Orkney Islands to John O'Groats: Latest test flight for hybrid aircraft flies flag for sustainable air travel


The UK's first hybrid electric flight between the Orkney Islands and John O'Groats has offered a glimpse into a low emission future for regional air travel, after green aviation technology specialist Ampaire announced the successful completion of its latest test flights.

The flight - which forms part of the Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE) project, led by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) - marks the first time a hybrid aeroplane has operated on a commercial regional airline route.

The flight was completed by Ampaire's Electric EEL technology demonstrator, a modified six-seat Cessna 337 aircraft that runs on battery power and a conventional combustion engine. It successfully crossed the Pentland Firth from Kirkwall Airport (KOI) on the Orkney Isles to regional airport Wick John O'Groats Airport (WIC) as part of a series of trial flights.

Ampaire test pilot Justin Gillen said the flight went "without a hitch", flying at 3,500 feet and 120 miles per hour. 

"The Electric EEL is easy to fly and we've achieved a total five hours here so far," he added.