Slovenia’s Pipistrel Aircraft, best known for its range of lightweight two-seaters, is nearing the launch of a new hydrogen fuel-cell- and battery-powered 19-seat hybrid that it hopes will revolutionise the commuter-category segment.
Dubbed the “Miniliner”, the aircraft could enter service by 2030, the company says, and will offer a substantial cut in operating costs against current designs.
Pipstrel says the Miniliner will be able to perform short point-to-point services between cities, boosting connectivity for underserved locations, or what it calls “microfeeder” flights into bigger hubs.
Power from the fuel cells will be sufficient for most departures, but batteries are provided to boost short-field performance, allowing departures from runways down to 800m (2,620ft). This, it says, will allow access to 80% of Europe’s airports.
While Pipistrel sees the optimum flight length as between 160-215nm (300-400km), the Miniliner will be able to fly for around 1,000nm on a single tank of liquid hydrogen.
Read the whole article in FlightGlobal.