Category: Portfolio Companies

The Highest-Capacity Electric Aircraft Ever Flown Held First Public Test Flight in the Skies Above Southern California on Thursday, Paving the Way for Ampaire Inc. to Have Regular Commercial Service for Passengers and Cargo as Soon as 2021

Aviation Company Ampaire, Inc., Helps Further Cement Los Angeles as the Center of Innovation on Transportation Electrification

Camarillo, California, June 6, 2019.  Ampaire, Inc. has moved the aviation industry a major step forward with the test flight of the Ampaire 337, the highest-capacity hybrid-electric aircraft ever flown. On Thursday, June 6, Ampaire engineers, investors and journalists witnessed the hybrid-electric Ampaire 337 fly in the skies above Camarillo Airport.

This is a significant step for aviation because never before has a hybrid-electric aircraft this large flown. Ampaire’s 337 is built with a direct path towards commercialization—moving electric aviation firmly from futuristic to attainable.

The aircraft, based on the six-seat Cessna 337 Skymaster, was retrofitted with Ampaire’s proprietary electric propulsion system and is powered by a lightweight battery system. The battery-powered electric motor replaces a combustion engine of the aircraft’s original two-engine configuration, and the resulting system is a ‘parallel hybrid’, meaning the internal combustion engine and electric motor work in concert to optimize power output as the plane flies. In hybrid configuration, the aircraft sees significant greenhouse gas emissions savings and operating cost reductions. The experimental plane was flown by a test pilot and flight engineer.

“The first flight of Ampaire’s electric passenger aircraft is a huge step forward for aviation,” said Deborah Flint, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports. “As a cleantech company that was started in our great city as part of LACI, Ampaire’s incredible achievement further cements Los Angeles as the leader in transportation electrification and technology innovation.”

“Imagine that in just a few years you will be able to buy a ticket for a flight that is clean, quiet and inexpensive,” said Kevin Noertker, CEO of Ampaire. “Ampaire is proud to lead the aviation industry in transportation electrification, and we recognize the importance of electric aviation for climate change and community connectivity.”  

“Given the urgency of the climate crisis, today’s historic flight not only signifies a huge step forward for aviation, it also shines a light on Los Angeles’s leadership in transportation electrification,” said Matt Petersen, CEO of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI). “That’s why I’m so excited for the Ampaire team for their first hybrid-electric flight—as a LACI portfolio company, Ampaire and their Ampaire 337 flight test program further proves that Los Angeles is a cleantech hub that attracts investment and game-changing innovation for climate solutions.”

“Flight is becoming electric and this is the most incredible team to make that happen! Ampaire’s approach is one of the many reasons we chose to support them through our accelerator program,” said Van Espahbodi, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Starburst Accelerator. “We see tremendous potential in their business model, and we’re excited to see them achieve this significant technical milestone.”

Aircraft are a significant contributor to both local and global emissions. Electric and hybrid-electric aircraft will reduce GHG emissions and air pollution even as more and more goods and people fly. In addition, electric aircraft are quieter, more efficient and cost much less to fly and maintain connecting communities, making skies quieter.  

Ampaire has mapped a clear path from today’s first test flight of a prototype to commercial operations in 2021. Thursday’s test flight follows the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) May 2019 airworthiness approval to begin a flight test program. The test flights will see the aircraft fly multiple times per week from June through August 2019 and will gather data about the electric propulsion performance characteristics.

In late 2019, Ampaire will begin a pilot project on a commercial route on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The aircraft will be a newly retrofitted Cessna 337 built with learnings from the test flight program that inform the configuration of the battery and motor. This aircraft will be a pre-production prototype and will move Ampaire closer to commercial readiness.

Ampaire’s focus is on supplying aircraft to regional airlines— who typically fly short-haul—often serving remote communities and island regions. In addition to the upcoming pilot project in Maui, Ampaire is also in collaboration with Vieques Air Link (VAL), a regional airline in Puerto Rico, to establish a pilot project in the region. Alongside Mokulele Airlines and VAL, Ampaire has signed Letters of Interest with 14 other airlines across the world.

About Ampaire
Ampaire is leading the charge in aircraft electrification. The Los Angeles based company is on a mission to be the world’s most trusted developer of practical and compelling electric aircraft. To start, Ampaire is retrofitting existing passenger aircraft to electric. It’s the leanest, fastest, most capital efficient approach to making commercial electric air travel a reality. As a LACI portfolio company, Ampaire has its roots in Los Angeles. Ampaire’s vision is to make flights more accessible to more people from more airports by providing electric aircraft that are safe, clean, quiet, and less costly to operate.

For interview requests, please contact Brice Nzeukou.
Video and photography for publication are here.

Brice Nzeukou

Sarah Bryce

Price MPP Alum Receives NASPAA ‘Public Service Matters’ Spotlight Award – USC Price School

USC Price School of Public Policy alumna Kabira Stokes was named a winner of the “Public Service Matters” Spotlight Award by NASPAA, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration.

The award – which recognizes innovative solutions to public sector problems, helping to change the world in concrete ways – was announced on Oct. 20 at the 2016 NASPAA Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Stokes was honored for her efforts as founder of the social enterprise, Isidore Electronics, a full-service electronics recycling company that employs individuals who were formerly incarcerated in the California prison system, providing them with green job training and helping facilitate their successful reentry into the community. Stokes earned her Master of Public Policy from USC Price in 2010.

LACI Portfolio Companies head to Santa Barbara for one of the Largest Earth Day Festivals on the West Coast

Showcase of Cleantech Start-ups to Feature Clean Energy Solutions, EVs and Pre-fab Home Options

SANTA BARBARA, CA – April 17, 2018 – The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), dedicated to creating an inclusive, green economy by unlocking innovation, transforming markets and enhancing community, will showcase the latest cleantech solutions at the 48th Annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival in the LACI Energy Pavilion (booth 394). The festival takes place this Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22, at Alameda Park, 1400 Santa Barbara Street in Santa Barbara.

The LACI Energy Pavilion, located in the festival’s Public Square, will showcase start-ups in LACI’s award-winning Cleantech Incubator program and its energy-focused Innovators program. Companies featured include Pick My Solar, an online marketplace helping homeowners go solar, SimpliPhi Power, a battery storage company based in Ojai, and Connect Homes aimed at making pre-fab housing more affordable and offering a promising solution for those displaced from the recent wildfires. The festival’s Green Car Show will feature LACI Portfolio Company Green Commuter and Energy Innovators EVmatch and Envoy.

LACI’s Earth Day sponsorship and start-up showcase is part of an on going effort to support clean energy, zero emissions transportation and sustainable cities innovation. Last year, LACI expanded its resources into Santa Barbara, Ventura and Orange Counties through a six-year, $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission. The regional clean energy ecosystem development is part of the Commission’s statewide initiative to meet increasing demand for innovation in the energy sector.

In addition to supporting cleantech entrepreneurs, LACI is working with local Santa Barbara partners to accelerate clean energy development, including aligning with local non-profit organizations as part of the CleanEnergy805 coalition. Recently, the CleanEnergy805 coalition encouraged local businesses and municipalities to connect with energy developers in order to submit compelling local renewable energy projects in response to the Southern California Edison Moorpark Distributed Energy Resources solicitation.

“We are thrilled to be a part of the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival allowing LACI to introduce some of our exciting clean energy and zero emissions start-ups to the community,” stated Amanda Sabicer, LACI Senior Vice President of Market Transformation.“This is a great opportunity for the public to get hands-on experience with the next generation of technologies that will provide a cleaner, carbon-free future.”

Since 1970, the Community Environmental Council has hosted the community-organized Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival, believed to be one of the largest annual Earth Day Festivals on the West Coast with 33,000 attendees in 2017. The Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival attracts a wide audience and features one of the largest collections of efficient and alternative fueled vehicles at its Green Car Show. The two-day festival features 250 exhibitors in its Public Square, Homegrown Roots, Great Outdoors, Kids Corner, and Eco Village sections. For more information, please visit

About LACI

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is a private non-profit organization helping to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies and ensuring an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation, transforming markets and enhancing community. Founded as a cluster-driven economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI is recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI. In the past six years, LACI has helped 72 portfolio companies raise $165M in funding, $220M in revenue, create 1,700 jobs, and deliver more than $379M in long term economic value. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter and Facebook @LACIncubator.

Media Contact:
Laurie Peters
LACI Communications Director