The EcoPulse™ distributed propulsion hybrid aircraft demonstrator – which is being developed by Daher, Safran and Airbus with the support of France’s CORAC civil aviation research council – has successfully passed its Preliminary Design Review as a first key step toward validating the project’s feasibility and firming up the architecture for a first flight scheduled in 2022.
EcoPulse™, was unveiled at the 2019 Paris Air Show, and is scheduled for a first flight in 2022.
The project is now entering the assembly and integration phase at Daher, with systems supplied by Safran and Airbus.
Daher in carrying out its responsibilities for installing components and systems, flight testing, global analysis and airworthiness, Daher has adapted its demonstrator aircraft platform to ensure the integration and compatibility of a hybrid system with distributed propulsion at the necessary safety level.
Safran, which is responsible for EcoPulse’s distributed hybrid-electric propulsion system, has finalized the technical configuration of its six electric thrusters. They will be fitted with 50 kW ENGINeUS™ electric motors with integrated electronics and patented air cooling, as well as propellers supplied by DUC Hélices. The Safran ENGINeUS™ motor will be submitted for EASA certification – the same type as granted for a turboshaft engine.
Airbus currently involved in the demonstrator aircraft’s aerodynamic modeling – to schedule the start of wind tunnel testing for propeller/nacelle assembly during the first quarter of 2021.
In addition to these wind tunnel tests, Airbus also is planning to simulate the nacelle’s aerodynamic behavior.
“The EcoPulse demonstrator program, initiated by CORAC with the support of the French DGAC civil aviation agency, is an important step in our ambition to decarbonize the aeronautical industry. It will allow us to study how distributed hybrid propulsion could be integrated into the aircraft of tomorrow and significantly reduce their environmental impact,” added Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President Engineering, Airbus.