It is anticipated that the contribution of rotorcraft activities to the environmental impact of civil aviation will increase in the forthcoming future. Due to their versatility and robustness, helicopters are often operated in harsh environments with extreme ambient conditions and dusty air. These severe conditions affect not only the engine operation but also the performance of helicopter rotors. This impact is reflected in the fuel burn and pollutants emitted by the helicopter during a mission. The aim of this paper is to introduce an exhaustive methodology to quantify the influence of the environment in the mission fuel consumption and the associated emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). An Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and a Search and Rescue (SAR) mission were used as a case study to simulate the effects of extreme temperatures, high altitude and compressor degradation on a representative Twin-Engine Medium (TEM) weight helicopter, the Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawk. A simulation tool for helicopter mission performance analysis developed and validated at Cranfield University was employed. This software comprises different modules that enable the analysis of helicopter flight dynamics, powerplant performance and exhaust emissions over a user defined flight path profile. The results obtained show that the environmental effects on mission fuel and emissions are mainly driven by the modification of the engine performance for the particular missions simulated. Fluctuations as high as 12% and 40% in mission fuel and NOx emissions, respectively, were observed under the environmental conditions simulated in the present study.

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