Airbus Helicopters' Diesel H120 First Flight Test Successful

High-compression engine offers reduced emissions.

Airbus Helicopters Clean Sky

Airbus Helicopters Clean Sky

Photo: Airbus Helicopters/Jerome Deulin

Airbus Helicopters successfully completed the first flight test of its high-compression diesel engine demonstrator aircraft at the Marignane Airport in Marignane, France.

"The first result of the 30-minute flight confirms the advantages of new-technology high-compression piston engines for rotorcraft in offering reduced emissions, up to 50 percent lower fuel consumption depending on duty cycle, nearly doubled range and enhanced operations in hot and high conditions," said Tomasz Krysinski, head of research and innovation at Airbus Helicopters.

TEOS Powertrain Engine and Austro Engine GmbH are supporting the demonstrator's test flights in an Airbus H120 as part of the European Clean Sky initiative's Green Rotorcraft Integrated Technology Demonstrator (ITD) program. By developing quieter and more fuel-efficient aircraft and rotorcraft, the Clean Sky initiative aims to reduce specific fuel consumption by 30 percent, CO2 emissions by 40 percent and NOx by 53 percent.

In the upcoming tests, Airbus Helicopters' in-flight evaluations will go beyond the eco-efficiency of its rotorcraft, focusing on power-to-weight ratios that could make high-compression engines sustainable alternatives to the turbine power plants that are currently used throughout the helicopter industry.