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Tecnam Hybrid P2010 Takes Flight

Parallel Hybrid Offers the Economy of an LSA and Utility of a Cessna - But Don't Expect A Production Model Any Time Soon

Tecnam's successful development program aimed at creating a hybrid P2010 aircraft has borne fruit, successfully completing its first test flight. 

The fluorescent green P2010 H3PS (for 'High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain') reputedly has the honor of being the world's first parallel hybrid aircraft, combining a standard 141hp Rotax 915 IS with a 30 kW Rolls-Royce electric motor for a powertrain boasting a combined 180hp. The aircraft is meant to be a proof-of-concept piece to demonstrate the viability of such a system for light aircraft. The team describes the H3PS as in most respects a normal P2010, offering similar performance to a stock model's 180hp Lycoming IO-360 but granting the economy of the Rotax 915.

Through its use of viable, affordable tech, the approach could prove to be the recipe for a private pilot's dream plane: One that combines the fuel economy of a Van's RV-12 with the carrying capacity of a Cessna 206. 

Rolls-Royce noted a number of benefits resulting from the configuration. “The reduction in engine size has further benefits. It means the aircraft can go further on its existing fuel tank, and because the engine is always running at its optimal operating level it is more efficient and experiences less wear and tear, resulting in reduced maintenance costs and ultimately a lower cost of ownership. It is also lighter.” 

Comments from Rolls-Royce personnel and Tecnam managing director Pascale Langer give the impression that while the plane in its current guise isn't slated for production any time soon, the underlying mindset will be seen in future developments across the industry.

While there's no shortage of whiz-bang, futuristic game-changers in the conceptual pipeline, there is a lack of down-to-earth, accessible, and affordable hybrid systems as enjoyed by the automotive industry for more than a decade. Whether or not there is enough demand, however, remains to be seen. 

“Tecnam’s approach to innovation is truly sustainable,” said Langer, describing the ideological DNA that led to the H3PS. “Our development focuses on three key pillars: environmentally friendly, technologically viable and marketable solutions. We do this by leveraging our multi-generational expertise, research and development, next-generation technology, and strategic partnerships.”



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