(14 Dec 2020)
The EcoPulse distributed propulsion hybrid aircraft
demonstrator, being developed by Daher, Safran and
Airbus with the support of Frances CORAC civil aviation research
council, has passed its Preliminary Design Review (PDR), the first key step toward validating the projects feasibility and
firming up the architecture for a first flight scheduled for 2022.
The PDR enabled the validation and
freezing of the demonstrators baseline configuration, as well as
confirming the hybrid distributed propulsion systems level of
safety and compatibility with the aircraft.
Daher will now begin the demonstrators
assembly phase at its Tarbes site in France, where the initial
components were designed and delivered. The start of final
assembly is planned for late 2021, with the first flight scheduled
to take place in 2022.
Pascal Laguerre, Dahers Chief
Technology Officer, said, With this demonstrator, Daher intends
to develop the key architectural principles for future hybrid
aircraft. The project reaffirms our commitment, as a general
aviation manufacturer with our Kodiak & TBM product lines, to more
efficient and eco-responsible aviation. This is reflected by our
companys active participation in numerous ambitious collaborative
research projects aimed at decarbonizing air traffic.
Safran, which is responsible for
EcoPulses distributed hybrid-electric propulsion system, has
finalized the technical configuration of its six electric
thrusters. They will be fitted with 50 kW ENGINeUS electric
motors with integrated electronics and patented air cooling, as
well as propellers supplied by DUC Hélices. The Safran ENGINeUS
motor will be submitted for EASA certification the same type as
granted for a turboshaft engine.
Also validated by Safran
are the installation interfaces for the propulsion systems other
components, along with the power management system, the turbogenerator and the high-voltage wiring that will supply
electrical power to the thrusters. The turbogenerator, which
performed its first test bench runs in 2018, will soon undergo
The next step for Safran will be its
delivery of an initial electric thruster to Airbus for wind tunnel
and endurance testing, in preparation for qualification of the
thrusters use on EcoPulse's first flight.
EcoPulse is an
ambitious project, and designing hybrid propulsion on this new
aircraft architecture is a key skill that Safran is proud to
master, said Stéphane Cueille, Senior Executive Vice President
and Chief Technology Officer, Research & Technology and Innovation
at Safran. Mobility needs are changing, and the Group is
responding to them by offering advanced and sustainable
technologies that have taken shape with this important milestone
Completion of the
EcoPulses PDR enables Airbus, currently
involved in the demonstrator aircrafts aerodynamic modeling, to
schedule the start of wind tunnel testing for propeller/nacelle
assembly during the first quarter of 2021. The electric engine,
supplied by Safran, will be tested as well. The results of these
tests will enable the identification of the propellers
performance characteristics when associated with an electric
engine, and validate the engine cooling process.
addition to these wind tunnel tests, Airbus is planning to
simulate the nacelles aerodynamic behavior.
The EcoPulse demonstrator program, initiated by
CORAC with the support of the French DGAC civil aviation agency,
is an important step in our ambition to decarbonize the
aeronautical industry. It will allow us to study how distributed
hybrid propulsion could be integrated into the aircraft of
tomorrow and significantly reduce their environmental impact,
said Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice
President Engineering, Airbus.
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