Daher, Safran, and Airbus Finish Preliminary Design Review for EcoPulse

The aircraft demonstrates distributed hybrid-electric propulsion technologies.

The EcoPulse Demonstrator uses a distributed propulsion configuration, with six electric thrusters incorporating Safran’s ENGINeUS motors.Daher

Daher, Safran, and Airbus announced on December 10 they had completed the preliminary design review phase for the consortium’s EcoPulse Demonstrator, which uses a distributed hybrid-electric propulsion system. The review “freezes” the aircraft’s configuration, and it positions the demonstrator for its next steps, which include mounting Safran motors in preparation for the first flight.

The trio of companies debuted the concept at the 2019 Paris Air Show, with the goal of contributing to the solutions in work to reduce the environmental impact of commercial aviation. Thus far, the project—backed by the French government—has advanced with testing completed on an aircraft platform provided by Daher, and it will now proceed towards final assembly at Daher’s plant in Tarbes, France. Pascal Laguerre, chief technology officer for Daher, said in a news release, “With this demonstrator, Daher intends to develop the key architectural principles for future hybrid aircraft. The project reaffirms our commitment, as a general aviation manufacturer with our Kodiak and TBM product lines, to more efficient and eco-responsible aviation. This is reflected by our company’s active participation in numerous ambitious collaborative research projects aimed at decarbonizing air traffic.”

Safran has validated use of the ENGINeUS motors as part of the preliminary design review.Daher

Wind tunnel testing, conducted by Airbus, begins on the propeller and engine nacelle combination in the first quarter of 2021. Safran has validated the use of its ENGINeUS electric motors; according to the news release, the six powerplant mounts “will be fitted with 50 kW ENGINeUS electric motors with integrated electronics and patented air cooling, as well as propellers supplied by DUC Hélices. The Safran ENGINeUS motor will be submitted for EASA certification—the same type as granted for a turboshaft engine.”

Safran has also tested and confirmed the other components of the propulsion system, including the power management system, turbogenerator, and the high-voltage wiring needed to supply the juice to the thrusters. “EcoPulse is an ambitious project, and designing hybrid propulsion on this new aircraft architecture is a key skill that Safran is proud to master,” said Stéphane Cueille, senior executive vice president and CTO, research & technology and innovation at Safran.