Bell 505 Flies on 100% Sustainable Fuel

Published on:
by KnowESG,

Textron Inc.

KnowESG_Bell 505
Image of the first-ever single engine helicopter to fly with 100% SAF.

Bell Textron Inc., a subsidiary of Textron Inc., reported that the Bell 505 helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

This accomplishment is significant as it makes the Bell 505 the first single engine helicopter to fly entirely on SAF. The achievement was made possible through a partnership between Bell, Safran Helicopter Engines, Neste, GKN Aerospace, and Virent Inc.

“This flight is a monumental achievement for sustainability and decarbonisation in the rotorcraft industry,” said Michael Thacker, executive vice president Commercial Business, Bell. “Showcasing a single engine aircraft’s flight capabilities with 100% SAF signals Bell’s commitment to alternative fuel usage and builds on its sustainability practices in its flight operations.”

Valentin Safir, executive vice-president, Programs, Safran Helicopter Engines, said: “SAF is one of the key pillars in our strategy to decarbonise the helicopter industry. Our engines are certified to operate on up to 50% SAF, and our objective is to certify in the coming years the use of 100% SAF, which can potentially result in carbon lifecycle emissions reductions of up to 80%.”

To achieve this milestone flight, Bell collaborated with several partners, including Safran Helicopter Engines, GKN Aerospace, Neste, and Virent, Inc. Safran Helicopter Engines and GKN Aerospace conducted extensive testing on the engine and fuel system components.

Neste, the SAF supplier, worked with Virent, Inc., a Marathon Petroleum Corp. subsidiary that produces renewable fuels and chemicals, to blend and test the 100% drop-in SAF used for the flight. Virent's aromatics component, made from renewable plant sugars, was added to Neste's neat SAF, which eliminated the need to blend SAF with petroleum fuel.

Bell's training fleet and demonstration aircraft already operate using SAF, and the team continues to explore opportunities for its implementation while monitoring SAF testing in a dedicated Bell 505 helicopter with Safran Helicopter Engines. This flight is in line with Textron's Achieve 2025 Sustainable Footprint goal, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% across the enterprise.

The Bell 505 is a state-of-the-art, five-seat aircraft that prioritises safety and efficiency. It features a fully integrated Garmin G1000H NXi avionics suite and a dual-channel FADEC Safran Arrius 2R engine.

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Source: Bell


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