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Safran Helicopter Engines celebrates 80th Anniversary

Safran Helicopter Engines marked its 80th birthday in September with celebrations taking place around the world. Teams of employees gathered together to celebrate the foundation of the original company, Turbomeca, in 1938.

Sporting activities, games and historic tributes were organized at all 16 company sites. Its Bordes (France) headquarters welcomed visits by a Tiger attack helicopter and an EC145 operated by the Sécurité Civile. During a speech to employees, CEO Franck Saudo emphasized that Turbomeca’s history should be a source of pride for every one of its employees “It’s a fascinating story involving entrepreneurship, technological skill, industrial excellence and service”, he commented. “Our history is also about responsibility. It’s about striving to match the achievements of those who were here before us. Those who, decade after decade, helped our firm to become the world’s No. 1 manufacturer of helicopter engines“

A key feature of the celebrations was their timing; they took place on the same day at every worldwide Safran Helicopter Engines site. They started in Singapore, Japan and Australia and followed the sun westward to Grand Prairie, Texas. Franck Saudo spoke to each of the international teams via video link. The anniversary ended at each location with a group picture and a slice of birthday cake.

Founded in September 1938 by Polish engineer Joseph Szydlowski, the original Turbomeca company opened for business in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris. In October that year its first aeronautical component, a centrifugal compressor for a Hispano-Suiza engine, took off aboard a Dewotine D520 fighter.

From the very beginning, the company’s fortunes were closely aligned to those of the helicopter. In 1951, Turbomeca powered the world’s first turbine helicopter, the SNCASO SO.1120 Ariel III, with an Arrius engine (an Artouste I turbine driven by a centrifugal compressor). In 1955, its Artouste II enabled the maiden flight of the SNCASE SE.3130 Alouette II; the first serially-produced turbine-engine helicopter in the world. Since then, the company has stayed at the forefront of rotorcraft innovation and names such as Turmo, Artouste, Astazou, Makila and Arriel are renowned throughout the industry.

With more than 100 million flight hours between them, the global Safran Helicopter Engines fleet adds to this 80-year legacy every day. Based in Bordes, Tarnos and Mantes-Buchelay in France, and at 13 sites around the world, its engines have been selected to power almost all new helicopter models, including the Airbus Helicopters H160 and Racer, Bell 505, AW189K, Indian LUH, Chinese AC352 and South-Korean LAH.


Franck Saudo

The collaboration we signed last June with Bell, to develop a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft concept, marked an historic milestone. We are taking a giant leap forward in the world of aeronautical hybrid electric propulsion systems.

Bell is committed to pioneering a new era of flight, where the benefits of aviation are accessible to more people traveling to more places. At Safran we share this vision of “inventing tomorrow’s sky”. And we agree that the future of aerospace propulsion lies in the efficient hybridization of thermal and electrical power sources and that, in the medium term, the gas turbine will remain at the heart of new VTOL fleets.

For several years, our innovation teams have engaged in research and development in this field and we plan to fly these technologies with Bell in the near future.

In July, a further milestone was passed with the first ground test of a distributed propulsion system. The run took place at a Safran Helicopter Engines test facility near Pau-Pyrenees Airport, in France. The test marked a major step forward in demonstrating our ability to offer hybrid propulsive solutions for tomorrow’s aircraft. We are on track to test a more powerful system in the near future.

Through enhancing their flight capabilities and expanding their mission profiles, hybrid propulsion systems should lead to the emergence of more new VTOL designs.

It is no coincidence that these milestones coincide with our 80th anniversary. What better demonstration could there be that, at Safran Helicopter Engines, the pioneering spirit remains alive and well!

Franck Saudo
CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines

Support news #1

What do the Pro Pilot magazine readers think about us?

The aviation magazine, Professional Pilot, has conducted its annual survey asking operators to rate helicopter and engine manufacturers on their products, support and services. How did Safran Helicopter Engines do in this years’ survey?

In November 2018, Professional Pilot magazine issued their survey for the 26th time. Up against two other engine OEMs, Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) and Rolls Royce, Safran Helicopter Engines has recorded our best overall mark to date: 8.25 out of 10. We are extremely proud of this result as it shows that our customers recognise and appreciate the efforts made to propose new ideas, solutions and continue to progress in terms of products and services.

Looking at the breakdown of the 7 categories, analyses show that our ratings in each category have progressed compared to the 2017 survey results. In addition to this, Safran Helicopter Engines is in first place in two categories: “Tech Manuals” (Technical Publications) and “Tech Reps” (Field Reps).

It is a major achievement for our Technical Publications teams. Many actions have been implemented to improve the “tech pubs” and your satisfaction in this domain. The main actions achieved so far are the launch of the web-IETP service, the dedicated webinars and the simplification of Service Bulletins. These excellent results will, for sure, boost the teams for the next part of the improvement plan!

With regards to our Field Reps, they have achieved this first place for three consecutive years with an overall score of 8.83 out of 10, the highest score in the whole survey. The Safran Helicopter Engines Field Reps have been rated number one 7 times in 9 years with compliments written in the customer statements published by the magazine. This international team relies on the support provided by the Service Engineers and all of the Technical Support teams in Tarnos (France), Grand Prairie (USA), Xerem (Brazil) and Singapore. Well done to all of the men and women who share your passion for your missions!

There are two areas where the gap widens between engine manufacturers: “cost of parts” and “spares availability”. These results show that competitiveness and on-time deliveries are more than ever factors that our customers expect to be first-rate to achieve their missions. Our teams are fully invested in tackling these topics and bringing long-term solutions to customers all around the world.

Thank you to the Pro Pilot readers who took part in this survey. As always, we greatly appreciate your feedback, it fuels our internal engine!

If you have any questions, comments, concerns or ideas you would like to share with us, feel free to contact your dedicated CSM or Field Rep!

Did you know?

New extended Support-By-the-Hour range

Safran Helicopter Engines has announced improvements to its SBH® (Support-By-the-Hour) service range. Created to provide a comprehensive “pay as you fly” service, SBH® solutions now cover the full scope of customer profiles: SBH®5Star for civil operators of up to five aircraft, SBH®Classic for fleets of six-plus aircraft and SBH®M for military air arms.

SBH® is Safran Helicopter Engines maintenance-by-the-hour service. It has been continuously updated and now covers 40% of its customer turbines’ flying hours. “Over the past year”, commented Frederic Bugeon, Safran Helicopter Engines VP Sales, Marketing and Customer Satisfaction, “100 customers subscribed to one of our SBH® contracts. With these offers, we are tailoring our service to each customer mission and fleet to maintain their levels of satisfaction as high as possible.”

SBH® contracts make engine operating costs predictable, eliminate cash peaks, allow flexibility for scheduled and unscheduled MRO coverage and offer a wide variety of technical expertise options. Amongst these, Health Monitoring reduces unscheduled events through recommending predictive maintenance actions, and Expert link brings direct video contact with a Safran expert.

Each SBH® brings added value. SBH®5Star offers simple turnkey packages, SBH®Classic allows full flexibility for on-demand coverage and SBH®M brings enhanced technical support with greater proximity.

Product Improvements

Major competitiveness boost to H125 and H130

Safran Helicopter Engines and Airbus roll out major competitiveness boost to H125 and H130 Safran Helicotper Engines has significantly reduced direct maintenance costs of its Arriel 2D engine, which equips both Airbus H125 and H130 helicopters. This competitiveness boost will benefit to customers who operates those single engines.

The two main improvements provided by Safran are the extension of 25 % the Time Between Overhaul (TBO) to 5,000 hours for new and in-service helicopters, and the new three year/ 2,000 hours warranty conditions – replacing the previous two year/1,000 hours warranty – for all H125 and H130 helicopters delivered in 2018.

“Safran continuously works to make its engines more robust and easy-to-use”, says Nicolas Billecocq, Safran Helicopter Engines’ vice president of the Light Helicopter Engines Program. “Extensive endurance tests conducted on the Arriel 2D and analysis of engine fleet data have enabled us to further validate the engine’s strength and simplicity. Thanks to these new improvements, the Arriel 2D will feature one of the lowest direct maintenance costs of its class.”

“Improving customer satisfaction and the competitiveness of our products is one of our top priorities at Airbus Helicopters. These engine durability enhancements are a clear illustration of our efforts in this direction,” said Axel Aloccio, Head of the Light Helicopter Programme at Airbus Helicopters. “The TBO and warranty extension are very concrete improvements for H125 and H130 operators around the world: those two types keep offering the best value for money.”

H125 and H130 customers will also benefit from the removal of the calendar limitation, which until now required an engine inspection at a repair centre every 15 years, regardless of the number of hours logged.

The exceptional robustness of the Arriel 2D eliminates the need for a calendar limit on modules 1, 2, 4 and 5, while for module 3, the engine’s condition can be restored during a periodic visit performed at a maintenance center.


We delivered the 500th Arriel 2E to Airbus Helicopters. The 2E entered service in 2014 and powers the H145.

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A Tweet about a recent Europe Africa Middle-East Symposium scored 187,000 views; a record for our 7,900-follower account.

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Our EngineLife® Customer Portal receives 400,000 connections per year.

Support news #2

Safran Helicopter Engines Improves Maintenance Library

Safran Helicopter Engines continues to improve its technical publications program, launched in 2017, with Web IETP now available from the Customer Portal. This ambitious program was requested by you, through our customer satisfaction survey and via comments passed on to Field Reps.

At the end of 2018, nine Web IETP online demos (webinars) are planned through the Safran Helicopter Engines Academy. Some 200 customers have already been trained on this advanced technical publications database. Other training sessions will be scheduled soon, so keep an eye on your mailbox!

Our Teams have also simplified Service Bulletins (SB):

  • Introducing a new header summarizing SB types. The reader can quickly note if the SB is related to a modification, and if it requires recurring action. From August 2018, all our SB have featured this new header.

  • Searching, with new dynamic SB/TU folders including filters for modules and main components. This new feature enables faster research of documents and available TU for a specific material. This feature is already available for Arrius 2B2, and will be rolled out to for other Arrius, Arriel and Makila models.

These two new features complete improvements already made to our technical publication service. You appear to like it as it was ranked #1 in both Professional Pilot and Vertical Magazine surveys in 2018. Our teams are proud of the results and appreciate your confidence. Look out for further improvements in 2019!

Contracts & Milestones

New EngineLife® Customer Portal

Safran Helicopter Engines has rolled out its new EngineLife® Customer Portal. Easy-to-use and featuring advanced functionality, EngineLife® Customer Portal provides Safran Helicopter Engines customers with a unique doorway to access all digital services.

Fully private and secured, the website has been designed by and for the customers. Safran has created a one-click access to all new digital services such as tracking the engine status (MRO Process Tracking), spares parts e-ordering (e-Spares), technical publications (Web IETP), Engine Health Monitoring, and remote video assistance (Expert link).

Available 24/7 on every smartphone, tablet and desktop device, EngineLife® Customer Portal welcomes enquiries from every level and for all types of use. A mechanic can consult an engine maintenance manual from his tablet, a purchasing manager can track the status of spare part orders from his smartphone, and a top level manager can display his personalized dashboards to get a 360 overview of his activity with Safran Helicopter Engines.

GSP for RDAF Arriel fleet

Safran Helicopter Engines has signed a Global Support Package (GSP) contract with Denmark’s Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organization (DALO), to support 11 Arriel 1D1-powered AS550C2 Fennec operated by the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF). Engine availability is now assured by Safran until the mid-2030s, when the fleet will be retired.

In July 2016, Safran signed a seven-year contract to support 14 RTM 322-powered EH101 Merlins, operated by the RDAF. Since then, 75 engines have been protected by a Safran GSP.

MRO contract with CHC Helicopters

Safran Helicopter Engines and CHC Helicopters have signed a four-year Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) support contract. It formalizes a standard exchange agreement supporting Arriel 1S, 2S1 and 2S2 engines for CHC’s S-76 fleet; and Arriel 2C powering the EC155 Dauphin.

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