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.
Always looking for new ways to serve customers, Wilson Air Center founder Robert Wilson came up with the idea to modify fuel trucks so that they can display fuel delivered in pounds as well as gallons. Wilson flies his own turbine-powered airplanes and is familiar with the errors that can occur when converting gallons to pounds during fuel purchases.
A small percentage–about 20 percent–of the piston-powered fleet requires 100-octane fuel. Yet these aircraft burn about 70 percent of the total avgas volume, according to Allen Bretz, director of general aviation market at ConocoPhillips.
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.
New Orleans-based Entergy Services, which operates three Citation 650s, has become the first U.S. company whose flight department has been issued an International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) certificate. The certificate was presented to Oliver Townbridge, Entergy’s manager of aviation and travel, by the International Business Aviation Council.
Early last month ChevronTexaco’s general aviation division announced it would join with distributor Hiller Group to expand its marketing territory into the Midwest
Energy companies’ experience of the early-1990s Gulf War suggests that any sudden increase in oil prices owing to a new Iraq conflict might be brief, since the market has become much more responsive to demand. However, current oil supplies are plentiful, according to a petroleum industry senior executive.
UK-based Jet-Care International has been appointed by Pratt & Whitney Canada to provide engine-condition trend monitoring. Jet-Care analyzes the data to show customers how their engine should be performing and plots anomalies so that early warnings of problems can quickly be addressed.