During a test flight over the Toulouse region on October 28, 2021, an Airbus A319neo test aircraft powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines operated with 100 % SAF. Initial results from ground and flight tests are expected in 2022. More recently, an Airbus Helicopters H225 powered by a Safran Makila 2 engine flew with 100% SAF.
he flight, which took place at the company’s headquarters in Marignane, marks the start of a flight campaign to assess the impact of unblended SAF on the helicopter’s systems with a view to certifying the use of SAF blends above the current 50% limit.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel:
The unblended SAF used to fly the A319neo is supplied by Total Energies. It is made from hydrotreated fatty acid esters (HEFA), which are mainly composed of used cooking oils. HEFA is made from paraffinic hydrocarbons, without sulfur or aromatics. About 57 tons of SAF will be used for the entire test campaign. It is produced in Normandy, near Le Havre, France. The 100% SAF will also be used for compatibility and operability studies on Safran’s Arrano engine used on the Airbus Helicopters H160, scheduled to start in 2022.
This first flight of an A319 using 100% unblended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is part of a study launched by Airbus, Dassault Aviation, ONERA, the French Ministry of Transport and Safran. Each partner has its own mission:
The study – known as VOLCAN (Flight with New Alternative Fuels) contributes to the global decarbonization effort currently being led by all players in the aviation industry, which is being financed by the France Relance plan, the part of which dedicated to decarbonizing aviation is being implemented by the DGAC. The ultimate goal of the study is to promote large-scale deployment of SAF, as well as certification of 100% SAF use for the new generation of single-aisle commercial and business aircraft.
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