Airbus plans to fly its DisruptiveLab demonstration helicopter by year’s end. The helicopter is a flying laboratory designed to test technologies to improve aircraft performance and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 50 percent over conventional helicopters.
The architecture features a streamlined Fenestron tail rotor and an aerodynamic aluminum and composite fuselage designed to reduce drag and fuel consumption. Blades are integrated into the rotor in a way that allows for a more compact rotor head, also cutting drag while lowering the aircraft’s perceived noise level. DisruptiveLab will also eventually incorporate a fully parallel hybrid propulsion system that enables the battery to be recharged in flight.
“The DisruptiveLab goes another step further in Airbus Helicopters' ambitious strategy to reduce the environmental impact of its helicopters and to lead the way towards a sustainable aerospace industry," said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters.
DisruptiveLab is being partially financed by the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) in the frame of the French Stimulus plan, which is part of the European Plan, Next Generation EU, and the France 2030 plan. The aircraft will join Airbus’s FlightLab, a modified H130 helicopter dedicated to researching and developing technologies related to enhanced autonomy and safety.