Eurocopter increases its research to develop even greener helicopters
May 29, 2008 By Corrie
May 29, 2008, Berlin, Germany - Thanks to the research already carried out over the last few decades – for example, the development of three successive generations of the Fenestron® tail rotor – Eurocopter now has the quietest range of helicopters in the world.
May 29, 2008, Berlin, Germany – Thanks to the research already carried out over the last few decades – for example,
the development of three successive generations of the Fenestron® tail rotor –
Eurocopter now has the quietest range of helicopters in the world. These efforts are
now being pursued and intensified, in order to comply with ever stricter and wider ranging
For several years, Eurocopter has been carrying out research as part of the Optimal and
Friendcopter programmes in cooperation with some 30 partners. The primary concern of this
research is to reduce noise pollution:
– by reducing aerodynamic noise through the development of active noise control
systems for main rotors
– by reducing engine noise through studies on engine integration, the shape, position and
design of tail pipes and air intake.
Significant efforts are also being devoted to developing quieter flight procedures. A major flight test campaign was performed with an EC130 in 2007 to test a wide array of situations –
including takeoffs, approaches and cruising. This work earned the team international
recognition in the form of the Cheeseman prize for ‘best helicopter-related technical
publication’, which was presented at last year’s European Rotorcraft Forum in Kazan, Russia
and at the American Helicopter Society Forum in Montreal, Canada. Similar tests are
currently being conducted using an EC135 and are being accompanied by the development
of a software tool called HELENA (HELicopter Environmental Noise Analysis) that predicts
noise footprints and will help to define procedures that can be adapted to every helicopter
Eurocopter is playing a major role in the European Clean Sky programme, which was
officially launched on 5 February 2008, and which is of interest to the entire aeronautical
industry. Clean Sky has defined six research platforms or ITDs (Integrated Technology
Demonstrators), including the Green Rotorcraft platform, which is specifically devoted to
helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft. Certain research activities also cross over: the Systems for
Green Operations ITD covers electrical power systems; the Eco-Design ITD concerns the
complete industrial cycle; and part of the Sustainable and Green Engines ITD focuses on the
design of turbine engines for helicopters.
All of this research work aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (through reductions in
fuel consumption), to reduce noise and to create a green product life cycle – from
manufacturing until the aircraft is recycled at the end of its service life. To ensure this green
life cycle, Eurocopter’s aim is to comply as fully and as quickly as possible with REACH, a
European Community regulation, which aims to restrict the use of harmful chemical or toxic
substances throughout the helicopter maintenance and production processes.
Following in the footsteps of the Optimal and Friendcopter programmes and, in addition to
the work on aircraft design, further research will focus on the operational use of helicopters.
This research will develop means for crews to optimise trajectories and favour quieter and
more energy-efficient flight conditions.
The world’s leading helicopter manufacturer is determined to develop the greenest possible
range of aircraft – as this broad range of research activities clearly shows.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a
world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs
approx. 14,000 people. In 2007, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1
helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover exceeding 4 billion
Euros, orders for 802 new helicopters, and a 53 percent market share in the civil and
parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30 percent of the total world
helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 17 subsidiaries on five
continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance
centres. More than 10,000 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,800
customers in 140 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range
in the world.