Bertrand Piccard, initiator of the Solar Impulse program calling for a flight around the world with an aircraft powered exclusively by solar energy, showcased the state of his venture in a media conference at the Duebendorf airfield near Zurich, Switzerland, on November 6.
Synthetic fuel seems to be the new Holy Grail of air transport. The prospect of oil reserve depletion, the need to curb CO2 emissions and energy security concerns are all encouraging the industry to find a viable alternative to the current jet-A1 kerosene that can be used in current engines.
General Electric’s research arm and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (Darpa) have joined forces to develop an entirely bio-based jet fuel to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The main challenge is to make the conversion process efficient. The project envisions a conversion efficiency, by energy content, of crop oil to JP-8 surrogate of between 60 and 85 percent.
Green Flight International last month conducted the first flight of a jet using 100-percent biodiesel fuel. The experimental test flight was flown by an L-29, a military aircraft that is rated to fly on a variety of fuels, including heating oil, making it a “preferred platform” for testing biodiesel in jet engines.
With the LS600hL, Lexus has given the hybrid propulsion system popularized by the Toyota Prius some serious muscle and cloaked it in luxury robes. The “h” stands for the hybrid V8/electric motor powerplant that drives all four wheels and the “L” is for long wheelbase, which describes the expansive but not quite Maybachian rear passenger area.
Butler National’s Avcon Industries subsidiary has received an order to install its cargo-door modification on two Dassault Falcon 20s. The mod typically retails for $525,000, and the latest order will be fulfilled at Avcon’s modification center in Newton, Kan.
U.S. equipment manufacturer Parker Aerospace (Hall 5 E21) is here at Le Bourget promoting its “core” flight-control, hydraulics, fuel and engine systems products in a “streamlined” exhibition stand. Parker is showing fuel-tank inerting systems, for which it has been working with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for the past four or five years, said technology and innovation group vice president Mark Czaja.
In a nod to increasing concerns about the environmental impact of aircraft, CFM International has successfully tested one of its engines fueled by a mix of biofuel and normal Jet-A1 kerosene.The company said the target is for a 20-percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
The ultra-light Akoya, an original amphibian twin-seater, is to make its first flight by this summer. The Akoya can takeoff from land, water or even snow thanks to innovative features, Lisa Airplanes CEO Erick Herzberger explained to EBACE Convention News. Simultaneously, the Chambery, France-based company is working on a fuel-cell powered aircraft, the Hy-Bird.
As oil prices remain above the $60 per barrel mark, operators, oil companies and government regulators are showing ever more interest in alternative jet fuels. At a March 8 speech at the U.S.