Aircraft and helicopter manufacturers are working on new generation systems destined for tomorrow’s more electric aircraft. At Colombes, close to Paris, a number of Labinal Power Systems (subsidiary of Safran) customers come here to test innovative electrical concepts that will perhaps one day be installed on their future aircraft. A test platform, referred to as the "Copper Bird", is available to them for that.
Erwan Monnier, the ‘‘Copper Bird’’ Team Manager, says that they come here to test innovative architectural concepts for Airbus Helicopters, Dassault Aviation business jets, or Alenia regional aircraft, because the platform is modular, meaning it allows testing of electrical systems for all types of aircraft and helicopters. Which ones precisely? Impossible to say, manufacturers come here to do research. They do not test equipment suited to future aircraft, but concepts.
If the ‘‘all electric’’ in commercial aviation is not yet for the immediate, the ‘‘more electric aircraft’’ has nevertheless become a priority. The challenge is primordial. By 2050, the aviation sector will need to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% (recommendation of the Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe – ACARE), and it will happen by more electrically operated components onboard. In 2013, air transportation in the world spewed out 700 million tons of CO2.