Bell partners with Safran to new develop VTOL propulsion

Bell has partnered with Safran to develop a hybrid electric power system for Bell’s own VTOL aircraft.

Bell has said very little since it initially announced its air-taxi concept on the conference circuit, inviting delegates at CES and Helitech to sit in a mock up of the FCX-001 air taxi, don a headset and experience a virtual-reality representation of a flight over New York.

Scott Drennan, Bell’s director of Innovation, while speaking at the Future of Transportation Conference in Cologne said: “Bell is at the forefront of on-demand mobility – ushering a new era of flight where the benefits of aviation are accessible to more people in more places.”

“This announcement is another proof point of our commitment to providing transportation of people and logistics in new, innovative and more-efficient ways.  Our work with Safran is an historical milestone for future transport solutions.”

Safran has been exploring the potential of hybrid-electric air propulsion this year. Safran helicopter engine’s new CEO, Franck Saudo announced back in May that urban mobility and hybrid power will be a focus for the company.

Stéphane Cueille, Safran senior executive vice president, R&T and Innovation said: “Thanks to the long and sustained technology-development strategy conducted within the Safran group, we can now offer Bell our hybrid electric power solutions for their next generation products that result in improved performance giving more value to our customers.”

 At the Future of Transportation conference in Cologne this week, Mr Drennan emphasised the importance of working with regulatory bodies to develop the aircraft in tandem with emerging regulatory frameworks.

This is what is happening with Workhorse Group’s VTOL. Workhorse has developed its own VTOL and is working alongside the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to help develop the new VTOL regulatory framework alongside its own SureFly VTOL aircraft.