Safran completes hybrid ground tests

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Engine manufacturer Safran has just completed the first series of ground tests for its upcoming hybrid-electric helicopter engine.

The company conducted short ground tests and validated both the all-electric propulsion and the hybrid battery and turbo-generator propulsion for the engine. The ground tests took place at Pyrenees Airport in France,

Safran is specifically targeting the emerging VTOL and STOL aircraft markets with this engine. The manufacturer claims that the engine will enhance the flight capabilities and expand the ranges of what, until now, have been the capabilities of these personal vehicles.

These tests are the latest step in Safran’s hybrid-electric propulsion roadmap, which looks to bring hybrid aircraft engines to the market by 2025. Safran is on-track to achieve this goal.

Jean-Baptiste Jarin, Safran Helicopter Engines vice president, hybrid propulsion system programme, said: “This test marks a major step forward in demonstrating our ability to offer hybrid propulsive solutions for tomorrow’s aircraft. We are on track to meet our goal of testing a more-powerful system in the near future.”

These tests come just over a month after Safran and Bell announced their hybrid-electric-power development partnership.  As part of the collaboration, Safran will be supplying the engines for Bell’s upcoming air-taxi concept which will be flown on Uber’s on-demand ride-hailing service Elevate.

Stéphane Cueille, senior executive Vice President for R&T and Innovation at Safran said: “Following the recent announcement of our partnership with Bell concerning ‘mobility on demand’, this latest milestone clearly reflects Safran’s determination to invest in the development of hybrid electric propulsion systems, which will be the foundation of future propulsion solutions.”Safran completes hybrid ground tests