Passenger Electric Aircraft Takes Flight—Powered by Panacis

October 21, 2012 by Jeff Shepard

Panacis announces that a fully electric Cessna 172 has successfully flown multiple times powered by Panacis™ advanced lithium batteries. The aircraft, designed by Colorado-based Beyond Aviation has been undergoing ground testing and short hop flights for almost a year with increasing range and altitude testing culminating in the recent completion of the entire test plan.

"The battery system was delivered more than a year ago to support this program and has been used in their lab tests and all runway tests," stated Steve Carkner, founder and CTO of Panacis. "The same batteries are still operating the aircraft; we have had no significant issues with the battery system and have seen no degradation in capacity or performance over this long test cycle."

Airborne electric vehicles represent the most challenging environment for energy storage due to the increased need for reliability and lower weight, when compared to the simpler systems employed in electric cars. The power profile of electric aircraft is also more challenging than electric cars due to the extreme temperature variations as the aircraft climbs and the high power requirements during takeoff. The flight testing of the Cessna 172 demonstrates Panacis' ability to deliver the lightest high power battery systems in a production ready format for applications where weight is critical.

The use of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) is one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. Military with an estimated 12% annual growth projected to reach more than $18B in 2018 according to the U.S. Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) Market Forecast 2013-2018. The majority of UAVs are powered by batteries and can benefit from the technology demonstrated by Panacis in these recent aircraft tests.