Why Economy Class is Best Class

Private jets (AKA PJs) are really bad for the environment, like really bad. We’ve looked at efforts to ban PJs before, this time let’s examine the relative carbon emissions of different classes of flying. If you’re not rich enough to afford a PJ or a first class ticket then you’re already demonstrating more care for the environment. The wealthy have had a disproportionate impact on climate change.

Of course, the best thing to do with flying emissions is to eliminate them entirely by building more and faster trains.

A 747 flight from London to New York creates 200 tonnes of CO2. If that is divided between all the passengers, that’s 572kg each. Except that business class and first class passengers use more space, and are therefore less efficient and more polluting. A first class ticket on the same plane uses 2,835kg – and why some have suggested ending first class as a quick-win way to reduce aviation emissions. 

The emissions from first class seats are knocked into a top hat by the emissions of private planes. Take your own jet to New York, and you’re looking at over 25 tonnes of CO2.

Read more.

New Solar Powered Vehicles Seemingly from the Future

Last month an airplane known as Solar Impulse completed a fully solar-powered flight across the USA as a demonstration of current solar solutions. In the video above you can see why they made the flight and how the Switezerland-based company wants to change air travel.

At the Guardian there is an article on the flight plus other up and coming solar powered vehicles that we will hopefully see all over. The faster we reduce our global fossil fuel consumption the faster we can improve our planet and our economy.

Its solar cells are 135 microns thin – the same as a human hair; its motors waste only 6% of the energy they consume, compared with a typical bleed of 70%; its carbon fibre panels that form the structure of the wings and fuselage are, at 25g/m squared, three times lighter than writing paper. The new plane, the HB-SIB, can fly through night and day, clear skies and storms, at a top speed of 70km an hour. “We built the first plane with the technology of 2007,” Piccard says. “We built the second plane with the technology of 2015.”

Piccard sums it up: “The goal is to change the mindset of people through Solar Impulse. If a plane can fly around the world with no fuel, nobody can say that we cannot reach incredible goals with clean technology. You have a lot of resistance to change, a lot of people saying, ‘I don’t believe in that’ because of dogma. They are afraid of change and they are not pioneers.

Read more at The Guardian.

New Speed Record for Electric Airplanes

Electric airplanes are still rare but hopefully this will change sooner rather than later. Airplane fuel is super-dangerous for our friendly environment so if we can get planes to run off of batteries (electricity of course coming from wind or the like) than score a million for the good guys!

Cri-Cri is a small aircraft that just broke the electric plane speed record with ease and could herald the development of personal aircraft being electric!

According to Electravia, the firm who designed the Cri-Cri’s 35-horsepower motors and custom propellers, the plane was only using 75% of its total power when it broke the speed record. The engineering firm said that its engines and propellers could have taken the plane to speeds over 220 mph, however such velocity would have put serious stress on the Cri-Cri’s airframe so only 75% power was used.

Read more: The Cri-Cri Breaks the Electric Aircraft Speed Record

Plane Crashes Into Water, All Survive

Plane in water
An airbus carrying 155 people crashed into the Hudson river in New York City yesterday and everyone survived. Wow! This is the first I’ve heard of a plane this big ditching in water and people live. Absolutely stunning!

The BBC has an article on the amazing pilot who saved the day.

According to air traffic controllers, an “eerie calm” defined their communications with the cockpit as their options dwindled and the pilot decided to ditch into the Hudson, a union official told Reuters news agency.
Incredibly, Capt Sullenberger managed to land the aircraft safely on the water.
Mayor Bloomberg said that the pilot told him that the captain then “walked the plane twice after everybody else was off and tried to verify that there was nobody else onboard”.

Faster and Greener Flying

Not only is the proposed A2 aircraft fast (really fast! London to Sydney in 5 hours), it would be one of the greenest in the sky!
Perhaps this plane will even land at the green airports.

Because it is fuelled by liquid hydrogen, the aircraft only produces water vapour and nitrous oxide as exhaust and has a negligible carbon footprint.

Despite its length, the aircraft will also be able to land on current international airport runways.

Mr Bond, managing director of Reaction Engines Ltd, said that from a standing start and with the requisite political will, the plane could be flying commercially within 15 years.

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