Airbus Helicopters has successfully completed the first flight test of the high-compression engine demonstrator aircraft on November 6, at Marignane Airport in France.
The development and flight test of this new technology demonstrator is part of the European Clean Sky’s Green Rotorcraft Integrated Technology Demonstrator (ITD) program, with support for these flight tests provided by the consortium of TEOS Powertrain Engineering and Austro Engine.
In addition to confirming improvements in eco-efficiency, Airbus Helicopters’ inflight evaluations in the upcoming months will focus on determining what power-to-weight ratios would make high-compression engines sustainable alternatives to the turbine powerplants.
Integrated into an H120 helicopter, the 4.6-liter, high-compression piston engine incorporates numerous technologies already applied on advanced self-ignition engines, and runs on the widely-available kerosene fuel used in aviation engines. Its V8 design has two sets of cylinders oriented at a 90° angle to each other, with a high-pressure (1,800bar) common-rail direct injection and one turbocharger per cylinder bank.
Airbus Helicopters’ high-compression piston engine activity began in 2011, and was followed by company bench tests and system simulations, including successful Iron Bird tests in February 2014.
Ground runs with the H120-equipped helicopter were performed during February and March of this year, leading to the first flight.
November 13, 2015