Pipistrel’s new Panthera completed its maiden flight on 4 April, 2013. The very successful first flight lasted 54 minutes. Following high-speed taxi runs and jumps above the runway, test pilot Mirko Anžel and co-pilot Sašo Knez lifted off the runway at 14:15 local time and spent 54 minutes in the air, evaluating Panthera’s behaviour and performing system checks. Both pilots agreed the handling was straight-forward and pilot friendly, with parameters exactly as predicted – a true statement to skill of the development team and reassurance that all target performance goals will be met. Panthera so far completed several hours of flying with undercarriage both out and retracted.
Ivo Boscarol, CEO of Pipistrel says: “This is Pipistrel’s first entry into the world of General Aviation. We knew for a long time that we were capable of developing and producing aircraft larger and more capable than ultralights/LSAs. Panthera is proof that Pipistrel’s team can indeed compete with the most eminent global general aviation producers. Also, Panthera is Slovenia’s first ever 4-seat aeroplane design headed for production.”
Panthera is a revolutionary 4-seat General Aviation aeroplane, capable of flying 4 people for 1000 NM, cruising at 200 kts, burning only 10 gallons of fuel per hour. With full composite construction with titanium retractable undercarriage, enhanced comfort and parachute rescue system standard, Panthera can be equipped with the conventional, hybrid, or all electric propulsion system.
Panthera achieves unprecedented efficiency through careful aerodynamic shaping, retractable titanium undercarriage, lightweight advanced composite structure, a tailor made propeller and a dedicated performance exhaust system. Efficiency does not only reflect itself in a low fuel consumption of just 10 gallons per hour at 200 kts, but is translated directly into more speed for the same power. No other four seat aircraft exists that flies this fast on the same engine! For the owner/operator this represents significantly lower operating costs and simplified maintenance. The 1000 NM range is available with any payload, something which pilots of four seat aeroplanes have been wishing for. Robust design of the undercarriage and low overall weight allows for operations from short grass strips, taking you as close as possible to your desired destination. The engine is ready for the future, able to accept unleaded fuels and meeting the future environmental requirements. Hybrid and electric models further reduce the take-off noise footprint by taking advantage of the pure-electric take-off.
The powerful, yet lightweight engine can run on unleaded fuel and is ready for the future! With its titanium trailing-link retractable undercarriage, Pantera is designed to take advantage of short, grass runways and maximise the comfort of operation on longer, hard surfaces. Payload and range is never compromised – with four people aboard, Panthera will easily reach destinations more than 1000 NM away!
One of the major design points of Panthera is the state-of-the art ergonomic cabin. All features provide superior comfort and usability for people of all sizes. Access is easy via three large gull-wing style doors, two in the front for pilot and co-pilot and one for the back row of seats. Pilot and co-pilot seats are adjustable, as are the rudder pedals. The central stick is ergonomic and provides the sporty feel signature to Panthera. Back seats are very wide and feature a 2+1 seating arrangement. There is a supersized – standard cabin luggage sized – cargo door, but the cargo can also be accessed from the cockpit during the flight! The interior is furnished with highest quality leather and LED lighting for exclusive feel and functionality. Climate is controlled thanks to the on-board air-condition with automatic ventilation. It will keep you cool during the summer and warm during the winter. Also special is the solar-powered ventilation which keeps the cabin cool when Panthera is
parked outside in the sun!
The instrument panel is designed to embrace the pilot and provide ultimate sensation and outside visibility. The view from the cockpit is completely redefined by a using a single pillar between the pilots – in this way the visibility forward and sideward is free of obstacles, greatly increasing the safety of flight. There are three functional areas on the full IFR panel, the upper back-up/annunciator area, the PFD/MFD area and the communication stack. The avionics are gathered around a Garmin G500 series PFD/MFD synthetic vision screen and the new state of the art Garmin GTN series touch-screen Flight Management Systems. The ease of use and reliability of Garmin avionics is second to none, but the cockpit environment of the Panthera further enhances the experience. The GTN 750 and 635 dual COM/NAV feature full touch screen controls, which maximise screen size and allow for simplified navigation and graphical flight planning. Draw a path on the navigation screen with your finger and Panthera’s full featured autopilot can follow it. It’s magic! In addition, the fully integrated modular cockpit provides all terrain, traffic and weather alerts (in areas where applicable). Transponder and 3D audio-panel are integrated and courtesy of the Garmin GTN 750.
Each detail of Panthera’s graceful lines has been thoroughly aerodynamically optimized using customized, state of the art computational fluid dynamics software, resulting in a smooth and clean shape. The specially designed wing airfoils are optimized for cruise efficiency and therefore speed, while at the same time ensuring high maximum lift and docile stall characteristics. Its instantly recognizable T-tail ensures low interference drag and helps improve spin characteristics by preventing the horizontal stabilizer from shadowing the rudder at high angles of attack.
Realizing Panthera’s aerodynamic shape while still ensuring maximum safety and keeping the weight low would be impossible without the use of advanced next-gen materials. The majority of the structure of the aircraft is made from carbon-fibre composites, with antistatic materials and Kevlar used in areas where it matters. The retractable trailing-link undercarriage is built from titanium, giving it superior strength and energy absorption properties at minimum system weight. All actuation systems on the aircraft are fully electric, avoiding the need for complex and heavy hydraulics.
Panthera is your personal high performance bubble of safety! As part of the rich serial equipment, Panthera features a full-airframe parachute rescue system, which was specially developed so it can be deployed at both low- and high speeds as well as low altitudes.
The cabin has been engineered as a safety cell/roll bar with built-in energy absorption zones, providing superior safety to the occupants in the event of an accident. The seats and safety belts are engineered to latest +26G CS/FAR-23 certification standards. Immediately noticable is the incredible view from the cockpit. By having just one central pillar, the pilot’s view forward and sideward is virtually unobstructed, thus greatly improving the safety of flight. The ergonomic cockpit comes with special annunciator panels, improving situational awareness when it comes to different audio and visual alarms (terrain, stall, overspeed, engine issues, etc.).
Panthera’s performance also contributes to safety – the lightweight structure, powered by powerful engines means that you will reach safe speeds and altitudes much quicker than usual, reducing time spent in the »critical zones«. Special attention has been paid to realise the aerodynamic shape, which gives Panthera excellent handling at low speeds and superior stall/post-stall characteristics. Also important are tailored solutions to simplify maintenance, thus reducing the probability of mistakes occurring during the check-ups.
Source from http://www.panthera-aircraft.com/