Helicopters Airbus starts helicopter test flights with engine back-up system

Airbus Helicopters has released that it has started flight tests with a new engine back-up system.

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In partnership with the French Civil Aviation Authority DGAC, Airbus Helicopters has started test flights for a new engine back-up system (EBS) onboard its Flightlab H130 helicopter. The campaign seeks to enhance flight safety on single-engine helicopters.

During the tests, emergency electrical power is being provided in the case of a turbine failures. With this project, the manufacturer wants to open the way for future solutions with hybridised propulsion system in the light helicopter segment.

Tomasz Krysinski, Head of Research and Innovation at Airbus Helicopters, said: “The engine back-up 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.”

Airbus Helicopters explained, that for these tests the Flightlab was equipped with a 100 Kw electric motor, which is connected to the main gearbox. Over the course of the flight tests, the crew simulates engine failures in different flight conditions, and then examines, if the EBS is giving the pilot extra time to react and maintain rotor speed to enhance the safety.

Next to finding out if the EBS helps to make operations during takeoff and landing procedures safer, Airbus also seeks to better the performance with the EBS. The prompt electric power input is a potential benefit in terms of Maximum Take-Off weight. It could compensate for the mass of the EBS system and could provide additional payload capabilities.

Airbus also stated, the a serial production could be an option once certifications are being met: “Because the EBS flight campaign also looks at ways of easing the possible introduction of this techno-brick onto future production aircraft, the various components of the system have been designed with serial production in mind.“ Airbus is already working together with the DGAC to make certification processes easier.

Source © airbus.com

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