The Airbus H225 helicopter became the first helicopter to fly with 100% sustainable aviation fuel. (Powered by one of the Airbus H225 Safran Makila 2 engines)
The flight, which took place at Airbus Marignane headquarters, was the first proof that SAF could be used in helicopter systems. Today, exceeding the 50% mixing limit, SAF's certification for helicopter systems is an important step forward.
Stefan Thome, Airbus Helicopters Executive Vice President, Engineering and Technical Director, said: “While all Airbus helicopters are certified to fly with a mixture of up to 50% SAF with kerosene, our goal is for helicopters to be certified to fly 100% SAF within ten years. "Today's flight is an important first step towards that goal."
Early stage unmixed SAF evaluation tests performed by Safran Helicopter Engines at the Bordes plant will provide an easier understanding of the technical challenges associated with using 100% SAF. The H225 test helicopter flew with unmixed SAF fuel, derived from used cooking oil supplied by TotalEnergies, which resulted in a net 90% CO2 reduction compared to regular jet fuel.
Thome said, “SAF is an important pillar of Airbus Helicopters' decarbonisation strategy, as it provides immediate CO2 reduction without a negative impact on the helicopter's performance. I would like to thank our partners Safran Helicopter Engines and TotalEnergies for the important collaborations that made today's flight a reality. “More collaboration between all industry stakeholders is essential if the challenges associated with the widespread implementation of SAF are to be overcome and for the aviation industry to make real progress in reducing CO2 emissions.”
To promote the use of biofuels, Airbus Helicopters established a SAF User Group of rotary wingers. The company also began using the SAF for training and test flights at French and German sites.