25 September 2023
by Sarah Morgan

Airbus unveils PioneerLab for testing emissions technologies

Airbus Helicopters has unveiled the PioneerLab for testing technologies that reduce helicopter emissions, increase autonomy and integrate bio-based materials.

© Airbus

PioneerLab is a twin-engine technology demonstrator based on the H145 platform.

It complements Airbus' range of FlightLabs and was announced during the German National Aviation Conference in Hamburg.

It will be based in Germany at Airbus’ Donauwörth site and will be their platform to test technologies specifically dedicated to twin-engine helicopters.

Airbus said PioneerLab aims to demonstrate a fuel reduction of up to 30% compared to a conventional H145.

This will reportedly be achieved by a hybrid electric propulsion system and aerodynamic improvements.

The PioneerLab’s flight campaign has reportedly already begun with a rotor strike alerting system being the first techno-brick tested on board the demonstrator.

The next phase will be to test an automated take-off and landing system.

Aboard the demonstrator, Airbus Helicopters will also flight-test structural components made from bio-based and recycled materials, which aim to reduce the environmental footprint across the entire aircraft lifecycle.

The company intends to produce the new parts using processes that reduce material and energy consumption and improve recyclability.

Further research activities will reportedly include the integration of the latest digital technologies into the aircraft's flight control system and associated sensors to increase autonomy and safety during critical flight phases such as take-off and landing.