Leonardo today yesterday that they had successfully flown an AW139 using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in both turbine engines.
The 75-minute flight and ground tests, which took place at Leonardo's facility in Cascina Costa di Samarate, Italy, evaluated engine performance of both Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67C engines at multiple power variations and demonstrated no significant differences in the response to the new fuel compared with the use of Jet-A1 fuel.
"The results of this first demonstration flight are a further testament to the outstanding design of the AW139, its high performance, and the excellent relationship we have with Pratt & Whitney Canada," said Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director, Leonardo Helicopters.
"This flight demonstrates another tangible benefit of the most successful helicopter in its class and provides a positive way forward to the many operators carrying out missions in all weather conditions as they aim for more ambitious sustainability goals."
Pratt & Whitney Canada president Maria Della Posta said the flights proved the PT6's ability to run 100% SAF.
"Flights such as these are instrumental in our efforts to ensure 100% SAF compatibility for our engines," he said. "This is the first time a PT6 engine has been flown using 100% SAF, marking this as a significant milestone for the unrivaled engine series.
"Proving the engine's capability with drop-in SAF provides the foundation for the future of the PT6 in sustainable aviation and builds on its legacy of success."
Earlier this year in-service AW139 helicopters carried out flights with SAF, blended with traditional jet fuel under the current certification standards, in Japan, Malaysia, and most recently UAE.
All main civil-certified types within the Leonardo’s helicopter range are currently certified for operations using SAF with a blended ratio of up to 50%.