From fuels to manufacturing

A new electric aircraft demonstrator, the EcoPulse, was announced at Paris.

Trade shows always generate announcements about new technologies and manufacturing. The emerging trend for electric aircraft continued with the presentation of the Eviation Alice, a new nine-seater commuter aircraft powered by hybridelectric engines that its developers claim will, “redefine regional transportation”.

Separately, a three-way collaboration was announced involving Airbus, Dahler and Safran to produce a distributed hybrid propulsion demonstrator called the EcoPulse based on a TBM900 turboprop, with a maiden flight scheduled in 2022.

This project will test a distributed hybrid propulsion system provided by Safran, with Airbus responsible for the aerodynamic optimisation of the distributed propulsion system and Dahler undertaking component and systems installation, flight testing and analysis.

Meanwhile, GKN Aerospace announced the commissioning of a second additive manufacturing cell at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory as part of the company’s R&D work on additive manufacturing.

GKN Aerospace said the facility will be the largest laser metal deposition with wire pilot production cell in the world and, “will target largescale aerostructure components with a focus on dramatic improvements in buy-to-fly and cost reductions over plate and forgings”.