RED Aircraft is to supply its A03 engine for the powertrain Ampaire is developing to convert Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft to hybrid-electric propulsion. The compression ignition engine will be rated to 405 kW (550 hp) as part of Ampaire’s integral parallel configuration with the electric motors and battery packs.
Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed during the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, last week, the partners intend to jointly commercialize the hybrid-electric version of the utility aircraft under the brand name Eco Caravan. Ampaire is developing a family of propulsion systems for applications requiring power ratings of up to 800 hp. RED will develop, certify, and supply a range of engines that can run on both jet-A and sustainable aviation fuel.
According to Ampaire, the converted Grand Caravans will consume 70 percent less fuel on shorter trips and 50 percent less on longer flights with corresponding reductions in CO2 emissions. The Eco Caravan is expected to be able to carry 11 passengers or 2,500 pounds of cargo on flights of up to 1,100 nm.
In April, Ampaire started ground runs with the latest version of the powertrain, and it aims to start flight testing of the first converted Eco Caravan prototype in the second half of this year with plans to secure FAA approval for the conversion program by 2024.
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