Electric Hybrid Plane Tested in Hawai’i

by Megan Hill

Jun 13, 2019

An Island Hopper, Mokulele Airlines

Feature

With hybrid electric cars already a reality, could planes be the next frontier for this environmentally friendly technology? A regional airline in Hawai’i certainly hopes so.

Mokulele Airlines collaborated with Los Angeles-based aircraft design firm Ampaire to test a short-haul hybrid aircraft for commercial service, according to The Associated Press.

The plane will be tested on the airline’s Maui route. Ampaire is converting a Cessna 337 aircraft from aviation fuel to battery-powered hybrid electric propulsion as part of the project, Maui Today reported.

“When our first prototype aircraft flies in the first half of this year, it will be the first aircraft in its weight class/size — it’s a six-seat passenger plane — to fly in an electrified configuration,” said Brice Nzeukou, product manager, Ampaire. “When we bring it to Maui, it should be the first time that an aircraft of that type has been used in a mock commercial setting.”

The plane will be flown on a 28-mile test flight between Kahului Airport in Central Maui and Hana Airport on the east side of the island. The route is already served by Mokulele Airlines on a conventional plane. Transit time in each direction will be about 15 minutes.

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