First Hybrid-Electric Plane Takes Flight Over Maui

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser – In a demonstration flight, the Electric EEL flew from Maui’s airport to Hana and back entirely on a single hybrid-electric charge. The company says the plane is like a Prius in the sky, and it’s the first of its kind. For the first time, a hybrid-electric plane has taken to the skies above Maui.

Ampaire Inc., a Los Angeles-based company focused on electric aviation, conducted its first, 20-minute demonstration flight in its Electric EEL—a hybrid-electric plane — from Maui’s Kahului Airport to Hana and back on Nov. 22 on a single charge.

Ampaire said it is the first to complete a demonstration flight of a hybrid-electric aircraft along an actual airline route. Ampaire is now flying the route regularly as part of a one-month demonstration program in partnership with Mokulele Airlines. Mokulele is one of 15 airlines around the world that signed a letter of interest with the company.

“We’re following the successful path of hybrid-electric automobiles in transforming ground transportation by taking that model to the sky, ” said Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker in a news release. “By upgrading current aircraft with hybrid-electric propulsion we can enter the market quickly and take advantage of existing infrastructure for fixed-wing aviation.”