At Airbus Flightlab, tomorrow’s technologies are put to the test in a real-world environment. Today, the Airbus Flightlab ecosystem offers access to flight test platforms across the entire scope of Airbus’ business lines, from commercial aircraft and helicopters to defence and space.

Mission

Launched in 2010, Airbus Flightlab uses flight testing as the principal means of achieving proof-of-concept for a variety of future technologies developed at Airbus. 

Its mission is:

  • To identify future technologies that require flight testing, particularly those for which modelling is not enough,
     
  • To offer a support function for design optimisation and flight clearance,
     
  • To provide access to flight test aircraft via regular flight testing slots.  

Focus areas

Airbus Flightlab focuses on testing the maturity and robustness of future technologies. Key areas of inquiry include:

  • Emission reduction: Technologies include methane emission monitoring, VTOL noise measurement, SAF and hydrogen emission performance, and fuel reduction.
     
  • Autonomy & safety: Technologies include pilot assistance, massive data capturing and capitalisation, systems health and usage monitoring, and dissimilar sensing.
     
  • Connectivity & service: Technologies include 4G/5G aircraft connectivity, smart monitoring based on wireless wearable sensors, display and sensor integration, and airborne laser communications. 
     
  • Fighting COVID-19: Technologies include in-flow sanitisation. 

Flight test platforms, which are Airbus test aircraft or helicopters, are modified and transformed to support the technology to be tested. A single flight test platform can be used to evaluate the performance of several different technologies.

Flightlab ecosystem

Commercial aircraft

Since 2010, this Flightlab has tested a variety of technologies, including BLADE’s wing laminar flow. Today’s key focus areas include exploring new pilot assistance technologies and measuring the emission performance of Sustainable Aviation Fuel and hydrogen programmes. Flight test platforms include A320, A330/A340, A350 and A380.

Defence and Space

This Flightlab will focus on testing connectivity technologies for future smart flying hospitals, methane emission monitoring systems and aerial seeding for afforestation. Flight test platforms include C295, A310 MRTT and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

Helicopters DisruptiveLab

Unveiled in 2022, DisruptiveLab is part of Airbus Helicopters' ambitious strategy to reduce the environmental impact of its helicopters. The demonstrator focuses on testing a new fuel-efficient aerodynamic architecture and a fully parallel hybrid propulsion system.

Helicopters

Launched in 2019, this Flightlab focuses on testing autonomous technologies for improved flight safety, evaluating hybrid-electric propulsion systems and measuring VTOL sound levels in urban environments.

 


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