Safran Helicopters has announced that it has successfully completed the first ground test of its hybrid electric propulsion system, designed for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft.
The test took place at the Safran Helicopter Engines test facility, near Pau-Pyrenees Airport in France. The system works by partnering a turbo-generator with a bank of batteries, which in turn powers multiple electric motors that turn the propellers. The power is managed and distributed by a newly developed power management system.
During the tests, the system was able to generate 100kW of electrical power, and was put through its paces in several operation modes. The tests were carried out in accordance with Safan’s roadmap for the development of hybrid propulsion solutions.
“Following the recent announcement of our partnership with Bell concerning ‘mobility on demand’, this latest milestone clearly reflects Safran’s determination to invest in the development of hybrid electric propulsion systems, which will be the foundation of future propulsion solutions,” said Stéphane Cueille, Senior Executive Vice-President for R&T and Innovation at Safran.
The company intends for the system to contribute to the maturing and wider uptake of VTOL and STOL technology. It hopes that the technology will be ready for market by 2025.