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EcoPulse is a distributed hybrid-propulsion demonstrator aircraft co-developed by Airbus, Daher and Safran. Designed to learn and mature the technological bricks of hybrid-electric propulsion systems for future aircraft, EcoPulse reached a milestone when the demonstrator took off on its first test flight.
EcoPulse took off for its inaugural test flight from the scenic Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport, nestled at the foot of the Pyrénées mountain range in southwest France. Two experimental Daher pilots were onboard the demonstrator, a modified Daher TBM 900 turboprop aircraft. While take off and landing used the traditional propulsion engine, the hybrid-propulsion system was activated at cruising altitude, where the pilots spent around 20 minutes running testing sequences on the battery while it was powering the flight.
All aspects of the different systems, from the way the aircraft responds to the way the power sources are used, were previously simulated digitally and tested by the pilots on the ground. This theoretical data can now be compared with the real flight test data to help the teams better refine the simulator and improve the performance of the different innovative technology components.
Airbus, Daher and Safran divided the responsibilities of developing the different EcoPulse technologies based on their complementary expertises. Airbus’ contributions to the demonstrator are the development of the high-energy-density battery that powers the propulsors; the aerodynamic and acoustic integration of the distributed-propulsion system; and the development of a flight control computer system.
Flight testing of the demonstrator will last until mid-2024 at the latest, and will include up to 30 test flights.
(Source and image: Airbus)
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