreadful maneuver, instead it is easily recoverable (at safe altitude, of course) and no pilot should be afraid of it .

 
02
 
JUNE
2014

New brochure for the wild cat!

 
16
 
MAY
2014

Panthera received an important award

We are happy to announce that after the extremely successful year 2013, we have already begun the year 2014 with a positive trend.

The first major event this year was participation at the AERO Friedrichshafen fair, one of the largest European aviation fairs. Pipistrel participated with six different models of aircraft – four microlights, one completely electric aircraft and the four-seater Panthera in the GA category.
The fair was extremely successful for us - we received TWO very important awards as the ONLY exhibitor at the fair (among over 600) to receive more than one!

On Wednesday, 9. April 2014, Pipistrel's Panthera received the Aerokurier award for innovation!
Aerokurier, one of Europe’s leading General Aviation magazines, has done an online reader survey to find out which aircraft and which product should be awarded with the title »Aircraft of the future« or »Product of the future« in its category.  2079 users who participated in the survey were asked to choose the aircraft/product which represented the highest level of innovation in each category.
Aerokurier had defined six different categories and we are proud to announce that in the category »Single engine Aircraft of the Future« Pipistrel's Panthera won with 16.2 percent of all the votes!

The results were as follows:
1. Pipistrel with the aircraft Panthera - 16,2% of votes
2. Diamond Aircraft Industries with the DA-40 NG - 14,9% of votes
3. Cirrus Aircraft with the SR 22T Generation 5 - 13,9% of votes
4. Auila with the A211 - 9,6% of votes
5. Robin Aircraft with the DR 400 Ecoflyer - 7,9% of votes
     Tecnam with the P2010 - 7,9% of votes

WittstammBoscaroThomalla
Mr. Reinhard Wittstamm from Aerokurier Advertising and Mr. Volker K. Thomalla, the Aerokurier Chief Editor handed the diploma to mr. Ivo Boscaorl, the Pipistrel General Manager.
diploma
The winning beauty Panthera with Mr. Reinhard Wittstamm, Mr. Volker K. Thomalla, the diploma and the happy Pipistrel general manager, Ivo Boscarol

We would also like to congratulate our engine supplier Rotax, who won in the category „Aero engines“. The Rotax 912 iS claimed the title the „Engine of the Future” .

***

On the next day, Thursday 10. April 2014 Pipistrel received another award:
Pipistrel's two-seat microlight Alpha Trainer was selected as "The best light aircraft of the year 2013" by the aviation newspaper Fliegermagazin!

IMG 5181
The Pipistrel general manager, Ivo Boscarol, was invited on the stage, where he was happy to receive the award from the hands of Mr. Thomas Bochert, the chief editor of Flieger magazine.

IMG 5188 p
Time Tomažič, Pipistrel R&D engineer and Ivo Boscarol with the Flieger Magazin award.


This is already the second Fliegermagazin award that Pipistrel received - Panthera was already awarded the "Best 4-seater" title two sears ago!
More information: http://www.pipistrel.si/news/panthera-winner-of-fliegermagazin-award-virus-sw-also-nomina

malaIMG 2225  malaIMG 2224


 
01
 
APRIL
2014

Panthera project update and choice of propulsion/type of engine.


Panthera has been designed from the very beginning to be available with either electric motor, hybrid propulsion or petrol engine. The latter demands a decision for the type of fuel. Pipistrel decided for Mogas due to lower price and better availability than Avgas.
The first choice of engine was the Lycoming IO-390, but we received the news that it will never be certified for Mogas. Due to this decision we were forced to switch to IO-540-V, which is already certified also for the Mogas, even though the Panthera does not need a stronger engine. Since it doesn't need this additional power, it will fly at very low power settings and consumption will consequentially stay more or less the same as with the IO-390 model, but the IO-540 260 hp option will provide a significant performance improvement.
Due to the change of engine types, Panthera project will experience a minor delay - at the end of 2014 the first series of the factory-assist quick-built kit experimental aircraft will be ready. We will continue to produce and offer the IO-390 engine model, but only as an experimental.

*************

Pipistrel designed the Panthera from the very beginning to be available with modular firewall-forward section and able to accept a variety of different propulsion options. This means that the customer would be able to choose either electric motor, hybrid propulsion or petrol engine.
When deciding about the characteristics of the petrol engine, Pipistrel set a goal to offer an engine which will be certified also for Mogas, not just for Avgas. As you know, in many parts of the world the Avgas 100LL is twice or three times more expensive than Mogas and can also be very hard to get.
We were expecting eagerly the Lycoming IO-390 engine (Lycoming hinted it would be certified for Mogas) and we chose it as the best option available on the market. The original Panthera prototype was designed for the IO-390.

Unfortunately the expectations didn't work out - last October the information came from Lycoming that the IO-390 engine will be never certified for Mogas, so Pipistrel was forced to rethink the choice.
At the same time many Pipistrel customers requested a stronger engine, which would improve characteristics of the aircraft (especially shortened the take-off distance and allowed for higher maximum speed.) Panthera doesn't need a stronger engine, it flies perfectly well with 210 HP, but since the IO-390 doesn’t fulfil the wishes of all the customers, Pipistrel decided to offer an engine upgrade.

Due to these two reasons, the certified version of the Panthera will be available only with the Lycoming IO-540-V engine.

Since the aircraft doesn't need this additional power, it will fly at very low power settings (55% instead of 75%). The consumption will consequentially stay more or less the same as with the IO-390 model, but the IO-540 260 HP option will provide a significant performance improvement. Besides the shorter take-off distance and better climb, the most significant improvement will be obvious while operating in hot-and-high conditions, basically providing turbocharged levels of performance with a normally aspirated engine. There will always be more than 200 HP available as take-off power, even in very high elevations and in very hot temperatures. But the complexity of a turbo will not be present, yielding very low cost of operation and maintenance.

From the engineering stand point, the 6-cylinder engine had been considered already from the beginning as an upgrade option. In fact, the aircraft will look exactly the same as the IO-390 version, since the IO-540 fits under the same engine cover.

The original argument for the IO-540 option is of course the fact that the engine already supports Mogas operation in the certified version, something that the IO-390 (according to the information that came from Lycoming in October 2013) does not and never will.
Pipistrel will continue to produce and offer the IO-390 engine model, but only as an experimental.
The certified version of the Panthera will be available only with the IO-540V. At the moment Pipistrel is not considering a diesel engine because of the weight and also because we want to offer worldwide customer support for the engine. Lycoming engines are well-known all over the world and the availability of service and customer support is available practically everywhere.

Because of this re-design the Panthera project will experience a minor delay, but not really significant. Towards the end of 2014 the first series of the factory-assist quick-built kit experimental aircraft will be available.

At the moment the first piston-engine model with Lycoming IO-390 engine is flying after having successfully finished all the structural ground tests. Most of the flight tests are being finished these days and everything is prepared for the serial production.
Demo flights are now available to the customers who have already placed their orders and soon after also to everyone else.

The Panthera with hybrid power-plant is already in development and will offer the use of different types of fuel, which might eventually allow even the use of diesel. The pure electric motor model is also being developed. We plan the first flights for these models sometime next year.


 
21
 
JUNE
2013

Exploring the Aerodynamics of Panthera

Among the numerous tests Panthera has recently undergone, something these days is catching the attention of everyone walking in the hangar. Our Panthera is getting hairy! On the smooth aircraft surface red tufts started to appear. First they appeared on top of the fuselage around the COM antennas, then also under the fuselage behind the main undercarriage. Yesterday I saw Paolo, a colleague from R&D department, gluing them also on the tail. 
He diligently prepared 8 to 10 cm long cotton tufts and glued them evenly spaced on the left side of the tail, starting from the bottom part of the vertical stabilizer up to the horizontal stabilizer and the elevator. Gregor, head of research of Pipistrel and chief aerodynamics engineer, showed up with a camera and attached it on the edge of the vertical stabilizer. With a final check to be sure that the entire tail is in the field of view, he locked the camera into position. Since I’m not an aeronautical engineer, I was curious to ask Gregor why tufts are used during testing and how to read them. 
IMG 1972
He diligently prepared 8 to 10 cm long cotton tufts and glued them evenly spaced on the left side of the tail, starting from the bottom part of the vertical stabilizer up to the horizontal stabilizer and the elevator. Gregor, head of research of Pipistrel and chief aerodynamics engineer, showed up with a camera and attached it on the edge of the vertical stabilizer. 
With a final check to be sure that the entire tail is in the field of view, he locked the camera into position. Since I’m not an aeronautical engineer, I was curious to ask Gregor why tufts are used during testing and how to read them. 
IMG 2021
Tufts are an important indicator for any aerodynamicist, Gregor started to explain, because they reveal what otherwise would be invisible: how air flows close to the aircraft skin. A whirling tuft tells a different story than a steady tuft, so each test flight is recorded on a video to check how the aerodynamics works at different speeds. For a new aircraft, tufts give the marks to the aerodynamics design and, in case of Pipistrel, also to the design tools developed in-house.
The Panthera in fact has never seen a wind tunnel before the first flight. Her shape was slowly crafted by endless wind simulations on a supercomputer, where the wing profiles and the fuselage details were fine tuned until a spacious, comfortable cabin was coupled to a wing that has a benign handling at low speeds and a racer profile at high speeds.



 http://youtu.be/QwhOQMF-51M
It took years to develop this software by the R&D team and now I understand the eagerness to download and inspect videos each time Panthera lands, regardless how late in the afternoon it happens. The short video linked is interesting to watch if you want to see what this testing looks like. 

Luckily, someone that wants to read tufts does not need a Ph.D. in aerodynamics. Straight and steady tufts mean laminar flow (which is good for speed and fuel efficiency), 
while straight tufts with tail jittering indicate turbulent but attached flow (still Ok where the aircraft geometry makes the phenomenon unavoidable). Tufts wildly dancing the Cancan are a bad sign as a flow separation is occurring in that region. Flow separation, when constantly generated over a broad speed range, is always an indication of energy unnecessarily wasted and a hint for aerodynamicist about where to look for improvements.

Up to now tests have not shown deviations from simulated flow patterns, but in the following weeks our test pilots will intentionally try to provoke flow separation: stall speed testing is coming!

Igor

 
30
 
MAY
2013

A NASA Astronaut takes a flight in the Panthera!

The American astronaut Sunita Williams visited the Pipistrel factory during her visit to the land of her ancestors, Slovenia. Flight engineer and commander of the International Space Station on different missions, Sunita Williams is also an experienced test pilot.

After meeting the Pipistrel team and visiting the factory, she first flew in the Pipistrel Virus SW, the world's most efficient light sport aircraft and winner of the two NASA challenges (PAV 2007 and GAT 2008). Since the new 4-seat Panthera was fully refueled and waiting on the airfield, she had the chance to fly in it together with the test pilot Mirko Anželj.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baRivBB80fo


After landing she praised the agility, flying characteristics and the quality of both aircraft and called the view from above to the Vipava Valley "the second most beautiful after the view from space."

037 060
Sunita Williams in the Pipistrel Virus SW with the pilot Nejc Faganelj (above)...

...and in the new 4-seat Panthera  with the pilot Mirko Anželj (below).
072 080 068

After the two flights Sunita was given a guided tour of the company with the Pipistrel R&D experts, prof. dr. Gregor Veble and ing. Tine Tomažič.
024 130


More information about the visit below in the articles and the video (in Slovenian language).


Preberi.si:
http://www.preberi.si/content/view/6911503-Astronavtka-Sunita-Williams-danes-v-podjetju-Pipistrel.html

Times.si:
http://www.times.si/gospodarstvo/astronavtka-sunita-williams-danes-v-podjetju-pipistrel--00acba274d-34eddad245.html

VIDEO -
Rtvslo.si:
http://www.rtvslo.si/lokalne-novice/video-astronavtka-poletela-s-pipistrelovim-letalom/309303
A NASA Astronaut takes a flight in the Panthera!
 
23
 
APRIL
2013

Panthera is flying over the Alps to AERO!

The revolutionary new aircraft, Pipistrel Panthera is flying over the Alps to be displayed at AERO Friedrichshafen fair.


By flying the Panthera over the Alps to AERO 2013, Pipistrel will celebrate the success of achieving the first flight of Panthera. So less than a month after the first flight and less than 12 months from the first public presentation at AERO 2012, the Panthera will revisit the fair – by air!


This morning the Panthera took off from airfield in Ajdovščina:



2 takeoff from Ajdovscina 

3 takeoff from Ajdovscina 


1 takeoff from Ajdovscina 




About an hour and a half later, at 12:55 local time, she landed successfully at the airport in Friedrichshafen, at the expo area.


Welcoming aviation enthusiasts and passionate pilots from all over the world, the Panthera will be displayed on external grounds next to hall A2 for the full duration of the show. The design team members and the test pilots will be available by the aircraft throughout the expo to answer all your questions. You are warmly welcome to visit us at the expo area and have a look at the Panthera yourself!


arrival to aero4 

arrival to aero2 


arrival to aero1 

 
07
 
APRIL
2013

The maiden flight of the Panthera

The maiden flight of the Panthera

4. 4. 2013 at 14:15 


Pipistrel's new Panthera completed its maiden flight on 4 April, 2013. The very successful first flight lasted 54 minutes.


Having completed ground functional and taxi tests at Pipistrel's Headquarters at Ajdovscina, Slovenia, the Panthera relocated to the Airport of Cerklje ob Krki, where Slovenian Armed Forces are providing us invaluable logistics support. 


Following high-speed taxi runs and jumps above the runway, test pilot Mirko Anžel and co-pilot Sašo Knez lifted off the runway at 14:15 local time and spent 54 minutes in the air, evaluating Panthera's behaviour and performing system checks. 


Both pilots agreed the handling was straight-forward and pilot friendly, with parameters exactly as predicted - a true statement to skill of the development team and reassurance that all target performance goals will be met. Panthera so far completed several hours of flying with undercarriage both out and retracted.








small 8125 

small 8051a

small 3827

small P8180a

small 3804 

small 8261


Ivo Boscarol, CEO of Pipistrel says: 

»This is Pipistrel's first entry into the world of General Aviation. We knew for a long time that we were capable of developing and producing aircraft larger and more capable than ultralights/LSAs. Panthera is proof that Pipistrel's team can indeed compete with the most eminent global general aviation producers. Also, Panthera is Slovenia's first ever 4-seat aeroplane design headed for production."

Our thanks to the Slovenian Armed Forces, Slovenian CAA and each and every individual who contributed to this historic achievement.


Special thanks go out to the Panthera customers, valued individuals who we call "Panthera global family", who believed in us and placed their orders when the aeroplane was still on the drawing board. Without all of you, this would not be possible. Thank you!


the Pipistrel Team. 


The video of the first flight can be seen on the following address: http://youtu.be/BDYv9b4J7ps


If you need the better quality video or any additional help or information, please feel free to contact the Pipistrel PR service at #EM#7460686244756f77617a7e796961207c79#EM# .


 
29
 
MARCH
2013

Panthera: Successful first engine start

Panthera rollout and first engine start
Ajdovscina, 29. 3. 2013

On March 28th 2013, the prototype of Panthera (which debuted in 2012) rolled out of the Pipistrel'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.



IMG 3700 
IMG 3758


 

Ivo Boscarol, Pipistrel's CEO 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!"

The work will continue on functional ground tests and preparation for first flight, followed by a complete flight test programme. 



IMG 3721  
IMG 3726

 
24
 
JANUARY
2013

Lightning Strike Test

In the past six months there has been a lot of activity around Panthera. Although invisible to the public, there have been major advancements in three areas: specialized test equipment, aircraft structural tests and preparation for certification. To share some of our completed activities, we are preparing a series of Behind The Scenes Videos.





In this first video episode we show one of the factors used to select the Panthera composites technology: lightning strike protection. We tested 16 different types of skins with varying grades of lightning protection. For each type of skins, multiple samples were fabricated and tested under lightnings with increasing power. In the video we show how composites with low lightning protection are perforated, while the high-protection aircraft skins used for safeguarding Panthera's passenger and systems reveal only superficial damages.
Lightning Strike Test
 
03
 
JULY
2012

Experience the Cabin

Due to numerous requests to visit us and to see how the cabin and the interiors are designed in Panthera, we have prepared an interactive 3d navigator using high resolution images of the interiors. You can access it by clicking on "Gallery" link, then "Interiors" link on the www.panthera-aircraft.com website. On the bottom left of the interactive view displaying, click on "Full screen" button if you have a fast connection and you will know why you should fly a Panthera. The viewer supports Ipad2/new iPhone accelerometers, so you can rotate your device to explore the inside of the aircraft. In the mean time, the prototype ground tests are well underway. 
On the bottom left of the interactive view displaying, click on "Full screen" button if you have a fast connection and you will know why you should fly a Panthera. By using just a single central pillar, the Panthera gives you a wide, helicopter style view on the field in all phases of your flight. The seats leather is hand made for Panthera customers by the same company that makes the interiors of Bugatti, Ferrari and Porsche. You can select your color of interiors  (up to several hundreds of combinations) and an artisan will craft the leather for your aircraft. Unique, as you are.
Experience the Cabin