First Engine Run of Regional Hybrid-Electric Flight Demonstrator

Raytheon Technologies has announced the successful first engine run of the company’s regional hybrid-electric flight demonstrator, marking a key milestone towards flight testing, targeted to begin in 2024.

The propulsion system’s initial run took place at Pratt & Whitney’s innovation facility in Longueuil, Quebec and performed as expected.

The system fully integrates a 1 MW electric motor developed by Collins Aerospace with a highly efficient Pratt & Whitney fuel-burning engine, specially adapted for hybrid-electric operation.

This powerplant technology will enable more efficient engine performance during the different phases of flight, such as take-off, climb and cruise, reducing fuel burn and CO2 emissions by up to 30% compared to today’s most advanced regional turboprop aircraft.

“Hybrid-electric propulsion technology offers significant potential to optimize efficiency across a range of different aircraft applications, helping our industry meet its ambitious goal for achieving net zero CO2 emissions,” said Jean Thomassin, executive director new products and services, Pratt & Whitney Canada.

“With our ground test programme now well underway, planned flight testing will enable us to accelerate the demonstration of this next generation sustainable propulsion technology as we continue to expand our collaboration within Canada’s aerospace ecosystem and beyond.”

Flight Test Centre of Excellence (Cert Center Canada – 3C), will modify and operate the De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 aircraft, serving as the platform for future flight demonstrations.

“We are honoured that Raytheon Technologies has chosen our Design Approval Organization to lead the flight test program for this historic demonstrator project,” said John Maris, 3C president and chief test pilot for the project.

“3C has assembled a trusted Quebec team that includes Chrono Aviation, WAAS Aerospace, and Elisen & associés to integrate the hybrid-electric powertrain, battery system, and high voltage electrical harness into 3C’s Dash 8 research aircraft. I am confident that 3C’s extensive flight test experience and historical relationship with Transport Canada will complement Raytheon Technologies’ outstanding team to safely demonstrate this important technological advance.”

Collins Aerospace Expands Support Agreement in Asia-Pacific

Meanwhile, Collins Aerospace is expanding its longstanding support agreement for China Southern’s fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft. The extended agreement builds on the existing DispatchSM flight hour support agreement for avionics onboard the airline’s aircraft.

Collins Aerospace’s Dispatch avionics service programme provides high availability and maximum reliability at a predictable cost. This contract extension is likely to reduce China Southern’s operational risk and most importantly, keep its fleet flying, a company statement said Jan 10.

“The extension demonstrates China Southern’s trust in Collins Aerospace and our global network of service centers to continue to provide our technical expertise,” said Lisa Steffen, vice president for Services and Support at Collins Aerospace.

“This builds a strong foundation for future collaboration on the Dispatch program and capability building with Collins Aerospace,” said Zeng Xiaoliang, the senior director for Material Management for China Southern.

Tailored to each airline’s needs, Dispatch delivers critical on-site spares, access to global asset pools, OEM-quality maintenance, and technical assistance for Collins avionics. – adj/mhi/mgm (Pix: Collins Aerospace)