Schlagwort-Archive: Flight

World Record Godwit Flight

Late yesterday (25th October 2022) a juvenile godwit, just five months old (tagged in Alaska), touched down in Ansons Bay in northeast Tasmania.

This godwit (number 234684) departed from Alaska on October 13, 2022, and certainly looks to have flown non-stop to Tasmania. This will not be the first one to make this flight as godwits are frequent visitors to Tasmania, but it’s the first time a tagged bird has flown between Alaska and Tasmania.

In the process, it flew a minimum of 13,560 km in eleven days and one hour. The previous long-distance record of 13,050 km set by the adult male 4BBRW in 2021 is blown out of the water by this young upstart. Connect with Nature! Source: ‚facebook‚. Image: ‚Lior Kislev on Bird Note‚.

Propellers are making a comeback in the pursuit of greener air travel

The propeller — a relic from the dawn of powered flight more than a century ago — is making a comeback as an emblem of aviation’s greener future. Rotors are proliferating on futuristic air taxis and plane prototypes powered by hydrogen and electricity. The old-school feature is also central to a radical new engine that could one day replace the turbofans on today’s jetliners as climate change pushes the industry to innovate its way out of fossil-fuel dependence. That design, developed by General Electric Co. and France’s Safran SA, could burn 20% to 30% less fuel with similar or less noise than their latest offering for single-aisle jets, executives say. They’re angling to put the engine, with its giant whirling propellers, on workhorse planes by the mid-2030s.

The invention push makes for some dizzyingly expensive and consequential wagers for some of the sector’s most prominent companies. Boeing Co., Airbus SE and engine makers such as Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc need to plough billions of dollars into producing more environmentally friendly planes that will fly well past the 2040s. But it’s not clear yet which technologies will provide the best path forward, or when airlines will be ready to embrace them. The financial toll of a misstep could linger for decades — or even wipe out a company — while engineering hurdles and regulatory scrutiny loom as potential roadblocks. “I wouldn’t want to be a president of Boeing or Airbus,” said Steve Udvar-Hazy, the pioneer of aircraft leasing who’s been one of both companies’ biggest buyers for decades. The challenges they face in trying to make the right call about what will replace today’s technology “are probably the most difficult they’ve faced in my career,” he told a conference on Sept. 7.

Futuristic Concept
The futuristic concept from GE and Safran’s partnership, CFM International, features scimitar-like blades that spin exposed outside the turbine. It eliminates the casing that is seen on turbofan engines that currently power most commercial aircraft. That so-called open-fan design means engineers can install much bigger blades, which improves fuel efficiency by accelerating more air through the fan section for thrust instead of through the fuel-burning centre. And unlike piston-driven propeller planes of yore, those huge blades are driven by a high-tech turbine made with advanced materials that CFM says can run on biofuels or hydrogen. While they unveiled the concept last year, executives of the partnership offered new details in interviews about how they’ve worked to overcome key technical hurdles that bedevilled earlier open-fan designs.

Using supercomputers housed in research labs at the US Department of Energy, GE Aerospace’s Vice President of Engineering Mohamed Ali says company engineers have unlocked how to resolve trade-offs between cruise speed, fuel efficiency and noise. The government machines allowed GE to model turbulence and airflow around the engine on an almost molecular level, revealing how to precisely sculpt blades to make them quieter, he said. Initial flight tests are planned for mid-decade before CFM and Airbus rig the engine to an A380 superjumbo jet for additional demonstration flights prior to 2030. If those trials are successful, analysts say CFM’s open-fan design will be a serious contender to power the aircraft that will eventually replace Boeing’s 737 Max and Airbus A320neo jetliners — the duopoly’s most important cash cows. “Up until now, each new engine family has been evolutionary,” said analyst Robert Spingarn of Melius Research. “These are revolutionary.” As Ali sees it, climate change leaves little choice but to pursue such dramatic reinvention. “Can we really afford to leave that fuel-burn advantage on the table?” he said.

Engineering Advances
Of course, propeller planes have never completely vanished from the market, even after the modern jet ushered in faster travel decades ago. Such aircraft have been a mainstay of short, regional hops, though never coming close to matching the sales and speed of the turbofan-powered jets that routinely fly hundreds of people across continents and oceans. But the massive, exposed propellers like those in CFM’s open-fan concept would be something of a different species — a throwback, in some ways, to the 1980s. Back then, GE and rival engine maker Pratt & Whitney each developed and flight-tested similar engines as a solution for airlines looking to blunt sky-high fuel costs with a jump in efficiency. Boeing even marketed a plane powered by twin open-fan engines. But the concepts never made it to production, as technical challenges abounded and oil prices plunged.

Now, though, the harsh reality of climate change is likely to make for a more enduring impetus for invention than fickle energy prices did last century. Engineering barriers, too, are falling. GE’s 1980s model had two sets of exposed blades that spun in opposite directions, making it heavy, and complex and raising reliability concerns. That is one of the problems GE’s Ali says has now been solved. The second set of blades was needed to reach the necessary cruise speed for commercial airliners. But using supercomputers and wind-tunnel tests, Ali says GE discovered that a single set of blades with stationary vanes behind them can yield the same result. Meanwhile, propellers figure prominently in other efforts to make air transport greener. Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace plan to flight-test 2024 a hybrid-electric propulsion system on a regional, propeller-driven aircraft. Funding is also gushing into startups developing new propulsion systems. Sustainable aviation garnered 23% of the $2.2 billion invested in futuristic air technologies during the first half of 2022, up from just 2% of funding a year earlier, according to McKinsey data. Battery-powered eVTOLs, which aim to whisk travellers over traffic-clogged streets, raked in the most funding.

Challenges to Adoption
While the auto industry decisively pivots to electric vehicles, Boeing and Airbus are taking more cautious steps to decarbonize, like replacing petroleum-derived kerosene with biofuels that can be burned by today’s jet engines. Hydrogen-powered airliners likely won’t be ready for decades, and in the meantime, going all-in on designs that rely on open-fan engines is risky — not least because conventional turbofans also have room for powerful improvements. “The modern turbofan is one of the most efficient power generators that people have ever created,” said Brian Yutko, vice president and chief engineer for sustainability and future mobility at Boeing. “If you take the duct away,” he said, referring to a jet engine’s protective covering, “you don’t absolve yourselves of integration challenges — you have different ones.”

That helps explain why Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney are sticking to a more conventional engine approach. Rolls-Royce, after assessing and ground-testing open-fan technology, is moving ahead with what’s known as a geared turbofan with a model called Ultrafan that targets burning 25% less fuel. Pratt spent $10 billion to develop a geared turbofan that entered service in 2015 and offers a 15% improvement in efficiency versus its predecessors. Geoff Hunt, Pratt’s senior vice president for engineering, said the engine could boost fuel efficiency by another 20% via technology upgrades over time — a similar gain to what CFM expects its propeller design could offer.

Such advances in turbofans could present a serious challenge to the widespread adoption of open-fan formats. Airlines might be loath to switch to an unproven new engine when a familiar option — one that fits neatly into the established design of existing planes – is offering comparable improvement. There are other obstacles, too, such as the likelihood that regulators would pay new aircraft special attention. The GE and Pratt concepts of the 1980s bellowed so loudly, they raised doubts they could comply with noise limits. Safety issues, namely how to prevent a blade failure from sending debris slicing through a plane’s frame, would also be scrutinized by authorities — and customers, too. Airbus, for example, was sceptical of open-fan designs pitched by CFM about 15 years ago as it considered engines for what became the A320neo, people familiar with the matter said. The planemaker would’ve needed to completely rework the A320 to make the engine fit, one of the people said, and the blades would’ve been positioned high and on the rear of the aircraft, presenting challenges to winning regulatory certification due to the risk of a blade breaking off or a tail scrape. And that’s all before considering how passengers might react. “Looking out and seeing Cuisinart blades under the wing with double rows, dozens of blades — yeah, that’s disconcerting,” said aviation consultant Richard Aboulafia.

New Jets
Developing a new airplane can cost $15 billion — or far more if a groundbreaking technology goes awry. The potential of the CFM open-fan engine is likely to factor into planemakers’ high-stakes plans. Boeing and Airbus are already plotting their strategies for the next decade when they’ll need to replace their most profitable jets, which have designs that date to the 1960s and 1980s. The US manufacturer is expected to make the first move. Badly lagging Airbus in the crucial narrowbody market, Boeing is likely working on an all-new jet to counter its rival’s A321neo, and Spingarn of Melius Research expects it to also unveil a 737 Max replacement by the late decade. Airbus’s dominance, meanwhile, gives it more breathing room to devise upgrades to its A220 and A320 families of aircraft. Still, as the company girds for the future, it’s making big bets on unproven technology, such as pledging to bring a hydrogen plane into service by 2035. Many in the industry are sceptical that it can meet that timeline. The open-fan engine should be in the running for both Boeing and Airbus — provided CFM can deliver its engine by 2035, and resolve the issues that caused the planemakers to reject propellers in the past. The conventional jet engine has “gone as far as it can be given the level of challenge that our industry has taken on,” said Francois Bastin, Safran’s vice president of commercial engines. “Now there is something bigger than all of us, which is the environmental challenge.” Source: ‚American Journal of Transportation‘. Images: ‚MT-Propeller‚.

Mooney Formation Flight over Hudson River

Video about a formation flight of three Mooney’s along the Hudson river, then a low approach on 4R at Newark international airport. Once-in-a-life-time-experience. Newark is one of the busiest airports in the world. Source: ‚Youtube‚.

First Flight Using 100% net-zero Synthetic Fuel

British synthetic fuel company Zero Petroleum has announced the successful completion with its partner the Royal Air Force of the first flight in the world to be powered entirely by synthetic aviation fuel. On the morning of 2nd November 2021 at Cotswold Airport, an Ikarus C42 aircraft conducted the flight which has since been awarded “First aircraft powered by synthetic fuel” from Guinness World Records. The flight is the first step in a joint programme which aims ultimately to defossilise the entire fuel requirement of the RAF.

Zero Petroleum’s synthetic fuel is manufactured by extracting hydrogen from water, using energy generated from renewable sources; and combining the hydrogen with carbon dioxide, captured from the atmosphere, to create “drop-in” fuels which entirely substitute current fossil-based aviation fuels. The process uses Direct FT, an advanced proprietary variant of Fischer-Tropsch technology which, as a fully industrial process, is reliable, secure and fully scalable without the land-use and biodiversity challenges of biofuels.

“Climate change is a transnational challenge which threatens global resilience and our shared security and prosperity” said Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston KCB CBE ADC Chief of the Air Staff. “I am determined to tackle this head on and have set the Royal Air Force the ambitious goal to be Net Zero by 2040. The way we power our aircraft will be a big part of achieving that goal, and this exciting project to make aviation fuel from air and water shows how it might be done. I am delighted at the award of this world record and to see the Royal Air Force yet again at the leading edge of innovation and technology, as we have been throughout our history.”

Zero Petroleum was founded by Formula One engineering legend Paddy Lowe and Professor Nilay Shah OBE, Head of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London. Paddy was previously Technical Director at McLaren, Executive Director at Mercedes and Chief Technical Officer at Williams, contributing to a total of 158 race wins and 12 World Championships, and recognised by Honorary Fellowship of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Nilay is one of the most prominent and influential chemical engineering authorities in the world and last year received an OBE for services to the decarbonisation of the UK economy. Both Paddy and Nilay are Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Zero Petroleum completed a seed financing round including an investment from Formula One World Champion and Sky broadcaster, Damon Hill OBE. Zero Petroleum also received a grant from the UK’s leading innovation agency Innovate UK for fuel synthesis technology development.

The company’s vision is to become the world leader in synthetic fuels technology and production. These innovative fuels can replace fossil fuels without the need to adapt distribution infrastructure or engine design. They are crucial for sectors in which electrification is not currently an option, including aviation, agriculture and a wide range of high-performance vehicles.

The project to complete this flight, named Project MARTIN, started in June 2021. Zero Petroleum and its technology partner IGTL Technology combined efforts to design and build a production plant in record time in Peterhead, UK. The plant was then positioned at Billia Croo, Orkney, UK for fuel manufacturing operations during September and October 2021.

“This unique project with the Royal Air Force demonstrates the validity of our synthetic fuel and the potential it has to eliminate fossil CO2 emissions from a number of difficult but critical sectors, including transport which currently accounts for 23 percent of the global total” added Zero Petroleum founder Paddy Lowe. “We are particularly proud of the fact that this high-grade aviation gasoline ZERO SynAvGas was developed in just five months and ran successfully in the aircraft as a whole-blend without any modification whatsoever to the aircraft or the engine. The engine manufacturer Rotax’s measurements and the test pilot’s observations showed no difference in power or general performance compared to standard fossil fuel. Synthetic fuel allows the world to rethink its relationship with petroleum which can now be man-made in significant volumes within a carbon neutral process. This revolution will power the Energy Transition by creating a fully circular fuel supply, at scale. This is the start of a new era of perpetual energy, fossil-free. I want to thank the Royal Air Force for setting and supporting this challenge and to thank the incredible team at Zero Petroleum and at our technology partner IGTL Technology who delivered the fuel for the flight today. I could not be more excited as I believe we have together made a significant mark in the history of powered aviation which started with the Wright brothers just 118 years ago.” Source: ‚RenewableEnergyMagazine‚.

Terry Delore fliegt wieder Rekord-Distanzen

Anfangs Monat ist der weltweit bekannte, neuseeländische Segelflug-Pilot Terry Delore mit einer ASW 27 B in den neuseeländischen Wellen-Systemen 1’861 km geflogen. Hier sein Kommentar auf Facebook: „Ich danke meinen Freunden auf der ganzen Welt und in Neuseeland für alle freundlichen Kommentare und Wünsche.
Die Angst vor dem Scheitern ist es, welche die meisten von uns aufhält. Auf diesem Flug habe ich mich an meine früheren Misserfolge erinnert, und das hat mir zum Erfolg verholfen.
Ich habe das Glück, die Unterstützung meiner Familie, meines Vereins und so vieler Spitzenpiloten von überall her zu haben. In Sachen Rekord sieht es so aus, als hätte die freie Hin- und Rückstrecke geklappt. Aber die ausgeschriebenen 1’730 km (Hin- & Zurück) und 1’500 km Geschwindigkeitrekord werden wohl nicht homologiert – weil ich die Startlinie um 200 m verpasst habe, ich war zwar im Quadranten, aber die Regeln haben sich geändert! Harte Lektion! – Beste Grüße, Terry“. Hier finden Sie einen TV-Bericht über den Flug.

Africa – Flight for Every Mother

In early 2013, I heard through the grapevine that a British Obstetric Surgeon was intending to fly through Africa in a light aircraft, and offer medical training and supplies in countries along the route. Having always been fascinated with the idea of a long flight through Africa, I got in touch to find out more, and see if there was any way I could help with my experience of flying in Africa to date. Dr Sophia Webster and I ended up getting on well, and discussing the trip in more and more detail – before long, I was asked if I would come along as a more experienced pilot to deal with the aviation side of things. While Dr Webster held a Private Pilot’s Licence, she had relatively few hours of experience and more importantly would need to be devoting most of her time to the medical mission rather than flight planning. Once I had agreed that yes, I would like to go (which was not a difficult thing to convince me of) things started coming together remarkably quickly. Within the space of a few weeks the aircraft lease was organised, vaccinations acquired, flight to Europe booked, and visa and flight clearance process well under way. Find out more about this incredible trip int the Blog ‚Katamarino.co.uk‘.