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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Eurocopter Tests Hybrid Helicopter

Eurocopter has successfully tested an AS350 single-engine hybrid helicopter, which combines a turbo shaft internal combustion engine with an electric motor, marking a milestone in innovation that opens the way for enhancing rotary-wing safety, the manufacturer announced Tuesday in Marignane, France.

Eurocopter is using a supplemental engine system to increase maneuverability of a single-engine helicopter during an autorotation landing, which is performed by helicopters in the event of a main engine failure.

If an engine fails, the electric motor provides power to the rotor, allowing a pilot to control the helicopter very easily during the descent to a safety touchdown. Eurocopter now expects to bring this concept to maturity and evaluate its implementation on production series aircraft.

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