The EcoPulse Hybrid aircraft being developed by Daher, Safran and Airbus has successfully passed its Preliminary Design Review (PDR), a key milestone in the development of the aircraft.
The PDR is a key step towards validating the project’s feasibility as well as firming up the architecture towards a first flight scheduled for 2022.
The aircraft will feature a distributed propulsion configuration from Daher, Safran and Airbus which will include electric propulsion featuring six electric thrusters.
Safran is responsible for the hybrid-electric propulsion system and it will feature 50 kW ENGINeUS electric motors with integrated electronics and patented air cooling along with propellers supplied by DUC Hélices.
A turbogenerator will provide electrical power to the thrusters.
“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 Stephane 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,”
Airbus is now able to start planning the wind tunnel testing of the propeller/nacelle assembly during the first quarter of 2021.
Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President Engineering, Airbus said: “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,”
Final Assembly of the EcoPulse aircraft is expected to be complete by the end of 2021 with a first flight scheduled in 2022.
Pascal Laguerre, Daher’s Chief Technology Officer, added: “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 company’s active participation in numerous ambitious collaborative research projects aimed at decarbonizing air traffic.”