Where better to carry out aircraft experiments than in the sky? Tom Batchelor looks at the R&D made possible by Airbus Helicopters’ Flightlab.
Safer, quieter and cleaner skies: that is the mission of Airbus Helicopters’ research and innovation unit, Flightlab, a customisable flying laboratory used by the aerospace giant to put future aircraft technologies through their paces.
From autonomous flight and testing for single pilot operations, to noise reduction and trials involving lower-carbon fuels, the project evaluates emerging technologies across every part of the business, from commercial aircraft to military and space. Four main objectives lie at the heart of Flightlab. The first aims to reduce emissions and improve sustainability, including through lower noise pollution, while the second focuses on improving the piloting experience, through autonomous technologies that reduce workloads and improve performance and safety.