The Bell 505 has become the first single-engine helicopter to fly with 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Bell collaborated with Safran Helicopter Engines, Neste, GKN Aerospace, and Virent to achieve this milestone. “Showcasing a single-engine aircraft’s flight capabilities with 100 percent SAF signals Bell’s commitment to alternative fuel usage and builds on its sustainability practices in its flight operations,” said Bell commercial business executive v-p Michael Thacker.
Safran Helicopter Engines' Arrius 2R powers the Bell 505. “Our engines are certified to operate on up to 50 percent SAF and our objective is to certify in the coming years the use of 100 percent SAF, which can potentially result in carbon lifecycle emissions reductions of up to 80 percent,” said Safran Helicopter Engines executive v-p of programs Valentin Safir.
GKN Aerospace supplied the fuel system components while Neste and Virent, a Marathon Petroleum subsidiary, collaborated to blend, test, and deliver the SAF as a 100 percent drop-in fuel. Virent manufactures aromatics component made from renewable plant sugars, which was added to Neste’s neat SAF, eliminating the need to blend SAF with petroleum fuel. Bell’s training fleet and demonstration aircraft currently use an SAF blend. The team continues to guide customer conversations around its implementation and monitors SAF testing in a dedicated Bell 505 with Safran Helicopter Engines.