EBACE Convention News

Daher: EcoPulse To Fly by Year End

 - May 23, 2022, 11:58 AM
Daher anticipates the first flight of the hybrid propulsion EcoPulse test bed to occur by the end of the year. The airframer is developing the TBM-based demonstrator in partnership with Safran and Airbus. (Image: Daher)

Daher (Booth 35, Static AD_18) expects the first flight of its hybrid-electric EcoPulse technology demonstrator to take place by the end of the year, the French company said this week at EBACE. Developed in partnership with Safran and Airbus and supported by France’s CORAC civil aviation research council, the test aircraft is based on the TBM 900-series airframe and features six wing-mounted 50-kW electric motors in addition to its standard Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engine. Its purpose is to develop the key architectural principles for future hybrid airplanes.

Here at EBACE, Daher CEO Didier Kayat described the testbed, which has been under development over the past three years, as part of the company’s product roadmap of the future. He noted that it has already been powered up at the airframer’s Tarbes, France factory with a successful thermal runaway test. “We want to see how to manage high voltage within an aircraft,” he said.

Daher is responsible for the flight and airworthiness testing as well as the overall analysis of the test results, while Safran supplied the electric motors and oversees the integration of the distributed hybrid propulsion system. Airbus is developing the high-energy-density 350-kg (772-pound) 350-kW main battery system, as well as the aerodynamic and acoustic integration of the distributed propulsion system.

Kayat also noted that Daher’s research and technology strategy now includes the establishment of three new innovation centers, each dedicated to one of the company’s core businesses. The aircraft techcenter at Tarbes, dubbed “Fly’in,” is dedicated to advancing the company’s aircraft manufacturing operations, while the aerostructures techcenter in Nantes “Shap’in” will focus on innovation in composite structures and reduction in technology lead time. “Log’in” based in Toulouse will concentrate on Daher’s logistics business.

According to Kayat, the centers, launched while the aviation industry emerges from the challenges of the pandemic, “reflect our ambition and commitment to developing increasingly innovative and environmentally responsible solutions that can further be introduced on Daher’s aircraft roadmap.”