PioneerLab: Twin-Engine Flying Laboratory Unveiled by Airbus 

The Airbus Helicopters PioneerLab helicopter demonstrator in the hangar.
Photo Credit: Airbus Helicopters

Reporting from Hamburg, at the German National Aviation Conference, Airbus Helicopters has unveiled the PioneerLab. 

The PioneerLab is a new twin-engine technology demonstrator based on the reliable and well-known H145 platform. 

This new ‘Flying Laboratory’ complements the Airbus range of FlightLabs, and edges on testing technologies to damp helicopter emissions, increase autonomy, and introduce bio-based materials. 

Tomasz Krysinski, Head of Research and Innovation Programmes at Airbus Helicopters said: “With PioneerLab, we continue our ambitious strategy to test and mature new technologies on board our helicopter demonstrators.” 

He added: “PioneerLab, which is based in Germany at our Donauwörth site, will be our platform to test technologies specifically dedicated to twin-engine helicopters.”

Massive Carbon Off-Set

The PioneerLab has a goal to show that a fuel reduction of up to 30% is possible on a stock H145. This is made possible by the hybrid electric propulsion system and aerodynamic improvements. 

Inside the demonstrator aircraft, Airbus is expected to flight test its structural components made from bio-based and recycled materials! This stems from the company’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint. 


Here we witness Airbus proving that environmental footprint can be reduced across the helicopter’s life cycle. 

Airbus continuously produces new parts using methods that will inevitably reduce material waste and energy consumption and improve ‘recyclability’.

Moreover, these flights also include the integration of the latest digital and high technology for the helicopter’s flight control system.

These systems are associated with sensors to increase awareness for pilots and minimize errors during critical flight phases such as take-off and landing. 

Efforts by the Government

In fact, this project is made possible by BMWK, the Federal German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Actions through its national research program LuFo.

BMWK partially co-founded PioneerLab. This shows that the German government is committed to innovation in aviation. 

Airbus Helicopters FlightLabs provides its current helicopter line test beds to prove and test technologies. These innovations are part of Airbus’s wider initiative to introduce technologies and strategies to improve its current and future product lines.  

Airbus Manufacturing Kick-Off

Airbus is wasting no time in promoting and bringing prototype machines to the market. In fact, PioneerLab’s campaign has already started at Airbus’s largest manufacturing site in Germany in Donauwörth.

A rotor strike alerting system, a system being the first techno-brick tested on board the PioneerLab demonstrator. Airbus plans to test its automated take-off and landing system on the H145. 

Bottom Line

The aviation community is glad to see Airbus is pioneering in green technologies and that the German government is supporting the production and innovation of such ‘renewable’ technologies. 

The efforts by Airbus can speahead the Euroepean aircraft manufacture to greater heights to innovation in green technology, a much needed discipline in the industry. 

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By Indy Udol 4 Min Read
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