The pre-design phase of Airbus Helicopters’ uniquely innovative new helicopter design is complete, paving the way for a highly efficient, sustainable, high-speed rotary-wing aircraft. The pre-design phase is the project’s first official milestone. This phase involved tests of a high-speed demonstrator that has been whizzing through wind tunnels as part of its contribution to the European Clean Sky-2 Low Impact, Fast & Efficient RotorCraft (LifeRCraft) research program.
The initial success of the LifeRCraft and its component Airbus Helicopter parts means that preliminary reviews of a prototype design will likely take place before the end of this year (2016). Flight-testing of the helicopter prototype is scheduled for 2019.
About the Clean Sky Initiative
Clean Sky, launched in 2008, is a hugely ambitious aeronautical research program that involves a joint technology initiative (JTI) between the European Commission and the aviation industry, including Airbus, the Airbus Group, and Airbus Helicopters. The JTI has its sights set on developing “breakthrough technologies” that will significantly increase the environmental performance of air transport in general, ultimately aiming at fuel-efficient aircraft with reduced emissions, and aircraft that are less noisy, in this way reducing their acoustic footprint.
The role of Airbus Helicopters in this undertaking is profound, and the company sees it as the opportunity to become “the benchmark of the rotorcraft industry.”
While the initiative is based in Europe, Airbus Helicopters, Inc. is the US affiliate of Airbus Helicopters, a subsidiary of Airbus Group, and the largest rotorcraft manufacturer in the world. This means that more Airbus Helicopter parts are made in the US than anywhere else in the world. The country is also an important hub for Airbus Helicopter maintenance.
About the Clean Sky 2 Demonstrator
According to the chief technical officer of Airbus Helicopters, Jean-Brice Dumont, the Clean Sky 2 Demonstrator is not just part of an exercise in making aircraft go faster, it is also about making speed smarter. To do this, the company is looking for the best trade-off between mission, cost-efficiency and sustainability.
Dumont says the company wants to break the cost barrier that is usually associated with increased range and speed, paving the way for “new mission sets” planned for 2030 and beyond. Ultimately, this will make it possible to provide critical rapid response emergency services more efficiently, offering crucial improvements for search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster relief and so on.
The Clean Sky 2 program manager, Ron van Manen, has highlighted the important benefits of the LifeRCraft Demonstrator Project to the public, stating that it can bring a “fundamentally new” combination of speed, range and payload to the aviation market. He has also said it will strengthen Europe’s “formidable competitive position in the vertical life aviation sector.”
Since Airbus Helicopters and its component Airbus Helicopter parts are found in at least 154 countries worldwide, it’s not just Europe that will benefit. The very fact that the Clean Sky 2 project is addressing existing technological gaps in everything from systems and structures to overall design demonstrates its universal value.
US-based Prime Industries specializes in the supply, repair and overhaul of Airbus Helicopter parts and can help with the needs of those doing Airbus Helicopter maintenance. Whether you’re looking for airframe components, retables, landing gear, ground support equipment, accessories, or any other equipment or compounds for Airbus Helicopter models currently in flight, contact Prime Industries for professional assistance.