IATA on air safety

By Bjorn Fehrm in Dublin

June 1, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: We report from the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Annual General Meeting running in Dublin Thursday and Friday this week, where all the world’s airlines meet to report on a number of initiatives and decide on things to do going forward.

The first briefing from IATA was on the level of safety in the air for 2015, measured through the IATA Operational Safety Audit, IOSA. 2015 was a good year, not quite to the level of 2014 which was the safest year in history, but close at 0.32 jet hull losses per one million flights instead of 0.27 recorded for 2014, Figure 1.

Figure 1. Jet hull losses during 2015 per million flight hours. Source: IATA.

As a reference, the the 2013 rate was 0.41 hull losses over one million flights. The 2015 rate was a 30% improvement over the average rate of the years 2010-2014. The turboprop level was worse at 1.29 hull losses per million flights but it was a large improvement compared to previous years at 3.13 and 3.95. It shall be cautioned that the sample size for Turboprops is much smaller than for Jets, therefore one hull loss will affect the statistics quite a lot. Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: Electrical flight, how real?

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm

10 July 2015, ©. Leeham Co: We have just witnessed the first solar electrical aircraft, Solar Impulse 2, cross the ocean from Tokyo to Hawaii. Today, Friday, Airbus Group will cross the English Channel with a battery powered electrical aircraft, the E-Fan.

How real is electrical flying? Real enough to make demonstration flights like the one to Hawaii and to Calais. Both these aircraft are technology demonstrators but it is symptomatic that they do these hops now, 2015.E-Fan cross Channel

Airbus Group’s E-Fan aircraft is preparing to cross the English Channel. Source: Airbus.

We live in the years when electrical cars have gone from exotic one-offs to serial produced products, still expensive but more and more practical. Why should not the aircraft industry follow? Read more

PNAA Conference Pt 3: Renewable biofuels

The future of bio-fuel is different from the bio-fuel today, says John Plaza, CEO of Imperium Renewables. He is speaking at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference in suburban Seattle. It will be drop-in fuel, potential to be cheaper, meet same specifications as petroleum, equivalent to civilian (JP-8) and military fleets (JP-10).

First generation of bio-fuel is bio-diesel. Second generation will be the drop-in described above. Bio-fuels have to become multiple products as in the petroleum industry.

  • We’re seeing increasing density of bio-fuels, which increases BTUs and efficiency on long-haul flights.
  • WA State has one of highest recycling programs in the country but still generates a lot of trash (much of which is trained to Oregon). Trash can contribute to bio-fuel.
  • Bio-fuel without subsidy costs around $4/gal vs $3.25 or so for jet fuel, so there is still a price disparity.
  • 200 million gallons of jet fuel within 100 mile radius of wood slash can be generated.
  • Other feed stocks: Jatropha, Eucalyptus, mixed growth plots. Algae is interesting but requires more research.

Enviro Aerospace conferences this week, next month

Here is a good enviro-aerospace conference coming up next month that provides one of the broadest coverage of topics to anyone interested in the emerging green-aviation issues. Sponsored by the AIAA, the conference

is called Making a Difference: Aerospace Leadership for Energy and Environmental Challenges.

“Making A Difference” has about the best agenda and broad spectrum of speakers we’ve seen of any enviro-aviation conference in the US. Representatives of the FAA, Air Transport Association, Shell [Oil] Global Solutions, the Office of Science and Technology of the Office of the President of the United States, MIT, Billy Glover, Boeing’s top enviro guru, the USAF, Delta Air Lines, EADS, United Technologies (parent of Pratt & Whitney), NASA and a number of other top-level organizations, agencies and companies are speakers. This event is May 11-12 in Washington (DC).

This follows an event this week (April 27-29), also in Washington, entitled Advanced Biofuels leadership Conference. The Air Transport Associationm United Airlines, Lufthansa, the FAA’s CAAFI bio-fuels group, FedEX, several biofuels companies, UOP (the Honeywell company at the forefront of aviation biofuels) and US Airways are among the companies, agencies and groups at this conference.

These two conferences provide the broadest possible coverage of these enviro-aerospace topics.

Key conferences coming up

There are a couple of key conferences coming up that we want to particularly bring to the attention of our readers.

In Washington State, there is the Innovation Summit next Friday, April 9.

Aside from the fact we’re appearing on the aerospace panel (our third conference appearance this year already), this summit goes well beyond commercial aerospace and also deals with defense and non-defense issues, including clean technology.

Which leads us to the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference April 27-29 in the “other Washington,” WA DC. With aviation moving toward biofuels at an increasingly rapid pace is an important event.

Then there is the Making a Difference: Aerospace Leadership for Energy and Environmental Challenges May 11-12, also in Washington, DC. This is a particularly attractive program. This one is sponsored by AIAA, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Coupled with Aviation Week’s Eco-Aviation conference (dates this year still to be announced), these provide the most comprehensive opportunities in the US for aviation environmental conferences.

Aviation Week’s 2009 conference.

Airfinance Journal has its 30th Annual conference April 26-27 in New York City. This is a premier aviation conference that focuses on commercial aviation finance.

Eco-Aviation Conference May 26

Air Transport World and Leeham Co. have organized the second USA Eco-Aviation Conference in Washington DC. More information may be found here.


Eco-Aviation conference May 27


More details on the conference may be found here.

2nd Eco-Aviation Conference set

The second Air Transport World-Leeham Co. Eco-Aviation Conference has been scheduled. More information is here.


Boeing Environmental Report

Boeing just issued a 50 page report on its approach to environmental issues. In addition to the link here, we’ve added this permanently under our Green Aviation section.

Boeing is participating our our Eco-Aviation conference June 18-20 in Washington, DC, organized with Air Transport World.

There is a high quality list of speakers.

Eco-aviation continues to gain importance in profile and substance. Boeing’s Scott Carson, president of the Commercial Aircraft division, spent a fair amount of time during his presentation at the annual investors’ conference yesterday talking about aviation and the environmental movement.

In an interview we just completed with Airbus for the new publication, Aviation and the Environment, Airbus discussed the environmental advances of the A350’s new Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine compared with the new Trent 1000 on the Boeing 787. Although the Trent XWB doesn’t represent a technological break-through, it does provide advances over Rolls’ own latest engine technology for the game-changing 787.

Whereas fuel efficiency and noise have been the drivers in the past for new airplanes, there are a whole new set of drivers for technological advances to protect the environment.

Boeing’s new environmental report is important reading for a better understanding of what Boeing is doing and the issues in eco-aviation.

Leeham website update

Our Corporate Website has been updated with in-depth commentary. This week we write about eco-aviation and of technology transfer to Japan and the Boeing 787.

We quickly received a note from Lynn Lunsford of The Wall Street Journal  on the latter subject. We cited a Forbes story in our comment–Lynn points out Forbes picked up the item from his piece on March 27. The relevant except is below:

In what could prove to be an important alliance, Mitsubishi Heavy has persuaded Boeing to participate in the program by working with it to adapt elements of the same carbon-fiber composite technology being used in Boeing‘s new 787 Dreamliner. Mitsubishi Heavy and two other Japanese companies are major financial partners with Boeing on the bigger jet, so they already have experience with these materials. By incorporating composite materials that don’t corrode or fatigue with age, Japanese officials hope to differentiate their product from those of competitors that rely largely on aluminum.

Mitsubishi Heavy and Japanese government officials had hoped that Boeing would sign on as a significant investor in the project, but the Chicago aerospace company declined, saying it needed to stay focused on getting its delayed Dreamliner out of the door. “We will participate in a limited way. Discussions are under way to determine exactly what will be of most value to the program,” said a Boeing executive familiar with the talks.