Daher has outlined those of its research, development and production activities that will contribute to an increasingly sustainable aviation industry, with ceo Didier Kayat highlighting the benefits of family ownership and the company's 160 year history in developing solutions that respond to aviation's long-term climate goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“In taking bold steps to decarbonise aircraft, we need to evolve the way we build them, applying innovative materials and rethinking their industrialisation, while also decarbonising the entire process that leads to the aircraft manufacturers' assembly lines,” says Kayat.
Among its leading research and development projects is the EcoPulse distributed propulsion hybrid aircraft demonstrator, being developed by Daher, Safran and Airbus with the support of France's CORAC civil aviation research council. Its purpose is to develop the key architectural principles for future hybrid airplanes. This demonstrator utilises Daher's TBM 900 series turboprop aircraft as the baseline airframe with minimal systems equipment and with its standard propulsion system being augmented by six wing-mounted propellers, each of which are driven by 50 kW electric motors.
The EcoPulse demonstrator has been powered up at the Tarbes, France facility of Daher's aircraft division in preparation for the initiation of flight evaluations this year. In addition to Daher's role as the aircraft integrator for the EcoPulse, the company's responsibilities include flight/airworthiness testing and overall analysis coordination of the test results. Airbus is in charge of developing the high energy density 350 kW/350 kg main battery system for the EcoPulse, along with aerodynamic and acoustic integration of the distributed-propulsion system and development of a flight control computer. Safran supplies the electric motors and oversees the distributed hybrid-propulsion system's integration.
The company is also to create three new innovation centres, called Techcenters, that cover each of its core businesses: aircraft manufacturing, aerospace equipment and logistics.
The Aerostructures Techcenter in Nantes will accelerate Daher's innovation in composite structural components while reducing their technological maturity lead time. The Aircraft Techcenter at Tarbes is dedicated to the development of the company's aircraft manufacturing core business and includes materials laboratories, rapid prototyping workshops and facilities for mechanical engineering testing and systems integration, along with flight test preparation and operation.
“These innovation centres represent a bold decision by Daher, as we launched them while the aviation sector was still facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic,” adds Kayat. “They reflect our ambition and commitment to develop increasingly innovative and environmentally responsible solutions, which can further be introduced on Daher's aircraft roadmap.”