Bell Textron Helicopter Uses SAF in Test Flight - Diversified Communications

Commercial, Sourcing Renewables  -  March 2, 2023

Bell Textron Helicopter Uses SAF in Test Flight

Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. company, announced today the Bell 505 completed its first flight fueled solely by 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

The company collaborated with Safran Helicopter Engines, manufacturer of the Arrius 2R engine on the Bell 505; GKN Aerospace, the fuel system component supplier; Neste, the SAF supplier; and Virent, Inc., a Marathon Petroleum Corp. subsidiary that manufactures renewable fuels and chemicals. Safran Helicopter Engines and GKN Aerospace conducted thorough testing on the engine and fuel system components.

Neste and Virent collaborated to blend, test, and deliver the SAF for this project as a 100% drop-in fuel. Virent manufactures an aromatics component made from renewable plant sugars, which was added to Neste’s neat SAF, eliminating the need to blend SAF with petroleum fuel. 

Bell’s own training fleet and demonstration aircraft currently use SAF in their operations. This flight supports Textron’s Achieve 2025 Sustainable Footprint goal for 20% reduction in GHG emissions across the enterprise.

“This flight is a monumental achievement for sustainability and decarbonization in the rotorcraft industry,” said Michael Thacker, executive vice president, Commercial Business, Bell in a statement. “Showcasing a single engine aircraft’s flight capabilities with 100% SAF signals Bell’s commitment to alternative fuel usage and builds on its sustainability practices in its flight operations.”


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