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Racer demonstrator: green light to start flight testing in 2023

Racer demonstrator: green light to start flight testing in 2023
The Racer demonstrator have green light to start the flight testing in 2023.
©Lorette Fabre / Airbus Helicopters.

The Racer POWER ON test took place at the Airbus Helicopters facility in Marignane, France, with the participation of all the teams involved in this key milestone. Through this test, the Racer has obtained the green light to begin flight testing this year 2023.

Developed by Airbus Helicopters in the frame of the Clean Sky 2 European research programme, the Racer demonstrator design is being developed as a high-speed helicopter aiming to achieve optimal speed, cost efficiency, sustainability and performance. With a double cruise speed front a conventional helicopter. The Racer will be hugely advantageous for critical missions where time is of the essence such as search and rescue (SAR) operations, medical evacuations (medevac) and emergency medical services (EMS). The aircraft also has scope to boost efficiency for inter-city urban air mobility.

The Racer will have three important characteristics compared to conventional helicopters:

  • Reduce emissions by 20% compared to any current medium-class helicopter
  • Reduce noise by 30% by not having a tail rotor
  • Reduce fuel consumption to 180 knots (330 km/h) thanks to its composite design

The next step for the Racer Team will be to conduct the ground tests, including taxiing tests and the initial hover tests. This will allow the Team to collate further data on the aircraft’s performance to ensure that its ready for the flight testing in 2023.

Tomasz Krysinski, Head of Research and Innovation at Airbus Helicopters: “Today’s POWER ON test is a very important day for the Racer demonstrator and for all the teams involved. The POWER ON is a significant technical milestone which validates the readiness of the aircraft’s core avionic systems, software integration compatibility, and electrical harnesses. But it is also a symbolic milestone, which illustrates progress and paves the way towards the 1st flight. I want to thank all our partners for their key contribution and ask them to keep the momentum so that we can power on towards this much anticipated flight.”

The RACER is a unique European concept, without equivalent in the world, being funded under the Horizon 2020 programme. It completely meets the Clean Sky 2 objectives to reduce CO2 emissions and noise. This is a highly innovative compound helicopter, with more than 90 patented technologies developed, involving 40 companies across 13 EU countries.

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