Safran Helicopter Engines and Bell Textron are to collaborate on exploring the technical performance and economic impacts of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on the Arrius 2R-powered Bell 505. A single, dedicated Bell 505 aircraft will conduct flights solely with the use of blended SAF. Both Bell and Safran will evaluate engine and aircraft performance data to better assess the collateral benefits associated with the incorporation of SAF, a significant tool being used to reach industry carbon reduction objectives.
Safran Helicopter Engines executive vice president, programmes Bruno Bellanger says: “We strongly believe in SAF, as it contributes to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. As with all our helicopter engines, the Arrius 2R is already certified to operate on up to 50 per cent SAF, and we are fully ready to assist all Bell 505 operators worldwide in their transition from conventional fossil fuels.”
“Bell has championed the usage of SAF as one of our many critical efforts in achieving carbon emission reductions in our rotorcraft operations,” adds vice president of customer experience Doug May. “We look forward to working with Safran Helicopter Engines to gain a comprehensive understanding of SAF incorporation that will inform future aircraft technology and operations and ultimately support greener aviation practices.”
With all its engine range already certified to operate on up to 50 per cent SAF, Safran's objective is to certify in the coming years the use of 100 per cent SAF. In 2021, Safran conducted a ground test campaign for a Makila 2 running on 100 per cent SAF and followed this with successful flight tests.
Safran Helicopter Engines is to incorporate SAF at all its test benches. Since last June, the manufacturer has been using it at every site in France, initially at a level of 10 per cent of total aviation fuel usage, with a target of 50 per cent by 2025. It has also recently deployed SAF to its UK facility at Fareham.