Helicopters Airbus unveils new helicopter Flightlab

Airbus Helicopters has unveiled a new helicopter Flightlab to test tomorrow´s technologies.

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European Aircraft manufacturer Airbus Helicopters has started in-flight tests with a new Flightlab helicopter. With the H130, Airbus hopes to test tomorrow´s technologies to make them as safe as possible.

Flightlab is a platform-agnostic flying laboratory which was exclusively dedicated to maturing new technologies. The platform provides an efficient and agile test bed. New technologies can be quickly tested and the manufacturer hopes to find more sustainable, efficient or even disruptive innovations, especially for fixed-wing aircraft or (e)VTOL platforms of the future.

Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO, said: “Investing in the future remains essential, even in times of crisis, especially when those innovations bring added value to our customers by targeting increased safety, reduced pilot workload, and reduced sound levels [---] Having a dedicated platform to test these new technologies brings the future of flight a step closer and is a clear reflection of our priorities at Airbus Helicopters.”

With its Flightlab demonstrator, Airbus Helicopters intends to pursue the testing of hybrid and electric propulsion technologies. Furthermore, the manufacturer wants to explore autonomy and other technologies that will reduce helicopter sound levels.

Regarding already performed tests, Airbus Helicopter wrote: "First results show that buildings play an important role in masking or amplifying sound levels and these studies will be instrumental when the time comes for sound modelling and regulation setting, especially for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) initiatives. Testing was pursued in December to evaluate the Rotor Strike Alerting System (RSAS) aimed at alerting crews about the imminent risk of collision with the main and tail rotors."

This year, the testbed will be used for missions with an image-detection solution with cameras that enable low altitude navigation. Additionally, the viability of a dedicated Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) for light helicopters will be tested, as well as a new engine-back up system.

Airbus Helicopters stated, that testing will continue in 2022 in order to evaluate new ergonomic design ideas of intuitive pilot flight controls that are intended to reduce pilot workload.

"The Flightlab is an Airbus-wide initiative, which reflects the company’s approach to innovation focused on delivering value to customers.  Airbus already has several well-known Flightlabs such as the A340 MSN1, used to assess the feasibility of introducing laminar flow wing technology on a large airliner, and the A350 Airspace Explorer used to evaluate connected cabin technologies inflight," Airbus concluded.

Source © airbus.com

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