Airbus Trials Entirely Sustainable Aviation Fuel-Powered Helicopter Flight
Airbus successfully performed its first-ever helicopter flight through 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel-powered engines
French manufacturer Airbus Helicopters has recently announced the successful flight of its twin-engined H225 on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). If you are curious, SAF is derived from biomass that includes oil, waste fat, and grease. This first-ever SAF-powered flight was part of a testing program that followed on through a flight in November 2021. Last year, H225 flew with only one turbine burning SAF, and the other engine had a regular turbine fuel.
But now a flight with both engines running on SAF is a major milestone for the aviation industry. This is a new step in the green aviation journey that certifies the use of 100 percent SAF, which would alone reduce up to 90 percent of carbon emissions.
In June 2021, the company unveiled the SAF User Group to gather all the stakeholders to work on various ways to improve the use of blended SAF kerosene. This initiative was to pave the way toward green aviation with 100 percent SAF flights. Now that they have achieved that, the aviation industry may certify the complete use of this fuel by 2030.
With the use of SAF, Airbus aims to decrease its emissions from helicopters by 50 percent by 2030. However, there’s nothing to worry about the flight performance as it would remain the same as with regular fuel.
For now, the tests will continue on other helicopters with various fuel types and engine architectures. Although SAF production recently accounts for just 0.1 percent of total aviation fuel production, this figure is likely to increase drastically in the next few years. Hence, it will increase the demand from future SAF usage mandates and operators.