Airbus H225 flies with 100% SAF
Earlier this week, an Airbus H225 in Marignane performed the first ever helicopter flight with 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) powering one of its Safran Makila 2 engines.
Stefan Thome, executive vice president, Engineering and chief technical officer, Airbus Helicopters, said: “While all Airbus helicopters are certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of SAF mixed with kerosene, it is our ambition to have its helicopters certified to fly with 100% SAF within the decade.”
The test flight follows Safran Helicopter Engine’s tests with unblended SAF performed in September this year. These tests found up to 80% CO2 reductions with 100% unblended SAF.
The H225 test helicopter flew with unblended SAF derived from used cooking oil, provided by TotalEnergies. This aims to offer a net 90% CO2 reduction compared with regular jet fuel.
Thome said: “SAF is an important pillar of Airbus Helicopters’ decarbonisation strategy because it provides immediate CO2 reduction with no negative impact on the performance of the helicopter.”
Airbus said partnership amongst “the rotary-wing community [including] helicopter operators, engine manufacturers and oil companies” would help make “with implementing SAF widely and to make real progress in reducing the aviation industry’s CO2 emissions”.
Airbus Helicopters has launched a SAF User Group dedicated to the rotary-wing community. The company has also started using SAF for training and test flights at its French and German sites.