Airbus Helicopters Demonstrates Low-Noise IFR Operations at Commercial Airport

By Staff Writer | May 14, 2015

Airbus Helicopters has used an H175 helicopter to fly low-noise IFR approaches to the heliport of Toulouse-Blagnac airport in southwestern France, culminating a seven-year project devoted to environmentally-friendly helicopter approach procedures.

The procedures were flown using accurate lateral and vertical guidance provided by EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service), the European Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), and in the presence of airplane traffic simultaneously approaching and departing to/from airport runways, which proved the suitability of these helicopter-specific procedures to achieve Simultaneous Non Interfering (SNI) aircraft and rotorcraft IFR operations at a medium-size commercial airport.


Photo by J.F. Bramard, courtesy of Airbus Helicopters


The low-noise helicopter-specific IFR approach procedures are based on the noise optimized flight paths successfully validated in 2013 by Airbus Helicopters with an H155 and having demonstrated noise footprint reductions of as much as 50 percent, which is one of the Clean Sky initiative’s high-level goals.

Detailed design and integration of the procedures in Toulouse airspace was achieved by GARDEN, a partner project with expertise in Air Traffic Management (ATM) that supports Airbus Helicopters in Clean Sky.

Airbus Helicopters performed this demonstration as part of Clean Sky’s Green Rotorcraft Integrated Technology Demonstrator program. Clean Sky is Europe’s most ambitious aeronautical research program, with the goal of developing breakthrough technologies that significantly increase the air transport sector’s environmental performance – resulting in quieter, more fuel efficient aircraft and rotorcraft.

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