With support from France’s CORAC civil aviation research council, Daher, Safran, and Airbus are designing a lightweight distributed propulsion hybrid aircraft demonstrator, the EcoPulse™. Developed on a Daher light aircraft platform using Daher’s extensive experience in composites, the aircraft recently passed its Preliminary Design Review, confirming the hybrid distributed propulsion system’s safety and compatibility with the aircraft. The EcoPulse will serve to develop technologies that reduce the environmental footprint of future commercial aircraft.
As plans move forward for a first flight in 2022, the next step is the assembly and integration phase at Daher, with the distributed hybrid-electric propulsion system supplied by Safran. The Safran ENGINeUS™ motor must then pass EASA certification. Safran will also provide an electric thruster to Airbus for wind tunnel and endurance testing.
Airbus will continue to work on the demonstrator aircraft’s aerodynamic modeling and to prepare for the wind tunnel testing for propeller/nacelle assembly in early 2021.
“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,” said Pascal Laguerre, chief technology officer at Daher.
“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 reached today.”