Airbus Helicopters has began flight tests of its engine backup system (EBS) onboard its Flightlab helicopter, aiming to enhance flight safety of single engine operations in the event of turbine failure.
The Flightlab has been outfitted with a 100 Kw electric motor connected to the main gearbox, which can provide power for 30 seconds during engine failure. By providing additional reaction time and rotor speed, the EBS is intended to support a smoother and more secure autorotation maneuverer to the ground.
A fully hybrid propulsion system
Tomasz Krysinski, Head of Research and Innovation at Airbus Helicopters, commented: “The engine backup system is a good example of the incremental approach in our innovation strategy. The current EBS flights are a very important first step towards a future hybrid propulsion system and we already foresee a second phase of the project with more energy and power on board.
“We are looking at developing a fully parallel hybrid propulsion system mixing thermal and electrical energy together with the aim of optimizing fuel consumption and enabling hybrid single engine flights over urban areas.”
Sustainable flight is being explored by numerous entities, including GE Aviation and Safran, which recently announced their sustainable engines technology program.