Airbus Hails First 100% SAF-powered Helicopter Flight

 - June 23, 2022, 1:03 PM
In June 2022, Airbus Helicopters conducted the first-ever helicopter flight using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel. (Photo: Airbus Helicopters)

An Airbus H225 earlier this month performed the first-ever helicopter flight using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in both of its Safran Makila 2 engines. This flight, which follows an H225 flight with one engine burning neat SAF in November, is part of Airbus Helicopters’s test campaign aimed at understanding the impact of SAF use on the helicopter's systems.

Over the next two years, tests are expected to continue on other Airbus helicopter types with different fuel and engine architectures. The aim is to certify the use of 100 percent SAF in Airbus airplanes and rotorcraft by 2030, the company said.

“This flight with SAF powering the twin engines of the H225 is an important milestone for the helicopter industry,” said Airbus Helicopters executive v-p of engineering and chief technical officer Stefan Thome. “It marks a new stage in our journey to certify the use of 100 percent SAF in our helicopters, a fact that would mean a reduction of up to 90 percent in CO2 emissions.”

Use of 100 percent SAF is one of the pathways that Airbus is employing to reduce CO2 emissions from its helicopters by 50 percent by 2030. Currently, all Airbus aircraft are certified to fly with up to a 50 percent SAF blend, Airbus noted.