An Airbus H225 today performed the first helicopter flight using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at Airbus Helicopters’s headquarters in Marignane, France, with the unblended SAF burned in one of the helicopter's two Safran Makila 2 engines. This also marks the start of a flight campaign aiming to assess the impact of unblended SAF on the helicopter systems, with the goal of certifying use of SAF blends that exceed today’s 50 percent limit.
The flight campaign follows earlier unblended SAF bench tests performed by Safran Helicopter Engines at its Bordes plant. According to Airbus, the H225 test helicopter flew with an unblended SAF derived from used cooking oil provided by TotalEnergies, which offers a net 90 percent CO2 reduction compared to traditional Jet-A. Airbus Helicopters has launched a SAF user group dedicated to driving the use of biofuels in the rotary-wing community and also started using blended SAF for training and test flights at its French and German sites.
“While all Airbus helicopters are certified to fly with up to a 50 percent SAF blend, it is our company’s ambition to have its helicopters certified to fly with 100 percent SAF within the decade,” said Airbus Helicopters executive v-p for engineering and chief technical officer Stefan Thome. “Today’s flight is an important first step toward this goal.”