At the Paris Air Show, Daher, Airbus and Safran announced a partnership for the design and development of EcoPulse™, a distributed hybrid propulsion aircraft demonstrator with a scheduled first flight in 2022. The distributed hybrid propulsion system will be provided by Safran. Airbus will take responsibility for aerodynamic optimization of the distributed propulsion system, the installation of high energy density batteries, and use of those batteries to power the aircraft. Daher will utilize its TBM platform and be responsible for component and systems installation, flight testing, overall analysis, and regulatory construction.
The distributed hybrid propulsion system to be provided by Safran will include a turbogenerator (a combined turbine and power generator), an electric power management system and integrated electric thrusters (or e-Propellers) including electric motors and propellers. The electric thrusters will be integrated into the EcoPulseTM wing and will provide propulsion thrust, at the same time as delivering aerodynamic gains (reducing wing surface area and wingtip marginal vortices, and therefore drag).
The installation of a distributed propulsion system on a TBM aircraft is an exciting opportunity to boost its efficiency, diversify its missions, reduce its environmental footprint and cut its operating costs.
Airbus will take responsibility for the aerodynamic modeling of the demonstrator, both to support configuration choices and to enable the development of flight control laws. This will make it possible to calculate the benefits of distributed propulsion, and provide a baseline for the design of future distributed propulsion aircraft.
Jean-Brice Dumont, EVP Engineering at Airbus, indicated that “the distributed hybrid propulsion demonstrator is a very important step towards preparing the certification standards for a more electric aircraft. It also gives us the opportunity to improve our simulation models and consider their use on larger aircraft.”
Nicolas Orance, SVP Aerospace and Defense business unit at Daher, indicated that “reducing the environmental impact of aircraft is a concern for every part of the industry. So it is with enthusiasm and determination that we welcome the opportunity to be part of this unique partnership alongside Airbus and Safran… We are determined to make it a distinctive feature of the French aircraft industry, and are certain that all stakeholders will unite around it,”