Airbus Helicopters announced on June 1 that earlier this year it had passed an important milestone in the development of the high-speed, compound helicopter demonstrator currently being built as part of the Clean Sky 2 European research program. A mock-up of the breakthrough airframe design has just undergone wind tunnel testing in an Airbus facility. The tests proved the viability of the chosen design in terms of efficiency, sustainability and performance, paving the way for a preliminary design review. This is expected by the end of 2016. Meanwhile, the overall project has passed its first official milestone involving all core partners, by reaching the end of its pre-design phase.
Building upon the achievements of the company-funded and record-breaking X3 technology demonstrator, the Airbus Helicopters Clean Sky-demonstrator, says the company, will help refine the ‘compound’ aerodynamic configuration and bring it closer to an operational design. Meeting the future objectives includes increased speed and better cost efficiency, as well dramatic reductions of emissions and acoustic footprints. Flight testing of the prototype is expected to start in 2019.
Development of the Clean Sky 2-demonstrator relies on a wide European network of industrial partners who are bringing their technical skills and know-how to the project. While Airbus Helicopters facilities in France, Germany, Spain and Poland are involved in areas such as structural and mechanical design, other countries, such as Romania, Italy and the United Kingdom, also contribute their expertise, through a large number of design and manufacturing work packages.