Textron, maker of Cessna and Beechcraft aircraft, is buying European electric aircraft company Pipistrel, hoping to boost its efforts in sustainable aircraft. 

Pipistrel’s electric-powered Velis Electro, a single-engine two-seater designed for training, received full-type certification from EASA in 2020.  

“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,” Textron chief executive Scott Donnelly said in a statement on March 17, 2022.  

Once the purchase is complete, Textron plans to set up a new division, Textron eAviation, to focus on developing sustainable aircraft. Pipistrel, based in Slovenia and Italy, will be part of the new business segment.  

“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,” Donnelly declared.   

Pipistrel founder and CEO Ivo Boscarol will remain a minority shareholder as well as Chairman Emeritus. Textron said it would maintain the Pipistrel brand, plus its research, research and development and manufacturing in Slovenia and Italy.  

Textron said it expected the transaction to close in the second quarter of 2022. 

There are a host of companies working on electric aircraft technologies and they are increasingly gaining the attention of established manufacturers. In January, Boeing said it was investing in electric taxi company Wisk.  

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