EcoPulse aircraft makes first hybrid-electric flight

An Airbus EcoPulse aircraft in flight over mountains.
Photo Credit: Airbus

The EcoPulse hybrid-e, an electric propulsion aircraft demonstrator jointly developed in tandem between Airbus, Daher and Safran, has successfully flown its first flight in hybrid-electric mode. 

The demonstrator aircraft supports the industry’s aviation decarbonization roadmap. The test flight operated with a set of ePropellers, activated and run by a battery and a turbogenerator. 

The Demonstration Flight


EcoPulse took off from Tarbes Airport on November 29th at 10:32 hours CET for the test flight, which lasted approximately 100 minutes. 

During the historic flight, the crew started the electric propellers and verified the proper functioning of the demonstrator’s flight control computer and the high-voltage battery pack, which dissipates the energy to the electric propulsion and hybrid electric turbogenerator. 

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The EcoPulse’s first hybrid flight is a byproduct of many technological milestones. This includes numerous ground tests and 10 hours of flight tests of the aircraft with the electrical system inactive. 

Eric Dalbiès, Safran’s Executive Vice President Strategy and Chief Technology Officer stated: “We confirmed today that this disruptive propulsion system works in flight, which paves the way for more sustainable aviation.”

He added: “The lessons learned from upcoming flight tests will feed into our technology roadmap and strengthen our position as leader in future all-electric and hybrid-electric propulsive systems.”

Sabine Klauke, Chief Technical Officer at Airbus stated: “This is a major milestone for our industry and we’re proud to have powered the EcoPulse demonstrator’s first flight with our new battery systems. ” 

Sabine added: “High-energy density batteries will be necessary to reduce carbon emissions from aviation, whether for light aircraft, advanced air mobility, or large hybrid-electric aircraft.”

“Projects like EcoPulse are key to accelerating progress in electric and hybrid electric flight, and a cornerstone of our aim to decarbonize the aerospace industry as a whole.” 

Photo Credits: Airbus

Daher Comments


Pascal Laguerre, Chief Technology Officer at Daher added: “The flight campaign will give Daher invaluable data on the effectiveness of the onboard technologies, including distributed propulsion, high-voltage batteries, and hybrid-electric propulsion,”

He continued: “We’re working to converge practical and significant know-how on design, certification, and operation to shape our path toward more sustainable aircraft for the future.” 

The EcoPulse


The hybrid machine was originally revealed at the 2019 Paris Air Show, with the EcoPulse being one of the major collaborative projects in the European sustainable aviation field. 

As part of the decarbonization journey of the industry, the project is supported by CORAC (the French Civil Aviation Research Council), and co-funded by DGAC (the French Civil Aviation Authority) through France Relance (the French government’s economy recovery plan) and NextGeneration EU.

The EcoPulse aims to seek operational advantages of integrating hybrid-electric distributed propulsion, with a mission of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and noise levels. 

The aircraft is based on a Daher TBM aircraft platform, and with this ‘modification’ is equipped with six integrated electric thrusters or e-Propellers (supplied by Safran), distributed along the wings.

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Designed in tandem by Airbus, Daher and Safran, the hybrid-electric EcoPulse aircraft has successfully flown its first demonstration flight.
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