The HB-SIA solar-powered aircraft, the first prototype of the Solar Impulse project, is to be unveiled next week on June 26 at Dübendorf air base, near Zurich, Switzerland. Those who attend will discover some design changes since the last images were released, company CEO André Borschberg told AIN, adding that a first flight is planned for later this year.
Honeywell Aerospace is gearing up for biofuel tests on its APUs and engines this summer in a bid to stay ahead of the alternative fuel push. The company plans to run a business jet engine and an airliner APU fueled by a mix of jatropha and algae oils from sister company UOP, which has blended various fuels for more than 100 years.
Costa Rican regional airline NatureAir has entered talks with the government of the Central American republic for permission to sell biodiesel fuel to other companies. Despite the fact that its fleet of six de Havilland Canada Twin Otter turboprops runs on jet-A, serving 17 destinations in Costa Rica and Panama, NatureAir calls itself the world’s first carbon-neutral airline.
As concern for the environment gathers urgency, a number of manufacturers are studying the use of biofuels, which they consider a low-CO2 alternative to petroleum-based fuels.
Green Flight International president and CEO Douglas Rodante and chief pilot Carol Sugars on November 1 became the first flight crew to cross the U.S. in a jet powered predominantly by biofuel. The 11-hour, 13-minute flight–conducted in Green Flight’s L-29 single-engine jet–originated in Reno, Nev., and concluded in Leesburg, Fla.
A fuel-cell-powered electric airplane is the goal of Worcester, Mass.-based Advanced Technology Products and its nonprofit arm, the Foundation for Advancing Science and Technology Education. At Oshkosh, ATP announced its receipt of a $400,000 NASA grant to develop a fuel cell and exhibited a modified DynAero Lafayette III, built and donated by American Ghiles Aircraft of Deland, Fla. The airplane is being developed in three phases.
Pratt & Whitney Canada is leading a four-year, university-industry biofuel research project under a Canada-India science and technology agreement. The program will identify and test a number of “second generation” biofuels that do not compete with food resources, such as jatropha (succulent plants), algae and biobutanol. The program will also compare current jet fuels with first- and second-generation biofuels.
Pratt & Whitney Canada is leading a four-year, university-industry biofuel research project under a Canada-India science and technology agreement. P&WC and its partners will test and compare second-generation biofuels that do not compete with food resources, such as jatropha, algae and biobutanol.
Testifying before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on air-quality standards for lead, AOPA executive v-p of government affairs Andy Cebula warned that any immediate changes to current aviation fuel standards would have a “direct impact on the safety of flight and the very future of light aircraft in this country.”
Apopka, Fla.-based GreenFlight International continues to refine its “first generation” biofuel for jets and plans to conduct the first biofuel transcontinental flight using this blend within the next 60 days, company founder Douglas Rodante said. At press time, the company was running a turbine engine on a ground test stand with different blends of soy and animal-fat oils to find the cleanest-burning jet fuel that meets ASTM standards.