An initial run of a regional hybrid-electric flight demonstrator with a propulsion system from Raytheon Technologies took place at Pratt & Whitney's innovation facility in Longueuil, Quebec and performed as expected. The system fully integrates a one MW electric motor developed by Collins Aerospace with a highly efficient Pratt & Whitney fuel-burning engine, specially adapted for hybrid-electric operation. This powerplant technology will enable more efficient engine performance during the different phases of flight, such as take off, climb and cruise, reducing fuel burn and CO2 emissions by up to 30 per cent compared to today's most advanced regional turboprop aircraft.
"Hybrid-electric propulsion technology offers significant potential to optimise efficiency across a range of different aircraft applications, helping our industry meet its ambitious goal for achieving net zero CO2 emissions," says P&WC executive director new products and services Jean Thomassin. "With our ground test programme now well underway, planned flight testing will enable us to accelerate the demonstration of this next generation sustainable propulsion technology as we continue to expand our collaboration within Canada's aerospace ecosystem and beyond."
Flight Test Centre of Excellence (Cert Center Canada - 3C), will modify and operate a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 aircraft, which will serve as the platform for future flight demonstrations.
"We are honoured that Raytheon Technologies has chosen our Design Approval Organisation to lead the flight test programme for this historic demonstrator project," says 3C president and chief test pilot for the project John Maris. "3C has assembled a trusted Quebec team that includes Chrono Aviation, WAAS Aerospace and Elisen & Associés to integrate the hybrid-electric powertrain, battery system, and high voltage electrical harness into 3C's Dash 8 research aircraft. I am confident that 3C's extensive flight test experience and historical relationship with Transport Canada will complement Raytheon Technologies' outstanding team to safely demonstrate this important technological advance."
Since Raytheon Technologies launched the demonstrator project via its Pratt & Whitney Canada and Collins Aerospace businesses in July 2021, supported by the Governments of Canada and Quebec, numerous organisations in Canada and around the world have joined the initiative.
H55, recently the subject of a minority investment by Raytheon Technologies' venture capital arm RTX Ventures, will supply battery systems. The development of battery component designs and associated electrical control systems will also be supported by the National Research Council of Canada and the Innovative Vehicle Institute. Ricardo is also supporting the project with component design, system integration and testing. De Havilland Canada is supporting integration of the propulsion system on the experimental aircraft.
Raytheon Technologies is leading the development of hybrid-electric propulsion technologies across multiple demonstrator programmes, including STEP-Tech and SWITCH, spanning a wide range of potential future aircraft applications. Alongside continually advancing the efficiency of aircraft propulsion systems, the company is also developing technologies to support greater use of cleaner, alternative fuels, including SAF and hydrogen, each of which will benefit from the increased efficiencies enabled by hybrid-electric propulsion technology.