Leonardo and Pratt & Whitney Canada has announced the successful completion of the first flight for a AW139 intermediate twin helicopter, powered by PT6C-67C engines, using 100 per cent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).
The AW139 is a popular choice of rotorcraft for firefighting, air ambulance and military operations.
Accomplished at Leonardo’s facility in Cascina Costa di Samarate, Italy, on 21 November, the 75-minute flight and ground tests evaluated engine performance with multiple power variation and other systems. The test showed a positive response to the new fuel with no significant differences compared with the use of Jet A1 fuel.
With more than 1,100 AW139s in service worldwide and almost four million flight hours logged to date, this result shows another benefit of the aircraft’s possibilities to the many operators carrying out missions in all weather and environmental conditions as they aim for more ambitious sustainability goals.
Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said “With this latest result we are demonstrating how we can support the rapid evolution of sustainability requirements in aviation as the industry aims at a greater use of SAF in operations. We did so with the world-class AW139 testifying that this technology allows more sustainable operations keeping the same level of high performance, significantly contributing to lower CO2 emissions. We’re committed to joining forces with aviation partners and suppliers, authorities, energy leaders and rotorcraft service providers to incentivise the use of SAF to sustain carbon footprint reduction.”
Maria Della Posta, President of Pratt & Whitney Canada, added: “This first flight effectively demonstrates engine functionality and is an important part of our long-standing efforts to support the development of future specifications for 100 per cent SAF, a core part of our sustainable propulsion strategy.
“This is the first time a PT6 engine has flown using 100 per cent SAF. This milestone builds on its unrivalled legacy of success and underlines how the engine family can contribute to a more sustainable future in aviation. Since entering the market 60 years ago, the PT6 engine family has clocked more than 500 million flight hours, 8.3 million of which were on PT6C turboshaft engines.”