Airbus Helicopters is conducting in-flight testing of new technologies onboard its platform-agnostic flying laboratory, Flightlab.

The platform plays a key role in testing and maturing technologies that have potential for use on the company’s existing helicopter range, as well as future fixed-wing aircraft or (e)VTOL platforms.

Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even said: “Investing in the future remains essential, even in times of crisis, especially when those innovations bring added value to our customers by targeting increased safety, reduced pilot workload, and reduced sound levels.

“Having a dedicated platform to test these new technologies brings the future of flight a step closer and is a clear reflection of our priorities at Airbus Helicopters.”

The company said that the platform will test technologies such as a new image-detection solution for low-altitude navigation, a dedicated Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS), and an engine back-up system this year.

New pilot flight controls’ ergonomic design will be tested next year. This technology may be used for helicopters and urban air mobility (UAM).

Last year, the demonstrator was used to evaluate the rotor strike alerting system (RSAS) and measure helicopter sound levels in urban areas.

Airbus’ other Flightlabs include the A340 MSN1 and the A350 Airspace Explorer.

In a separate development, Airbus reportedly revealed that it sent approximately 500 of its staff into quarantine after 21 workers at its Hamburg aircraft factory were tested positive for the new coronavirus variant.

The company is yet to determine the potential impact production at the site due to a ‘stay at home’ precautionary measure.