The diesel engine research and development project that Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) is conducting with racing car engine specialist Teos Powertrain Engineering and engine manufacturer Austro Engine, under Europe’s Clean Sky joint technology initiative, has cleared significant milestones. The demonstration engine is now being tested on an iron bird, before the first flight planned for this year on a modified EC120.
At an open conference held yesterday at the Paris Air Show, Clean Sky officials discussed Clean Sky 2–the next step in the program. Primary objectives are to complete Europe’s 2000 Clean Sky joint technology initiative and move forward with the next phase.
The diesel engine demonstrator, which may replace turboshafts in light helicopters, is on track for flight tests on a Eurocopter EC120 in the second half of next year. It will feature a power-to-weight ratio between those of a general aviation diesel and a turboshaft. The engine is part of the Green Rotorcraft integrated technology demonstrator (ITD), itself part of Clean Sky, the European Union’s €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) joint technology initiative.
The diesel engine demonstrator aiming to replace turboshafts in light helicopters, which could cut fuel burn by about 30 percent, is said to be on track for installation and ground tests on a Eurocopter EC120 in the first quarter of 2014. Some components have been tested in laboratories and critical design reviews conducted last week were successful, according to project officer Sébastien Dubois.
Fourteen European aerospace companies, including Eurocopter and Dassault, have signed a letter supporting the proposed “Clean Sky 2” Joint Technology Initiative (JTI). The seven-year, €3.6 billion ($4.8 billion) program is a follow-on to the current Clean Sky JTI funded by the EU and the industry.