Leonardo and Pratt & Whitney Canada have announced the successful completion of the first flight for a PT6C-67C-powered AW139 using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The 75-minute sortie took place from Leonardo’s facility in Cascina Costa di Samarate on 21 November. During the sortie, flight and ground tests evaluated engine performance with multiple power variations. The companies said the test yielded an “outstanding response to the new fuel with no significant differences compared to the use of Jet A1 fuel”.
Commenting, Gian Piero Cutillo, Leonardo Helicopters MD, said, “With this latest result, we are demonstrating how we can support the rapid evolution of sustainability requirements in aviation as the industry aims at a greater use of SAF in operations. We did so with the world-class AW139, testifying that this technology allows more sustainable operations, keeping the same level of high performance [and] significantly contributing to lower CO2 emissions. We’re committed to joining forces with aviation partners and suppliers, authorities, energy leaders and rotorcraft service providers to incentivise the use of SAF to sustain carbon footprint reduction.”
“This first flight effectively demonstrates engine functionality and is an important part of our long-standing efforts to support the development of future specifications for 100% SAF, a core part of our sustainable propulsion strategy,” added Maria Della Posta, President of Pratt & Whitney Canada. “This is the first time a PT6 engine has flown using 100% SAF. This milestone builds on its unrivalled legacy of success and underlines how the engine family can contribute to a more sustainable future in aviation. Since entering the market 60 years ago, the PT6 engine family has clocked more than 500 million flight hours, 8.3 million of which were on PT6C turboshaft engines.”