Airbus Helicopters revealed its new PioneerLab technology demonstrator at the German National Aviation Conference in Hamburg. The aircraft is based on the company’s twin-engine H145 model and will test rotorcraft technologies specifically dedicated to twin-engine helicopters.
Flight testing has already begun at the manufacturer’s site in Donauwörth, Germany, with a rotor strike alerting system being the first technology tested aboard the demonstrator. The next phase will be to test an automated takeoff and landing system. Other plans include:
- A demonstration of fuel reduction of up to 30 percent compared to a conventional H145, thanks to a hybrid electric propulsion system and aerodynamic improvements.
- Flight testing structural components made from bio-based and recycled materials, which aim to reduce the environmental footprint across the entire aircraft life-cycle. The company plans to make the new parts using processes that reduce material and energy consumption and improve recyclability.
- The integration of the latest digital technologies into the aircraft’s flight control system and associated sensors to increase autonomy and safety during critical flight phases such as takeoff and landing.
The PioneerLab program is partially co-funded by the BMWK, the Federal German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Actions, through its national research program LuFo.