An Airbus H225 has performed the first helicopter flight with both of its Safran’s Makila 2 engines run by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). 

The European aircraft manufacturer had previously flown a H225 in November 2021 with SAF powering only one of the Malika 2 engines. Both flights are part of an Airbus flight campaign aimed at understanding the impact of SAF use on the helicopter's systems.

Airbus said in an announcement that it will continue to carry out tests on other types of helicopters with different fuel and engine architectures with a view to certify the use of 100% SAF by 2030.

“This flight with SAF powering the twin engines of the H225 is an important milestone for the helicopter industry,” executive vice president, engineering and chief technical officer for Airbus Helicopters Stefan Thome said in a statement. 

Thome added: “It marks a new stage in our journey to certify the use of 100% SAF in our helicopters, a fact that would mean a reduction of up to 90% in CO2 emissions alone.”

Airbus Helicopters' use of SAF is one of the ways it plans to achieve its goal of reducing CO2 emissions from its helicopters to 50% by 2030. One of the main benefits of using SAF is that it minimizes an aircraft’s carbon footprint while maintaining the same flight performance, Airbus said.

In June 2021, Airbus Helicopters launched the SAF User Group with the intention of bringing all stakeholders together to work on ways to increase the use of blended SAF and to pave the way toward 100% SAF flights for future fleets. 

Other manufacturers are also testing the use of 100% SAF in other aircraft, with ATR announcing this week that it had conducted the first flight of a regional aircraft powered solely by SAF.

Airbus said that all of its commercial aircraft and helicopters are certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of SAF. The company’s goal is to achieve certification of 100% SAF by 2030 for Airbus commercial aircraft and helicopters.

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