While the name on the side of the refueling truck might say Air BP, BR Aviation or Shell, what’s inside it at any airport in Brazil all comes from the same source. All discussions of aviation fuel in the country must start with Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras), the national oil refiner of Brazil and the official supplier of Jet-A and avgas. Petrobras produces approximately 70 percent of the Jet-A used in the country and imports the remainder in its effort to supply the three major distributors.
Engineered Propulsion Systems (EPS) is preparing two recently purchased Cirrus SR22s as flying testbeds for its clean-sheet design Vision 350 diesel aero engine. One of the airplanes is located at EPS’s New Richmond, Wis. headquarters, while the other is being prepared for flight testing in a hangar at the Mojave airport in California. The engine is on display outside the Innovation Pavilion at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, mounted to an SR22 firewall.
A day after revealing its intention to obtain approval to operate its R44 and R22 piston engine helicopters on unleaded fuel (see article on page 10), Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. C23) shared its strategy for doing so. CEO Kurt Robinson and engineering vice president Pete Riedl spelled out the steps required and the technical issues involved.
As the cost of jet-A creeps ever upwards, the price last month at several Washington, D.C.-area airport FBOs hovered near $9 per gallon. Signature Flight Support, the lone provider at Reagan National Airport, posted a pump price of $9.18 a gallon, which was still less than the $9.24 per gallon it listed in early March 2011.
Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) achieved a milestone in the quest for adoption of biofuels when it made the first flight by a civil jet powered by 100-percent unblended biofuel. At the end of October, the NRC’s Dassault Falcon 20 made the historic flight over Ottawa, burning a new biofuel known as ReadiJet, derived from Brassica carinata, an inedible oilseed crop provided by feedstock producer Agrisoma Biosciences.
Adverse oil prices and cut-throat rivalry have left airlines scrambling to limit losses with the increasingly attractive option of jet-fuel hedging. Although a complex exercise, hedging essentially involves locking in a forward fixed price, allowing an increasing number of airlines to avoid surprises from unforeseen cost fluctuations. Today, jet-fuel hedgers trade contracts in Singapore, Rotterdam, the U.S. Gulf Coast or New York, as well as crude and heating oil or gas oil in London and New York, the two most liquid swaps and options markets.
The FAA issued an AD–Docket FAA-2012-0222– on September 6 for some versions of the Eurocopter AS350. The directive, which is effective from October 11 this year, was issued after an in-flight fire caused by the ignition of hydraulic fluid leaking from a damaged forward servo-control hydraulic hose. The AD is intended to prevent the forward servo-control hydraulic hoses from becoming damaged and leaking hydraulic fluid that could ignite in flight.
Skyscapes, a new basecoat/clearcoat exterior paint developed by Sherwin-Williams Aerospace, now has two complete coatings, including pretreatment, corrosion protective primer, topcoat and clearcoat. Both are certified with SAE International’s Aerospace Material Specification 3095 (AMS 3095). One system includes Alodine, 483987 primer and Skyscapes basecoat/clearcoat. The second system is Alodine, 483787 chrome hazard-free primer and Skyscapes basecoat/clearcoat.
Premier Solutions of America has introduced a new “eco-friendly” paint stripper that is “biodegradable, non-toxic, easy to use and easy to apply.”
The EFS 2500 paint and/or powder-coat remover has been engineered to replace hazardous methylene chloride-based paint strippers. MeCl is a known carcinogen and is a chemical classified as a hazardous air pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Business jet manufacturers are quietly progressing toward more-electric architectures, where electricity replaces hydraulic and pneumatic power in systems such as brakes, landing gear or even control-surface actuation. This avoids the use of environmentally unfriendly hydraulic fluids and ultimately should help reduce fuel burn.
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