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Pipistrel's Exotic Panthera Achieves First Flight

Panthera First Flight Lasts 54 Minutes... Performs 'Exactly As Predicted'

ANN has learned that one of the most exotic new airframes promised for the experimental (and eventually, certificated) aviation biz, has pulled off its first flight without difficulty.

The new Panthera completed its 54 minute maiden flight on 4 April, 2013. The aircraft completed ground functional and taxi tests at Pipistrel's Headquarters at Ajdovscina, Slovenia, whereupon the Panthera relocated to the Airport of Cerklje ob Krki, where Slovenian Armed Forces provided 'invaluable logistics support.'

According to the Pipistrel folks, 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 behavior 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, noted that, "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."

Pipistrel lean and mean Panthera is a curvy and highly refined 4-seat General Aviation aeroplane, reportedly capable of flying 4 people for 1000 NM, cruising at 200 kts, burning 10 gph. With full composite construction with a titanium retractable undercarriage, enhanced comfort and parachute rescue system (offered as standard), the Panthera can be equipped with the conventional, hybrid, or all electric propulsion system.

FMI: www.pipistrel.si, http://youtu.be/BDYv9b4J7ps

 


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