Ampaire, a leader in hybrid-electric aviation, has received a firm order for 25 Eco Caravans from MONTE, a financier of sustainable regional aviation technologies. The agreement also includes an option for an additional 25 Eco Caravan order and codifies the parties’ Preferred Partner relationship. “MONTE is looking to build a fleet of low emission and zero emission aircraft to lease...
Ampaire, a leader in hybrid-electric aviation, has received a firm order for 25 Eco Caravans from MONTE, a financier of sustainable regional aviation technologies. The agreement also includes an option for an additional 25 Eco Caravan order and codifies the parties’ Preferred Partner relationship.
“MONTE is looking to build a fleet of low emission and zero emission aircraft to lease or finance for regional aircraft operators worldwide. Ampaire has emerged as the leading hybrid-electric technology provider. Its Eco Caravan will be very attractive for a segment of our operators, thanks to its wide performance envelope and ability to operate without ground charging infrastructure where necessary,” according to MONTE’s Investment Director, Timothy Eyre.
The Eco Caravan is a hybrid-electric upgrade of the Cessna Grand Caravan. The Eco Caravan can reduce fuel and emissions as much as 70 percent on shorter trips and 50 percent on longer ones, while preserving payload capability and extending range. When flown on sustainable aviation fuel, it is effectively carbon neutral. The Eco Caravan’s operating cost is 25 to 40 percent lower than the Cessna Grand Caravan depending on the type of missions flown. The aircraft can recharge its batteries in flight, meaning it can use any airport that Caravans fly from today, regardless of ground charging capability.
In July of this year, Ampaire’s EEL hybrid-electric aircraft demonstrator completed a 1,125 mile flight from Los Angeles to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, which was the longest nonstop flight ever made by a hybrid-electric aircraft. Upon arrival, it was positioned on display at EAA AirVenture’s most prominent location—Boeing Plaza.
“The Eco Caravan is our starting point for a revolution in air travel,” said Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker. “It brings cost per available seat mile down to the range of driving, benefiting operators and their passengers. It dramatically shrinks the aircraft’s carbon footprint. The propulsion technology is scalable and we intend to quickly move toward larger regional aircraft and even the single-aisle jet market over time.”
The nine-passenger Eco Caravan is undergoing ground power tests and will fly later this year. It is the first hybrid-electric aircraft to enter the certification process with the FAA. A supplemental type certification for the upgraded aircraft is expected in 2024. It will therefore offer the earliest opportunity for regional carriers to fly in the most sustainable way possible.
Why it’s important: By upgrading existing passenger aircraft to hybrid-electric power, Ampaire is arguably employing the quickest, most efficient approach to making commercial electric air travel a reality with available technology. This order from MONTE supplements other recent orders for the hybrid-electric aircraft and confirms the strong interest that many commercial operators have in the new technology. MONTE has a goal of becoming the first carbon neutral aircraft leasing company in the world by 2027, and by choosing Ampaire, the company conveys that it believes the Eco Caravan will be the first available aircraft to achieve this goal.
LIFT Aircraft, developer of a personal electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle based in Austin, announced on Friday that they’ve signed a Letter of Intent with Charm Aviation to bring flight tours to customers in New York City as early as next year. Charm Aviation is one of the largest helicopter operators on the east coast, with a number of...
LIFT Aircraft, developer of a personal electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle based in Austin, announced on Friday that they’ve signed a Letter of Intent with Charm Aviation to bring flight tours to customers in New York City as early as next year. Charm Aviation is one of the largest helicopter operators on the east coast, with a number of operations already running in New York City.
LIFT’s goal with this LOI is to put their concept of “personal aviation” to practice – to provide a service where anyone will be able to learn to fly their semi-autonomous eVTOL aircraft in less than an hour, and then solo pilot the single seat, ultralight vehicle, without needing a pilot’s license.
LIFT’s unique design allows for flights in uncongested areas and uncontrolled airspace in accordance with FAA regulations. Accoridngly, LIFT and Charm will need to make investments in new vertiports along the Hudson and East rivers in NYC or invest in existing spaces for operation bases for these flights. Further, their altitudes will be limited to 1,300′ AGL and within the uncontrolled Class G airspace in New York to deconflict from other traffic.
HEXA is approved to fly under the FAA’s Part 103 rules, and no pilot’s license is required to fly for personal, non-commercial use.
Charm Aviation operates one of the largest helicopter fleets on the East Coast, with operations in New York, New Jersey, and Baltimore. The ownership group has a combined 40 years of experience operating helicopter fleets and has experience operating heliports in Manhattan.
Under the terms of the agreement, LIFT and Charm will establish a joint venture that will have exclusive license from LIFT to operate in the greater NYC area. The parties have agreed to a pre-order for 100 HEXA eVTOL aircraft that they intend to deploy to multiple LIFT vertiport locations they will jointly develop in the greater NYC area over the next five years.
Why it’s important: This LOI represents the deployment of one of the first personal aerial vehicles to a congested, multi-modal transportation center on the east coast. LIFT and the Charm will have considerable integration work to tackle with New York city officials in addition to the FAA to select the first vertiport site and begin flight trials next year. Demand for such flights will likely be high following approval, so it’s crucial that discussions between NYC officials, New York air traffic management, and Charm, the operator, are in alignment to present a coordinated rollout of this exciting offering. Further, constraints on locations approved for the HEXA aircraft are planned to be implemented via geo-fencing to ensure safety and dedicated operational airspace for this effort.