modern, four seat CS/FAR-23
certified aircraft should deliver.
Beautiful Panthera article in Plane&Pilot
by JM Urlacher
Plane&Pilot-Pipistrel Panthera - JM Urlacher.pdf
Most powerful hybrid electric powertrain powers up
Ajdovščina, 18. feb. 2016
(slovenski tekst se nahaja TUKAJ )
A major step towards electric powered air travel was achieved on 9th February 2016 with the power-up of the world's most powerful hybrid electric powertrain for aviation in a project led by Pipistrel. Hybrid-electric powertrains are a new breed of aviation propulsion, which extend the range of all-electric aircraft while being environmentally friendly and quiet. The 200 kW propulsor developed during the project HYPSTAIR delivers the power equivalent to a typical general aviation piston engine and can run in three modalities: electric-only mode using batteries, generator-only mode or hybrid mode combining both power sources.
All powertrain components developed by Siemens during the project represent the state of the art of electric flight propulsion. The drive motor, delivering 200 kW take off power and 150 kW continuous, and the generator, delivering 100 kW feature a power density exceeding 5 kW/kg and dual windings with four power controllers to provide unprecedented reliability. Further element of innovation is the Human-Machine-Interface designed to simplify the operation of a complex powertrain. A single lever with haptic feedback is used to apply power and a new integrated cockpit display to monitor the powertrain status and performance.
Following the extensive laboratory testing of components and the integration on a representative airframe at the Pipistrel aviation factory in Slovenia, the successful power up trialled all propulsion modes at low and high powers, driving a specially developed five blade low rpm, low noise propeller. Tests of take-off power were performed using combined output of the generator driven by a turbonormalised engine and the high-performance battery custom developed to support high discharge rates.
Pipistrel CEO, Ivo Boscarol, says: “We are proud of what HYPSTAIR represents for the development of electric flight. It demonstrates the possibility for general aviation class aircraft to be electrically powered and it confirms the vision of Pipistrel – we were the first to design a four seat aircraft, the Panthera, that can be alternatively equipped with three different propulsion types: piston engine, electric motor or hybrid powertrain. Project HYPSTAIR represents a major step in the direction of a hybrid aircraft and an opportunity for Pipistrel and other general aviation aircraft manufacturers.”
Frank Anton, Head of eAircraft and the initiator of electric aircraft development at Siemens AG: “Siemens is developing electric drive systems with highest power-to-weight ratio for aircraft propulsion. Only with innovation we can solve the problems of rising fuel costs, rising passenger demand and rising environmental regulation. Innovations developed for the HYPSTAIR hybrid-electric powertrain will be instrumental in making aviation more sustainable in the long run. As electric drives are scalable, we can expect, that in the future also larger aircraft will use electric propulsion. The world is becoming electric, whether in the air, on land or at sea.”
In the upcoming months, extensive testing will continue to simulate typical mission profiles covered in the performance study and to validate the hybrid drive concept and performance. This pioneering achievement was first unveiled at the E2 Fliegen Symposium 2016 in Stuttgart, Germany.
Project HYPSTAIR has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 605305. Project partners are Pipistrel d.o.o. Ajdovščina, Siemens AG, MBVision, University of Pisa and University of Maribor.
More information at www.hypstair.eu
The video of the activation event is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1Xrr82Hbkc
Zagon najmočnejšega hibridno električnega pogonskega sklopa
februarja se je v okviru projekta HYPSTAIR z zagonom najmočnejšega
hibridno električnega pogonskega sklopa za letala na svetu zgodil velik
korak v smer električnega letalskega prometa.
Velik preboj v smer letalskega prometa na električni pogon se je zgodil 9. februarja 2016 z zagonom do sedaj najmočnejšega letalskega hibridno električnega pogonskega sklopa znotraj projekta, ki ga vodi ajdovski Pipistrel.
Hibridno električni pogoni so nova zvrst letalskih pogonov, ki podaljšujejo doseg popolnoma električnih letal in so hkrati tihi ter okolju prijazni. V okviru projekta HYPSTAIR razviti 200-kilovatni pogonski sklop zagotavlja moč, enakovredno tisti, ki jo proizvajajo batni motorji, tipično v uporabi na letalih splošne kategorije. Obratuje lahko v treh načinih: izključno električni, ki kot vir moči uporablja baterije; način, ki uporablja izključno generator; in hibridni način, ki pri delovanju združuje oba vira energije. Vse komponente pogonskega sklopa, ki jih je razvilo podjetje Siemens v okviru projekta, predstavljajo vrhunec tehnologije na področju letalskih pogonov. Pogonski motor, ki zagotavlja 200 kW vzletne moči in 150 kW stalne moči, in generator, ki nudi 100 kW moči, se odlikujeta z energijsko gostoto večjo od 5 kW/kg in dvojnim navitjem s štirimi regulatorji moči, kar zagotavlja poprej nedosegljivo zanesljivost obratovanja.
Še en dodatni element te edinstvene inovacije je
uporabniški vmesnik, zasnovan z namenom poenostavitve ravnanja z
zahtevnim pogonskim sklopom. Za dodajanje moči zadostuje ena sama ročica
s haptičnim povratnim odzivom, za nadzor nad stanjem in delovanjem
pogonskega sklopa pa služi novi integrirani večnamenski prikazovalnik,
namensko razvit v sklopu projekta.
Obsežnemu laboratorijskemu testiranju vseh komponent in integraciji sistema na trup letala je nato sledil uspešen zagon, pri katerem so na sedežu podjetja Pipistrel v Ajdovščini preizkusili vse načine pogona tako pri nizkih kot tudi visokih močeh. Namensko je bil razvit tudi poseben petkratki propeler, ki ima največjo učinkovitost že pri nizkih obratih in se ponaša z nizko ravnjo hrupa.
Preizkus vzletne moči je bil izveden ob skupni uporabi generatorja, ki ga poganja turbinsko polnjen agregat, in namensko razvitih visokozmogljivih baterij, ki omogočajo hitro praznjenje.
Ivo Boscarol, direktor podjetja Pipistrel, pravi: "Ponosni smo na vlogo, ki jo predstavlja projekt HYPSTAIR na področju razvoja električnega letalstva. Prikazuje verjetnost, da bo generalno letalstvo v prihodnosti lahko električno in potrjuje mojo idejo in vizijo ter razvojno strategijo podjetja Pipistrel. Mi smo bili prvi, ki smo razvili štirisedežno letalo – Panthero, ki je lahko opremljeno s tremi različnimi pogoni: bencinskim motorjem, električnim pogonom ali hibridnim pogonskim sklopom. Projekt HYPSTAIR predstavlja velik korak v smer letalstva na hibridni pogon in s tem veliko priložnost za Pipistrel in druge proizvajalce letal generalne aviacije.«
Frank Anton, začetnik in vodja razvoja električnega letalstva v podjetju Siemens, dodaja:
"Siemens razvija letalske električne pogonske sisteme z najboljšim razmerjem med močjo in težo. Samo z inovacijami lahko rešujemo probleme, ki jih predstavljajo rastoče cene fosilnih goriv, vse večje povpraševanje po potniških poletih in strožji okoljevarstveni predpisi. Novi izumi, razviti za hibridno električni pogon projekta HYPSTAIR, bodo predstavljali temelj pri razvoju bolj tranjnostnega letalstva na dolgi rok. Ker so električni pogonski sistemi zasnovani tako, da jih je mogoče sorazmerno povečevati, lahko pričakujemo, da jih bodo v prihodnosti lahko uporabljala tudi večja letala. Svet postaja električen, pa naj bo v zraku, na tleh ali na vodi.«
V prihajajočih mesecih se bo intenzivno testiranje
nadaljevalo s simuliranjem možnih načinov letenja ter tipičnih potekov
poleta, ki so jih predvidele teoretične študije modela. Testiranje se
nadaljuje z namenom potrditve koncepta hibridnega pogonskega sklopa in
Ta edinstveni dosežek je bil prvič razkrit javnosti na simpoziju E2 Fliegen Symposium 2016 v Stuttgartu v Nemčiji.
Projekt HYPSTAIR je prejel sredstva evropskega programa »European Union’s Seventh Framework« za raziskave, tehnološki razvoj in predstavitve, s sporazumom o dodelitvi sredstev št. 605305. Partnerji v projektu so Pipistrel d.o.o. Ajdovščina, Siemens AG, MBVision, Univerza v Pisi (Italija) in Univerza v Mariboru.
Team Pipistrel wishes you happy holidays and successful 2016!
Team Pipistrel wishes you happy holidays and successful 2016!
Article about Panthera at AOPA.org
Panthera at BIAS in Romania
BIAS 2015 opened its gates with a heart-pounding lineup of performers, the year’s most awaited aerobatics event in Romania took place at the Bucharest Baneasa- Aurel Vlaicu International Airport. BIAS 2015 was impressive: 200 pilots and parachutists, 120 civil and military aircraft and attracted more than 200,000 traders and public visitors over the course of two days. The target of this year’s edition was to keep the same magnificent proportions of the air show by inviting world-renowned acrobatic groups alongside national teams. We strongly believe that the 2015 edition has set a new standard and created huge expectations for the public next year, which the BIAS organizers intend to proudly honor.
An impressive number of professionals participated from the elite of the Romanian Air Force along with an exciting array of thrilling jets. Some of the highlights included the displays performed by the “supersonics” Turkish Stars (Turkey), the famous experts of the Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon (UK), Baltic Bees (Latvia), with their unique style, performing artistic maneuvers of maximum difficulty and Jurgis Kayris, world champion in aerobatics. Last but not least, the much-anticipated slick Panthera aircraft seen for the first time in Romania!
The distinctive styling and unique ergonomic features enthralls with its passionate sportiness and breathtaking lines, one of the outstanding design icons of the Pipistrel’s brand made the Panthera the star of the indoor static display in the General Aviation Exhibition.
The luxurious, well-appointed interior and the upward-opening gullwing doors were the talk of the crowd.
Many qualified trade visitors and Business Professionals attended the first day of the exhibition. A number of ministers from other countries also visited the event, accompanied by high-ranking delegations, thereby underlining the international importance of the Bias 2015.
The Panthera stand astounded with its classy atmosphere and was visited by various important guests, such as representatives of the Romanian Ministry of Transport, the Romanian Government, international visitors, important businessmen, elite pilots from different countries, Romanian Flying academy members, journalists and a string of potential customers.
Panthera won an award at the AirFair in Poland
A day before the start of the expo he organized a demo-flight day for potential customers.
At the AirFair Exhibition the team had two stands and 7 people: one was outside where the ultralight program was presented (two Virus SW and an Alpha Trainer), and the other in the hangar where Panthera was displayed.
The first day of the expo was reserved for professionals - people related to aviation and invitees. The booth was visited by many important guests, such as representatives of Polish Ministry of Transportation and journalists of Polish TV, among other visitors and serious potential customers.
The greatest achievement of the fair, however, was an important prize that Panthera won:
2nd grade for The Most Progressive European GA Aircraft!
Mr. Krzysztof Bedkowski received the prize from hands of a representative of Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Poland.
The Pipistrel team together with pilots Robert Likar and and Žiga Kotnik
The second day (Saturday) was open to general public (all families), so the team had a lot of work to do.
Pipistrel would like to thank the entire Team Poland for a careful organization and excellent presentation of all our aircraft at the AirFair show. Special thanks go to the distributor Krzysztof Bedkowski for all his effort.
Thank you for a job well done and congratulations for the award!
Panthera on the BeNeLux tour
Hosted by iFly Benelux the Panthera wowed pilots not only for its looks but also the superb handling qualities.
More than three dozen pilots who flew the aircraft were able to experience the Panthera’s excellent performance characteristics in all phases of flight - from fast cruise at 180 KTAS to slow flight and stall, as well as to appreciate how easy it was to fly this high-performance single.
‘Amazing’ was the word most often used to describe the aircraft by the pilots who flew it. Even air traffic control gave numerous compliments on the looks of the aircraft: "S5-MTP - very nice aircraft". S5-MTP: "We think so too!"
A question from Antwerp Tower: "S5-MTP, do you normally fly at 180 knots?" S5-MTP: "Yes, we do!"
The Panthera also attracted the attention of the Red Devils Flying Team who were flying display at the Antwerpen Stampe Fly-In. They came in to do a close inspection….
The Panthera had national television coverage in Belgium ‘Electric Flying in the Near Future’ describing the hybrid and especially fully electric versions of the aircraft. An in-air interview with the TV crew (thanks to GoPro) and some superb air-to-air footage showing the Panthera peeling off in a diving turn.
Video on Youtube: https://youtu.be/2xnZkDGp1XI
Expect the Panthera back next year in the Benelux, in Belgium, Luxemburg and also The Netherlands.
Panthera received the Aerokurier Innovation award 2015
The aviation magazine Aerokurier selected Panthera as the no.1 aircraft of the future.
The happy Pipistrel team with the award. Congratulations!
The new factory building in Italy is starting to grow
The factory building in Italy is reaching new heights. Last week the prefabricated structure has started to rise from the bare foundations.
The pillars assembly began from the office area and is now proceeding towards the area dedicated to the aircraft sub-systems assembly. The hangar pillars will be the last to be erected.
The aerial photo shows the 7.70m tall concrete pillars towering above the ground and two exceptional-load trucks which delivered the construction elements.
The crane is lifting the concrete beams which are inserted into the foundation pits while the concrete mixer simultaneously fills each gap.
On the photo the general manager Ivo Boscarol is standing between the safety engineer Mr. Emidio DiLena (left) and the team leader of the Ricessi construction company, Mr. Elvio Cossar.
UPDATE: 9. March 2015 - roof beams are added!
Dynon Avionics promo video features Panthera!
(direct link: http://youtu.be/ZLbI76tc1CY)
Dynon Avionics have been standard equipment on Pipistrel Microlight and LSA aircraft since 2009, chosen for their flexibility, reliability and suitability for different flying styles and environments. The SkyView suite is also used in Pipistrel's Flight Test Department as an aid and data-acquisition sensory system to support different Flight Test Campaigns. In the most recent case, where spin-testing was performed with the Panthera, the SkyView proved itself as a very stable avionics plaftorm, also in most extreme circumstances. An artificial horizon is the most important instrument to the pilot, especially in cases of adverse attitudes and spacial disorientation. As it can be seen from the video, the SkyView manages to accurately indicate aircraft's attitude throughout the spin! Not many artificial horizon systems, let alone avionics, can stand the extreme environment of spinning and stay accurate with the indication. We appreciate Dynon's commitment to install state-of-the-art components in their affordable Avionics systems, often surpassing the performance of high-end certified solutions.
Ivo Boscarol, CEO says: "For Pipistrel, the safety of a product is paramount and with Dynon equipment installed the levels of safety of our products are enhanced. We are honored to be selected for the Dynon's Global Promo Video and look forward to future common projects."
Pipistrel had the honor to host Mr. John Torode, the iconic founder and president of Dynon Avionics inc. company, the legendary inventor and patent holder of many key improvements in avionics technology.
Here is a photo of Mr. Torode (right) together with Pipistrel general manager Mr. Ivo Boscarol in front of our flagship, the Panthera.
The foundation of the new factory in Italy is laid
The concrete is finally poured for the foundation of the new factory in Italy!
Yesterday was a happy day for the Pipistrel team - we celebrated the laying of foundation for the new Panthera factory in Italy!
During the month of September the base has been dug and steel frames were placed for the foundation by the Italian company Riccesi:
(click on the thumbnails for larger images)
...and yesterday finally the biiiig machines arrived and started pouring concrete!
There is a tradition in this part of the world that a coin is thrown into the fresh foundation concrete for good luck...
On the second photo, throwing coins (left to right): Mr. Ivo Boscarol, director of Pipistrel; Mr. Elvio Cossar, leader of the Riccesi construction team; and dr. Igor Perkon, member of Pipistrel R&D department
Of course the happy event could not pass without a little celebration, good "pršut" dried ham and some champagne!
Mr. Elvio Cossar volunteered for the pleasant task of hand-cutting the pršut.
The director of Pipistrel, Mr. Ivo Boscarol (left), opened the bottle of champagne assisted by the mayor of the municipality of Savogna d'Isonzo (Sovodnje ob Soči) Mrs. Alenka Florenin and Mr. Emidio Dilena, the site security officer
Director of the Riccesi company, Mr. Donato Riccesi and Mr. Ivo Boscarol, director of Pipistrel, enjoyed a glass of champagne.
So the foundation is good and solid now and the building can continue to rise.
And for the end, a group photo of everyone present:
Together with the all people mentioned above, there are Mr. Walter De Gressi, general construction supervisor for Pipistrel; Mr. Michele Pellizzari from Studio De Gressi Architects; engineer Mr. Mauro Latino, the structural works supervisor for Pipistrel, the team of Riccesi construction workers and Pipistrel team members, and some Pipistrel LSA company shareholders.
Panthera successfully completed spin testing
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:
** 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.
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 .
New brochure for the wild cat!
Panthera received an important award
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
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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. |
|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. |
|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. |
|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!
A NASA Astronaut takes a flight in the Panthera!
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.
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."
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).
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.
More information about the visit below in the articles and the video (in Slovenian language).
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:
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!
The maiden flight of the Panthera
The maiden flight of the Panthera4. 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.
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.
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
Panthera: Successful first engine start
Ajdovscina, 29. 3. 2013