The Bluecopter demonstrator, the newest offering from Airbus Helicopters, was made public in Donauwörth, Germany on July 7. This modified EC135 is said to increase fuel efficiency and diminish noise, thereby decreasing its environmental footprint. Airbus engineers anticipate a 35 to 40% decrease in fuel consumption and a drop in noise to 10 dB below ICAO norms, compared to the former model.
The breakthrough single-engine operation (SEO) system improves fuel efficiency by deactivating one of the two engines when only one is needed. Switching to “eco-mode” offers optimum benefits when cruising below an altitude of 5,000 feet and flying at 10 knots below the cruising speed. In the future this attribute will be automatic.
The cutting-edge demonstrator targets noise reduction through myriad functions. The chopper is equipped with a revamped main rotor as well as a quieter Fenestron® that curtails blade tip drag. Using its Blue Edge technology, Airbus cut back sound transmission by integrating a 5-blade rotor system. Larger in diameter, the blades feature a reduced tip speed of 180 meters per second and designed to curb blade-vortex interaction, thus limiting noise.