Universities Team up with Helicopter Maker
August 29, 2014
Three Polish universities—the Gdańsk University of Technology, the £ód¼ University of Technology, and the Kazimierz Pulaski University of Technology and Humanities in Radom—in June signed a cooperation agreement with French-based helicopter producer Airbus Helicopters on joint research and scientific programs.
The programs will be centered on marine technology. The Gdańsk University of Technology will focus on improving systems that support helicopters during flights over large bodies of water. This includes sonar systems and systems for securing helicopters to ships.
"I am happy that the university is beginning collaboration with a renowned company that manufactures quality products,” said Prof. Henryk Krawczyk, rector of the Gdańsk University of Technology, when signing the agreement. “This means a challenge for us as a university to create innovative solutions.”
In turn, the Kazimierz Pulaski University of Technology and Humanities in Radom will help upgrade some electrical helicopter components, including autopilot and actuator systems.
The £ód¼ University of Technology will continue its eight-year-long collaboration with Airbus Helicopters under the agreement. Scientists from that university have contributed to building the Eurocopter X3 hybrid helicopter, one of the world's fastest choppers.
"With the prototype helicopter, which achieved the highest speed in the world, we were responsible for designing the side drives and for calculations that were to designed to ensure proper operation of the engine," said Prof. Krzysztof Jó¼wik, director of the Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinery, a unit of the £ód¼ University of Technology. "The fact that we were effective and did what the engineering department of Airbus was unable to do meant that we were classified among trusted suppliers. This, combined with our speed and efficiency, encouraged Airbus Helicopters to consider collaborating with Polish universities on other projects as well.”
As part of the new team-up, researchers from the £ód¼ University of Technology will be performing aerodynamic calculations related to the helicopter fuselage and propulsion components.
During the agreement signing ceremony, Jean-Brice Dumont, executive vice-president for engineering at Airbus Helicopters, said he hoped that joint projects with the three Polish universities would result in innovative solutions that can be used in machines manufactured by the company.
Another outcome of the agreement is engineering internships in France and Germany for students from all three universities. Airbus Helicopters plans to establish a center of excellence for engineers, and the Polish universities will provide scientific support and expertise.
Airbus Helicopters, until recently known as Eurocopter, is an internationally known manufacturer of helicopters. The company says it has a 46-percent market share in terms of both civilian and military helicopters. It has more than 23,000 employees. Some 12,000 helicopters manufactured by AH are currently in use in 150 countries.