Leonardo, Pratt & Whitney achieve first 100% SAF flight with PT6C-67C-Powered AW139 helicopter

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

Accomplished at Leonardo’s facility in Cascina Costa di Samarate (Italy) on 21 November, the 75-minute flight and ground tests evaluated engine performance with multiple power variation and other systems.

Noteworthy, the test showed an outstanding response to the new fuel with no significant differences compared to the use of Jet A1 fuel. 

This goal marks a historic first for both Leonardo’s helicopters and the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engine family.

Earlier this year in-service AW139 intermediate twin 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%. 

The 100% SAF demonstration flight of the AW139 is a further testament to the outstanding design and performance of the aircraft and its systems, ranking as the most successful helicopter in its class with an unrivalled and growing impact.

With more than 1,100 AW139s in service worldwide and almost 4 million flight hours logged to date, this result shows another tangible benefit of the aircraft’s possibilities to the many operators carrying out missions in all weather and environmental conditions as they aim for more ambitious sustainability goals.  

Source: https://www.leonardo.com/en/press-release-detail/-/detail/07.12.23