Eurocopter gives high priority to environmental protection, both during
the manufacture of its helicopters and throughout their service life.
“We have a considerable number of projects in progress at
the moment that aim to reduce emissions of CO2 and NOX
in anticipation of future environmental regulations. We are
doing everything we can to meet our self-imposed objectives
in this context, preferably in advance of the target date
of 2020. These projects will also enable us to reduce helicopter
operating costs. But another equally important
aspect is the need to improve the helicopter’s image in the
eyes of the general public, particularly with respect to noise
pollution,” relates Andreas Schwer, the manager in charge
of Eurocopter’s development activities in Germany.
The main focus of these efforts to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions lies on optimising rotor design and
reducing drag and aircraft weight. At the same time, the
engine manufacturers who work in partnership with the
Group are developing new products designed to combine
improved performance and low emission levels.
The methods adopted by Eurocopter to reduce noise
levels involve both tackling the problem at its source and
modifying the approach strategy: by calculating the
optimum trajectory, new, smart assistance systems
enable a pilot to land an aircraft in a manner that limits
noise levels to the strict minimum.
Adaptive rotor systems are being studied to attenuate the
noise generated by the blades. For several years now,
Eurocopter research engineers have been developing a
new type of blade equipped with servo-flaps that suppress
noise and reduce vibrations. “The servo-flaps are
actuated by means of piezoelectric materials which
induce an oscillating movement in the blades around their
longitudinal axis. This oscillation disperses the vortices
generated at the tips of the blades, which are the principal
cause of the beating sound produced in descending
flight, known as blade-vortex interaction noise,” explains
project leader Valentin Klöppel.
The steps taken to improve manufacturing processes
include the use of ecologically sound materials and lowemission
processes, optimising processes to reduce the
consumption of primary energy resources, and devising
ways of prolonging maintenance cycles in order to
reduce the consumption of materials throughout the
aircraft’s life cycle.