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Sun, Aug 30, 2020

ANN Test Flight 1st Impressions: Pipistrel Panthera Could Dethrone Cirrus

Right Rudder Aviation Will Sell/Support Panthera Here In The States

ANN was honored to undertake the first flight test of an American Registered Pipistrel Panthera Friday.

We'll have much more to say in the coming days, but the very new airplane (less than 10 hours on it here in the USA) airplane is darned impressive... not just for its 196kt cruise speed (at 75%). but for a stability and control profile that was mostly downright docile -- which we did NOT expect. Keep in mind that this is accomplished with a three-blade MT CS prop, a normally aspirated IO-540 Lyc and an empty weight about 500 pounds below gross.

Despite a 96F degree ambient OAT, the bird used just a tad over 1100 feet to break ground, climbed at close to 1000FPM at cruise-climb speeds (120 knots), demonstrated very good slow flight properties (in both clean and dirty configurations), and offered up a pretty soft landing despite our less than optimal speed control.

While the flight was conducted with two aboard, we did check the room and loading when all four Panthera Seats are full, and we were impressed by the leg room, shoulder room and head room. Further; throughout the entire one hour test flight, I never had to rub shoulders with RRA's Boss, Andy Chan.... even when we were maneuvering aggressively.

We can come up with a small list of minor issues that could use correction (nothing adversely affecting the safety or utility of the aircraft), but so far, the Pipistrel Panthera appears headed for the distinction of being the most impressive airplane we've flown this year... It is currently available as an Exhibition class Experimental, but is destined for certification in 2022.

And, oh yeah... this thing looks amazing... it's going to be the hit of ANY ramp it taxies into. It displays more curves than a pitcher for the Yankees...

MUCH more info to follow.




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