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Cessna/Beechcraft Parent Buys Electric Plane Maker Pipistrel

The deal leads to a whole new kind of American airplane company

Textron buys Pipistrel
Photo courtesy of Pipistrel.

Textron, the parent company to Cessna Aircraft, Beechcraft and Bell Helicopter, has purchased electric and LSA pioneer Pipistrel, a small-aircraft manufacturer based in Slovenia. But according to its release, Pipistrel won’t be added as a fourth aircraft brand but, rather, it will be the anchor for a new business center, which it plans to call Textron eAviation. In its release, Textron wrote that under Textron ownership, “Pipistrel will have access to greater resources, technical and regulatory expertise and a global aircraft sales and support network, enabling it to accelerate its development and certification of electric and hybrid electric aircraft.”

In announcing the deal, Textron Chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly said, “Pipistrel puts Textron in a uniquely strong position to develop technologies for the sustainable aviation market and develop a variety of new aircraft to meet a wide range of customer missions.” He added, “today’s announcement supports Textron’s long-term strategy to offer a family of sustainable aircraft for urban air mobility, general aviation, cargo and special mission roles.”

The deal, said Textron, doesn’t mean that Pipistrel will go away. Far from it. “Pipistrel,” said Donnelly, “has been celebrated as one of the world’s most important and successful manufacturers of electric aircraft,” to which he added, “Textron is committed to maintaining Pipistrel’s brand, headquarters, research and development, and manufacturing in Slovenia and Italy, while making additional investments in Pipistrel for the development and production of future products.”

It also announced that Pipistrel founder and CEO Ivo Boscarol would “remain a minority shareholder as well as Chairman Emeritus, consulting on future product plans and strategies for a two-year period.” Boscarol said, “Under my 30-year leadership, Pipistrel’s team has achieved a unique prime position in personal, affordable, environmentally friendly and electric aviation. The trend and foundation for future projects has clearly been set,” said Boscarol. “To drive Pipistrel’s ambitious goals and to continue its story of success, the joining of Textron and Pipistrel provides deep expertise and resources which would otherwise be inaccessible to Pipistrel alone.”

The transaction, Textron wrote, is expected to close during the second quarter of 2022.

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