Pratt & Whitney Canada and Leonardo Achieve First 100% SAF Flight with PT6C-67C-Powered AW139 Helicopter

Dec. 7, 2023
100% SAF flight marks a historical first for the PT6 engine series.

Pratt & Whitney Canada and Leonardo have made the first flight for an AW139 using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in both PT6C-67C engines. The 75-minute flight and ground tests, which took place at Leonardo's facility in Cascina Costa di Samarate, Italy, evaluated engine performance at multiple power variations and demonstrated no significant differences in the response to the new fuel compared with the use of Jet A1 fuel. Pratt & Whitney is an RTX business.

"Flights such as these are instrumental in our efforts to ensure 100% SAF compatibility for our engines," said Maria Della Posta, president, Pratt & Whitney Canada. "This is the first time a PT6 engine has been flown using 100% SAF, marking this as a significant milestone for the unrivaled engine series. Proving the engine's capability with drop-in SAF provides the foundation for the future of the PT6 in sustainable aviation and builds on its legacy of success."

Ensuring compatibility with 100% SAF is part of Pratt & Whitney's strategy of enabling more sustainable aviation through the pursuit of smarter technologies, cleaner fuels, and greener business practices, supporting the aviation industry's goal of achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

"The results of this first demonstration flight are a further testament to the outstanding design of the AW139, its high performance, and the excellent relationship we have with Pratt & Whitney Canada," said Gian Piero Cutillo, managing director, Leonardo Helicopters. "This flight demonstrates another tangible benefit of the most successful helicopter in its class and provides a positive way forward to the many operators carrying out missions in all weather conditions as they aim for more ambitious sustainability goals."