Hybrid-electric propulsion developer Ampaire has acquired glider-inspired start-up Magpie Aviation, which has worked to enable long-range electric flights with towing systems. 

Ampaire described the deal on 4 March as part of its plan to build a “strategic portfolio of technology and customer contracts”, as the company gains Magpie’s intellectual property, pending patents and government deals– including those with the US Air Force. 

“The addition of Magpie’s technology will enable Ampaire to continue leading the charge in the electrification of aviation and offer unique solutions to its customers,” the start-up says. 

The companies did not disclose financial details of the deal. 


Source: Ampaire

Southern California start-up Ampaire has acquired California Bay Area-based Magpie Aviation 

”Ampaire was one of our first trusted partners in pursuing the Magpie vision, and we are thrilled to see our work continue with them,” Magpie says on LinkedIn. ”Development of our key technologies – including Magpie Aerotowing – will continue under their banner.” 

Los Angeles-based Ampaire’s latest deal builds on last year’s acquisition of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) developer Talyn Air, says chief executive Kevin Noertker.  

“The addition of Magpie exemplifies our deliberate approach to integrating pivotal companies and assets on our path to accelerate our leadership in electrified aviation,” he says. ”Expect more compelling advancements throughout the year as Ampaire remains steadfast in our commitment to advancing our growth strategy.”

Co-founded by Damon Vander Lind and Andrew Goessling, Magpie has developed an ”active hook” system in which one aircraft tows another, proposing “a network of tow aircraft to enable long-range electric flight”. 

”The two aircraft meet in the sky and connect autonomously, at a safe distance,” Magpie says on its website. “The tow aircraft begins towing while the main aircraft idles for a smooth and quiet ride. For longer routes, the tow aircraft is swapped out en route.”  

Ampaire is designing hybrid-electric propulsion systems for existing turboprop aircraft. It has previously touted the long-range potential of its technology with a 1,195nm (2,213km) demonstration flight using its modified Cessna 337 Skymaster. 

Last year, it completed a multi-day, 2,955nm series of hybrid-powered flights from Southern California to Fairbanks International airport in the interior of Alaska. 

With its acquisition of Magpie, Noertker says Ampaire “anticipates further revenue growth across both commercial and defence sectors while simultaneously enhancing the capabilities and mission scope of our existing hybrid aircraft”.