Leonardo, Pratt & Whitney complete 100% SAF flight with AW139 helicopter


AW139 Volo SAF

Leonardo and Pratt & Whitney Canada announced successful completion of the first flight for a AW139 intermediate twin helicopter, powered by PT6C-67C engines, using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

The 75-minute test flight, carried out at Leonardo’s facility in Italy, evaluated engine performance with multiple power variation and other systems.

The test showed positive response to the new fuel with no significant differences compared to the use of Jet A1 fuel.

Earlier this year, in-service AW139 helicopters carried out flights with SAF, blended with traditional jet fuel under the current certification standards, in Japan, Malaysia, and most recently UAE.

All main civil-certified types within the Leonardo’s helicopter product range are certified for operations using SAF with a blended ratio of up to 50%.

“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, 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,” said Gian Piero Cutillo, MD, Leonardo Helicopters.

“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,” said Maria Della Posta, president, Pratt & Whitney Canada.