Friday, April 20, 2012
Ultra-Efficient Panthera Makes its Grand Entrance
Innovation is everywhere on the Panthera, including a windscreen that utilizes a single center post and wraps all the way behind the custom-airfoil wing, affording helicopter like visibility. The three unusual, gull-wing doors gape wide open for entry and exit, and the Panthera will come standard with a ballistic parachute system. The T-tailed, Kevlar and carbon-fiber beauty is approved for grass operations. It utilizes retractable, titanium, trailing-link landing gear, and is powered by Lycoming's 200 horsepower fuel-injected IO-390 engine. Inside, the panel is built around the Garmin G500 avionics suite.
Pipistrel calls the Panthera a "personal time machine," and the description fits. The much-anticipated aircraft looks like something out of a spacecraft designer's notebook, with its organic lines and promise of high performance, quiet operation, and ability to use future fuels. The manufacturer even has variations in the works for both hybrid and pure-electric powerplants. The FAA expects to have the Panthera certified in the U.S. in 2015, though Pipistrel also offers an experimental version. The certified Panthera will be priced under $500,000, fully equipped. CEO, Ivo Boscarol, said, "Panthera will shake the world of General Aviation, setting the benchmark for efficiency, cabin comfort and safety for others to follow."