Airbus Helicopters Focusing on New Technologies for Cleaner, More Efficient Rotorcraft

Airbus Helicopters showcases several ground-breaking research projects and new helicopter innovations for environment-friendly technologies during Paris Air Show. These projects are part of the company´s mid and long term research and development strategy to provide innovative solutions to reduce operating and maintenance costs while improving environmental protection, safety, quality and performance.

The H160 is displayed on Airbus Group’s Eco Way as the rotorcraft will be 15 to 20% more energy efficient thanks to Turbomeca’s new generation Arrano engines with reduced fuel consumption combined with a use of innovative and lighter materials including composites, and aerodynamics optimization. The CO2 emissions by H160 will be 20% less per passenger compared to current range.Sound levels will be reduced by up to 50 % compared to the current range and 70% below the regulation. This is mainly thanks to advanced Airbus Helicopters sound reduction technologies such as the Blue Edge® rotor blades and Fenestron®.

Airbus Helicopters is testing, in support of Clean Sky’s Green Rotorcraft initiative, a new kind of High-Compression Piston Engine, able to function with commonly used fuel kerosene, thanks to a specific injection hardware with the objective to bring benefits such as lower fuel consumption, reduction of emissions, longer range with the same fuel consumption, lower maintenance costs and improved helicopter performance in hot & high conditions. After successful ground tests with the company’s H120 demonstrator in the last months, Airbus Helicopters is now entering the flight test phase with the first flight expected in the upcoming weeks. The H120 demonstrator helicopter’s 4.6- liter high-compression piston engine incorporates numerous technologies already applied to advanced self-ignition engines for auto racing. The High-Compression Piston Engine can be seen at the Clean Sky Stand (2B-G 65).

The company will be presenting the innovative work of composite layering in blade manufacturing at the “Avion des Métiers” stand. The direct achievement of this kind of blade manufacturing technique can be seen in the CORAC booth where the Blue Edge® blade, which was developed in cooperation with the French aerospace lab ONERA, will be on display alongside a scale model of the H160, the first aircraft that will be equipped with these sound reducing and performance boosting blades.

Airbus Helicopters seeks to develop mature technologies and processes that will redefine future rotorcraft and enhance operational efficiency. The Airbus Helicopters Open Innovation initiative evaluates new technology at each stage of the development process to ensure that it aligns with customer requirements. Therefore, Open Innovation has created a streamlined process with external companies and laboratories, including SME, that lead to cooperative projects in a contractual framework, dedicated to fast maturation and short term application to our helicopters, production tools and services. 

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