Schlagwort-Archive: aviation

FAA approves unleaded fuel for piston fleet

The FAA signed on September 1 supplemental type certificates that allow General Aviation Modifications Inc.’s 100-octane unleaded fuel (G100UL) to be used in every general aviation spark-ignition engine and every airframe powered by those engines. The move was hailed by the industry as a major step in the transition to an unleaded GA future. The FAA’s approval of the use of G100UL fuel in all piston aircraft satisfies a longstanding goal of finding a solution that can be used for the entire GA piston fleet.

“I’m proud of GAMI, the industry team, and the FAA for persevering over the long term and getting a fuel that the FAA has recognized as a viable alternative to low lead,” AOPA President Mark Baker said. “It’s vital that we find solutions to what has been plaguing general aviation since the seventies. It’s certainly the biggest issue I have dealt with in my time at AOPA. This is a big deal,” Baker added, “but there is a lot of work yet to be done.”

In 2021 the FAA approved STCs for GAMI covering a smaller number of Cessna 172 engines and airframes, and then expanded the approved model lists (AML) to include essentially all lower-compression engine and airframe combinations. Though that was seen as an encouraging step forward in the yearslong path to supply unleaded aviation fuel to the piston aircraft fleet, the STCs did not include aircraft needing the higher-octane fuel that accounts for 60 to 70 per cent of avgas consumption. This latest announcement by the FAA addresses the needs of those higher-compression engines.

GAMI cofounder George Braly said, “This is a big day for the industry. It means that for a lot of our general aviation communities, and especially for a high fraction on the West Coast, relief is on the way. And it means that our industry will be able to go into the future and prosper, and provide the essential infrastructure for this country for everything from Angel Flights to critical training of our future airline pilots.” Braly thanked AOPA and the GA community for their support through this long process. “Without it we couldn’t have gotten this done,” he said. Braly has said that Ann Arbor, Michigan-based fuel supplier Avfuel is standing by to manage the logistics and distribution of G100UL, and said he is open to partnerships. “Our arrangement is that any qualified refiner or blender of existing aviation fuels will be eligible to produce and sell it subject to the quality assurance requirements that the FAA has approved,” he said.

When will G100UL reach airports and aircraft tanks?
The timing for when G100UL will reach airports is still uncertain. “It’s going to take a while to manage the infrastructure” including manufacturing and distribution, Braly said. The supply chain “is still a very wounded infrastructure and that’s not going to make the process any easier, but we have a handle on how to do this, and with the support of the major players I think we can do that. It’s going to be limited, to begin with, but it can be ramped up rapidly,” he said. Baker said it’s important to get any fuels approved for use in the California market as soon as practical, in light of the fact that some municipalities have prematurely banned the sale of leaded avgas and threatened a safe and smart transition to unleaded fuel. “It is a politically charged issue there, and this will help keep our airports open with fuel that works with all aircraft.” AOPA will also purchase a number of unleaded fuels to use in its fleet of piston aircraft used for GA travel and flight training, showing members it has full confidence in FAA approval pathways and processes.

What will G100UL cost?
While the cost of the fuel has not been determined, Braly said the small-batch production process that will initially earmark the arrival of G100UL at airports means that the fuel will cost slightly more than leaded avgas. “Small volume batches cost money,” he said. “Until we can get [production] revved up that we’re making millions of gallons at a time, there will be an incremental [additional] cost,” he said. “It’s not going to be unreasonable,” he said. “Pilots in America will not be paying what they’re paying for avgas in Europe today.” And while they may pay a little more at the pump, owners can expect to see engines that operate more efficiently. “I think the days of cleaning spark plugs every 50 hours are going to be behind us for good,” Braly said.

Swift Fuels Inc., an Indiana-based company, has received FAA approval for its 94-octane unleaded fuel and has expanded its distribution, particularly to the West Coast. Swift Fuels’ 94-octane fuel meets some, but not all, of the demand of aircraft with low-compression engines. The company is developing a 100R unleaded fuel with more than 10 per cent renewable content. In addition, two fuel candidates are currently in the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative testing process. AOPA continues to encourage all fuel manufacturers to follow through with their own formulations, Baker said. “We’d like to see several fuels available that all work together and blend together. Competition is always a good thing for the markets.” Source: ‘AOPA‘.

New Air Sports Live Tracking App

Two Norwegian air sports pilots have filled a gap in the market by developing an app which helps new pilots to create and practice their own Air Navigation Race (ANR) routes whilst also helping to bring their sport to a wider audience by helping events organisers and offering live streaming to broadcasters.

The new app, called Air Sports Live Tracking, is a user-friendly system which is designed to help less experienced pilots to create their own detailed navigation routes on their smartphones at a very minimal cost. They can also see others’ flights in different locations around the world, as well as follow live competitions and results. The app was also developed to be media-friendly and can link with media production to show live streaming of pilots’ races and thus promote competitive air sports. It can be used in conjunction with Flight Contest, making it easy for organisers and providing an exciting overview for audiences watching from around the world.

It all started with a simple idea
The two developers, who presented their system at the General Aviation Commission Plenary last year, explained that they wanted to create a cheap tracking application that would help them, as pilots, to develop their skills. Financial Consultant Espen Grønstad first dreamed up the project around four years ago, with the simple aim of showing live planes on a map on his smartphone. Joining forces with fellow pilot, Frank Olaf Sem-Jacobsen, maritime surveillance professional with experience in satellites, gave the project wings. The original idea expanded as the pair identified needs and found solutions. The beta 1.0 version was up and running after nine months’ intense work in the pair’s spare time and with the generous support of app developer CreoIT.com. The app is now helping beginners to practice and improve as well as being used in competition for more advanced pilots when preparing for races in a new location.

Helping new pilots access the sport
The app, which is downloadable from app stores, brings together features onto a smartphone that would normally be used on several different devices, which can expensive. Using Google Earth maps, pilots can design their own ANR or precision flying routes, adding obstacles and gate timings to help them beat their own times and also compare themselves to others using these routes. The drag-and-drop functionality makes it very simple to use, and therefore attractive to those who are less experienced in navigation. Pilots can use a real-life map, decide their speed and provisional route and add minute marks and turning points, whether participating in a corridor race, position race, or rally. This means they can arrive at the airfield well prepared and will have less need to rely on others for planning. Another useful feature is that start times are adaptive, ie. commencing at ‘time zero’ meaning that the times for each gate will automatically update once the pilot has started the route.

Helping event organisers
Although the system was designed to comply with FAI rules for the tasks, one obvious challenge for the team was that for larger competitions, smartphones are not permitted during the actual flights. This could easily be overcome by providing pilots with a basic smartphone containing only this app because no further hardware is required. The slight delay from using mobile phone technology is minimal but can be overcome by opting for an artificial delay for races. The app can integrate with the widely-used ‘Flight Contest’ as an add-on, which helps organisers with registration and pilots to manage their crew. Events can also be organised on a small/local scale quite easily, with no logger or extra software required. Organisers can create a competition on the website, with the track, gates, prohibited areas, penalty areas and information boxes. The system generates a flight order automatically, including maps and images. The pilot simply needs to download the app, print the flight order, and take off.

Media-friendly live stream
On this shared platform, users can also view live scoring and follow the other pilots, something that has been used with success by the NRK, the Norwegian National Television Company, who used pilots’ live-stream video feed in the 2020 Norwegian Championship in Precision Flying, hosted by the Norwegian Air Sports Federation (NLF) to transmit live pilot tracking to viewers. This was the first time that the Norwegian television company had followed the full length of an air sports competition, and unsurprisingly, Grønstad and Sem-Jacobsen are excited about the possibility of bringing their beloved sport to a wider audience, commenting: “The sport has to develop to get new people involved.” Inspired by other televised sporting competitions such as skiing, they realise that TV has changed the sport, with media needs to change the way contests are run and shown to a live and television audience. With the app’s live stream, the timing gates can be shown with the results panel displaying whether the current pilot is ahead or behind the leader. This makes for a more exciting televised race which is great news for broadcasters. The ‘danger zones’ in a rally can also be viewed live, including the penalties.

Creative possibilities
Designed as a modular system, Air Sports Live Tracking can work alongside other systems allowing event organisers and broadcasters to be creative with the way the app is used. The app integrates with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 which allows pilots to fly together ‘live’ from across the globe. Grønstad remarks that this is particularly useful in Norway during the winter when real flight conditions are limited! Another interesting concept could be virtual global competitions, either alongside live events or even as a stand-alone idea. Source: ‘FAI‘.

Partnership “Netjets + Lilium”

Found on the website of Netjets: At NetJets, we know that sustainability is not a trend for private aviation, but it’s future. In continued support of our sustainability goals, we are proud to announce our partnership with Lilium®, a Munich-based manufacturer of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) jets. In this partnership, NetJets has the right to purchase up to 150 Lilium jets for use in our shared ownership program and will provide operations support for Lilium’s upcoming Florida hub. Like NetJets, FlightSafety International is a Berkshire Hathaway company and will also partner to provide Crew training products and services that will support Lilium operations.

A forward-thinking partnership
As the eVTOL market grows, regional air mobility and private aviation sustainability are growing in tandem—a true reflection of our industry’s future. NetJets retains an industry-leading position by recognizing and investing in companies such as Lilium, which know the future of air travel must be sustainable to become commonplace. That is why our partnership includes operations support for Lilium in Florida because decisions at NetJets—the owner and operator of the world’s largest, most diverse private fleet—have a ripple effect, and our adoption speaks volumes.

Zero-emission travel to nearby destinations
Fly to a nearby getaway, visit a relative a few cities over, or make the most of your next day trip. Travelling on a Lilium jet means considerably less carbon impact than taking a gas-fueled car to the same destination, thanks to 100% electric power. And with eVTOL technology, helipad infrastructure becomes available, expanding access to departure and takeoff locations. Travel to your NetJets aircraft with ease, depart from and arrive in more convenient fixed-base operators (FBOs), and enjoy more time savings on short legs, all while reducing your environmental impact. Source: ‘Netjets’.

‘Spirit of Innovation’ takes to the skies for the first time

We are pleased to announce the completion of the first flight of our all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft. At 14:56 (BST) the plane took to the skies propelled by its powerful 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain with the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft. This is another step towards the plane’s world-record attempt and another milestone on the aviation industry’s journey towards decarbonisation.

Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce, said: “The first flight of the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is a great achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce. We are focused on producing the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea, and capture the economic opportunity of the transition to net zero. This is not only about breaking a world record; the advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Urban Air Mobility market and can help make ‘jet zero’ a reality.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The first flight of Rolls-Royce’s revolutionary Spirit of Innovation aircraft signals a huge step forward in the global transition to cleaner forms of flight. This achievement, and the records we hope will follow, shows the UK remains right at the forefront of aerospace innovation. “By backing projects like this one, the Government is helping to drive forward the boundary pushing technologies that will leverage investment and unlock the cleaner, greener aircraft required to end our contribution to climate change.”

The aircraft took off from the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down site, which is managed by QinetiQ and flew for approximately 15 minutes. The site has a long heritage of experimental flights and the first flight marks the beginning of an intense flight-testing phase in which we will be collecting valuable performance data on the aircraft’s electrical power and propulsion system. The ACCEL programme, short for ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight’ includes key partners YASA, the electric motor and controller manufacturer, and aviation start-up Electroflight. The ACCEL team have continued to innovate while adhering to the UK Government’s social distancing and other health guidelines.

Half of the project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK. In the run up to COP26, the ACCEL programme is further evidence of the UK’s position at the forefront of the zero-emission aircraft revolution.

“The first flight of the Spirit of Innovation demonstrates how innovative technology can provide solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges,” said Gary Elliott, CEO, Aerospace Technology Institute. “The ATI is funding projects like ACCEL to help UK develop new capabilities and secure a lead in the technologies that will decarbonise aviation. We congratulate everyone who has worked on the ACCEL project to make the first flight a reality and look forward to the world speed record attempt which will capture the imagination of the public in the year that the UK hosts COP26.”

Rolls-Royce is offering our customers a complete electric propulsion system for their platform, whether that is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) or commuter aircraft. We will be using the technology from the ACCEL project and applying it to products for these exciting new markets. The characteristics that ‘air-taxis’ require from batteries are very similar to what is being developed for the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ so that it can reach speeds of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH) – which we are targeting in our world record attempt. In addition, Rolls-Royce and airframer Tecnam are currently working with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia, to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market, which is planned to be ready for revenue service in 2026.

In June, we announced our pathway to net zero carbon emissions – a year on from joining the UN Race to Zero campaign – and the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is one way in which we are helping decarbonise the critical parts of the global economy in which we operate. We are committed to ensuring our new products will be compatible with net zero operation by 2030 and all our products will be compatible with net zero by 2050. Source: “Rolls Royce“.