The world’s first helicopter flight with 100 per cent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) took place on 9 November at the Airbus Helicopters headquarters in Marignane, France. The flight, using an Airbus H225 powered by a Safran Makila 2 engine, is the start of an investigation exploring the impact of unblended SAF on helicopter systems.
The unblended SAF was derived from used cooking oil provided by TotalEnergies, and offers a net 90-per-cent reduction in CO2 compared to regular jet fuel.
Stefan Thome, Executive Vice President, Engineering and Chief Technical Officer at Airbus Helicopters, commented: “While all Airbus helicopters are certified to fly with up to a 50 per cent blend of SAF mixed with kerosene, it is our company’s ambition to have its helicopters certified to fly with 100 per cent SAF within the decade. Today’s flight is an important first step towards that goal.”
Thome continued: “SAF is an important pillar of Airbus Helicopters’ decarbonization strategy because it provides immediate CO2 reduction with no negative impact on the performance of the helicopter.”
The race to achieve fully certified, unblended SAF continues, with Safran recently completing a helicopter test campaign using 100 per cent SAF also derived from cooking oil supplied by TotalEnergies.