Rolls-Royce has carried out a successful test flight of its 747 flying testbed aircraft using 100 percent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in a Trent 1000 turbofan, the engine company said Tuesday. The aircraft flew from Tucson International Airport in Arizona, passing over New Mexico and Texas, carrying a Trent 1000 engine running on unblended SAF while the remaining three RB211 engines ran on standard jet fuel, arriving back in Tucson three hours and 54 minutes later. Partnering with Boeing and SAF producer World Energy, Rolls Royce reported that the tests showed no “initial indications” of engineering issues.
The validation of this most recent testing adds to data collected during similar tests on Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB and Pearl engines, both on the ground and in the air. While calling for further ambition and collaboration across the aviation sector and governments to ensure long-haul aviation meets the goals set by the UN Race to Zero, the company last week confirmed plans to make all its Trent engines compatible with 100 percent SAF by 2023.
Under current certification limits, aircraft now can operate on a maximum of 50 percent SAF.
Rolls-Royce carried out the flight in collaboration with Boeing, which provided technical support and oversight on aircraft modifications and assurance the aircraft systems would operate as expected with 100 percent SAF. World Energy provided the low-carbon fuel for the flight.
The Biden Administration signaled its recognition of the need to boost SAF production with the launch of a SAF "Grand Challenge" to produce 3 billion gallons of the fuel a year by 2030 as part of a wider aviation climate action plan the White House expects to release in the coming months. The European Commission has proposed what it calls ReFuelEU Aviation, which would mandate the incorporation of SAF supplies at EU airports and increase the supply to 63 percent by 2050.
“We believe in air travel as a force for cultural good, but we also recognize the need to take action to decarbonize our industry,” said Rolls-Royce director of product development and technology Simon Burr. “This flight is another example of collaboration across the value chain to make sure all the aircraft technology solutions are in place to enable a smooth introduction of 100 percent SAF into our industry.”
Copyright ©2021 The Convention News Company, Inc.
What should a charter operator do when a captain needs an FAA 135.299 line check by the end of the month or they will be demoted to first officer status, and the FAA office is in overload and no inspectors are available? The inability to complete the line check in a timely manner could jeopardize the charter schedule, forcing the cancellation of many revenue-generating flights.
Michael McCullough, assistant director of operations at Aviation Resource Management and chair of the NBAA’s Part 135 Committee, had heard about a potential solution and decided to investigate. It turned out that others were already exploring the application of video and audio tools, or video and communications technology (VCT), to create a virtual record of a line check flight that FAA inspectors could observe in their offices instead of flying in the airplane. The result: a process for line checks that eliminates the complicated logistics, not to mention risks, that make in-flight line checks a huge challenge.
“We were hearing from our membership that the FAA was starting to conduct these virtual checkrides, but FAA inspectors often didn’t know where to start the process,” said McCullough. “Our committee decided to take a proactive step and create a document offering some recommended guidelines for virtual 135 checkrides. In the past, proactivity has been welcomed by the FAA, as long as the subject effort complies with applicable FAA guidelines and regulations.”
The committee’s work product is entitled VCT Line Check Best Practices Guide. It provides a step-by-step process for organizing a VCT-based checkride, including the video and audio components needed, how to arrange them in the cockpit, and how to work with the FAA to gain approval of the system as a method of documenting the line check.
According to the guide, GoPro action cameras are the suggested video and audio recording devices. GoPro offers a wide variety of simple, rugged cameras that are adaptable to almost any activity, be it a rugged mountain bike ride, a rocket into space, or a flight in a corporate jet. Weighing less than six ounces, these devices are small and can be securely fastened in place with portable clamps or flexible mounts, simplifying the setup process and eliminating the need for complex maintenance approvals. Later model GoPro cameras have built-in stabilization that ensures a rock-solid video.
Two cameras should be used in a flight deck setup, one focused on the flying pilot’s instrument panel and the windshield, and the second on the flying pilot’s primary instruments. Audio inputs can be captured via a special cable plugged into the headphone connector between the headset and aircraft, then into one of the GoPro cameras.
To initiate the process, the document suggests sending a test video to the FAA that gives the inspector insight into what the flight check will look like, along with a request for approval to conduct the virtual checkride. As well, the entire exchange between operator and the FAA, according to the guide, should be documented via email. Once the FAA is in agreement, the operator can firm up the VCT configuration and schedule the flight check.
An important part of this process is that a non-flying individual, preferably a company check airman, should ride along on the flight check to manage the VCT process, insuring that the crew being evaluated can concentrate on their flying duties. Once the flight crew is in place in the airplane, before they begin pre-start procedures, that non-flying person should start the GoPro cameras and state for the recording the date and time. When the flight is completed and the aircraft is shut down, the non-flying person announces the time of shutdown and switches off the cameras.
The guide suggests uploading the VCT file to a predetermined portal, then scheduling a remote debrief with the FAA inspector via an online meeting platform. The pilots involved in the checkride should be present for the debrief. Once everyone is in place virtually, the VCT recording will be played. The inspectors will electronically approve the appropriate records or note any failures or incomplete items that could require a re-check.
The FAA has not formally endorsed or approved the guide, according to McCullough. But inspectors have reviewed it and provided comments. Operators should work with their principal operations inspectors (POI) to determine when the VCT checkride process is appropriate. Many FAA inspectors are unaware of or have little knowledge of the process, so it is up to operators to provide as much information as possible to assist POIs in defining a path forward. The NBAA guide is an effective tool in that process.
In 2020, amid the Covid shutdowns, Ashley Smith Jr., president and director of operations for Jet Logistics, had a need to accomplish line checks for two captains on a newly acquired jet. The airplane was based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The POI in South Carolina could not get his office to approve a trip across the U.S. But Smith found out from the flight crew on the airplane that the Scottsdale FSDO was experimenting with virtual line checks.
On further inquiry to both the Scottsdale FSDO and the NBAA, the latter where Smith is a contributing board member, he determined there was such a procedure. If it worked, it would solve his dilemma.
“The Scottsdale FSDO was administering line checks using GoPro cameras installed in the aircraft,” Smith said. “The recordings were then reviewed by the appropriate inspectors, after which they were signing off line checks.”
Smith thought the virtual line check process could help other operators and got McCollough and the NBAA involved in creating the guide so others could take advantage of this opportunity.
Familiar with GoPro cameras in aircraft from his aerobatic flying, Smith applied that knowledge to set up a functional recording system in a Citation XLS that would be the subject airplane for the planned line checks.
“The Scottsdale FAA team gave us some general guidelines,” Smith said, “but explaining that the process was, at this time, not officially approved. Still, it was our only option, so I decided to take the greatest care to provide a well-documented record.”
Early in the setup, one of the GoPros had a battery failure. Smith made sure their documentation added a suggestion to have extra batteries on hand during the flight. He organized the airplane and crew for the flight and flew with them, taking care of the cameras and identifying enhancements that could improve the quality of the record.
“We took the raw footage and developed a better-running, well-notated video record for the FAA,” Smith said. “Using iMovie, the Apple app on my Macintosh laptop, we added text notations identifying video scenes in the flight where an inspector could note key points in the flight for the record.
Based on Smith’s video and audio recording, Jet Logistics’ POI was able to approve the two line checks.
“We spent a lot of effort to make sure we got this right,” Smith said. “I do believe this virtual process will work for the industry, provided inspectors at the FSDOs around the country buy into it. To that end, the more we operators develop a well-documented, repeatable procedure, the more likely we are to get FAA inspector buy-in.”
Copyright ©2021 The Convention News Company, Inc.
In last night’s season three premiere of HBO’s Succession, some of the more gripping moments played out as members of the Roy family—and key players in their business—spoke to each other by cell phone from their separate private jets about who would assume control of Waystar Royco. The scenes were convincingly played by actors including Sarah Snook, Matthew Macfadyen, Kieran Culkin, J. Smith-Cameron, and Brian Cox, but even as the suspense mounted, a nagging question popped into the mind of some viewers: They are flying miles above cell phone towers—how are their cell phones working?
For anyone who has struggled to receive emails even after having paid for inflight wifi service aboard a commercial flight, the uninterrupted calls stretched credibility or—worse—offered undeniable proof that the rich are different.
T&C reached out to Sven Bilén, an engineering professor at Penn State who has written about aviation and communication and Doug Gollan, a longtime industry expert and founder of Private Jet Card Comparisons, to explain how those calls went through.
Bilén: I think what you need to know is that there are two ways that you can talk on your cell phone. One is when your phone accesses your cellular network via a cell tower. The other is through something called Voice Over WiFi. Because most cellular towers aim signals at the ground, accessing a cell network would be difficult at altitude. But planes can connect to WiFi data lines through satellite links. Therefore any call on the show would likely have been made through Voice Over WiFi—especially if the plane were flying over the ocean or far from cell towers.
Bilén: It depends. According to the FAA, using a cellular network on either a commercial or private plane is illegal. There are some technical reasons why they regulate it. And phone calls aren’t allowed on commercial flights for the obvious reason it would be really annoying to be sitting on a plane with a bunch of people talking on the plane. On a private plane, provided it is a newer model outfitted with the latest communication equipment, a Voice Over WiFi call would not violate the cellular rules.
Gollan: For folks like the ones portrayed in the show, you know, time is money. Phones are an essential part of doing business. So if it’s a matter of firing a division president, you know, they can do it on the flight to L.A.
Gollan: Yes, definitely. When you get on a jet, you should ask the person we call the lead passenger—either the owner or the person who chartered the jet, “Where would you like me to sit?” And then, “Do you mind if I make a call?” One reason is that sometimes there are extra charges to use WiFi services. And the other is because, you know, if I was sitting at your dining room table, I wouldn't pick up the phone and start talking.
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A guide to the major players of the HBO hit show, which stars Brian Cox, Sarah Snook, Jeremy Strong, J. Smith-Cameron, Kieran Culkin, and more. For the immensely powerful and mercurial Logan Roy, played by the legendary Brian Cox, who won a Golden Globe for his role, his problems only seem to grow each season. Jeremy Strong won a Primetime Emmy for his role as Kendall, Logan's self-destructive son who might have been the obvious successor to his father's empire had he been a sharper operator—and not so prone to stabbing dad in the back.
The ruthless puppet master of the Roy family has humble origins. Born in Dundee, Scotland, and raised in poverty by a widowed mother, Logan (Brian Cox) eventually created Waystar Royco, which he grew into a multibillion-dollar media and entertainment conglomerate that includes a news network, a film studio, a chain of amusement parks, and a cruises division whose explosive #MeToo scandal poses a severe existential threat to its CEO and chairman. Marcia (Hiam Abbass), Logan's third wife, has often clashed with his children (she has her own son, Amir, from her first marriage to a Lebanese businessman), who see her as a self-serving gold digger with a mysterious, hard-to-dig-up backstory.
It's the perfect fit for a bit of family backstabbing.
A TikTok user is drawing praise with his “mind-blowing” hack for how to track flights on an iPhone. The tip comes from user @maxmilespoints, who runs a page dedicated to travel hacks and money-saving tricks. In his video, @maxmilespoints shows how you can easily track flights on an iPhone. As it turns out, the feature is as simple as tapping a message. The clip shows @maxmilespoints using his iPhone to send a message featuring his flight number. Then, he simply clicks on the text, and his phone opens a map of his flight, plus plenty of information like his estimated arrival time. As both @maxmilespoints and other TikTokers pointed out in the comments, the trick is especially useful for helping someone pick you up from the airport . That said, the iPhone hack doesn’t work with every airline. However, @maxmilespoints did follow up with a list of airlines where it does work. Many TikTok users were shocked by the hack. Some called it “mind-blowing.” “This is so helpful,” another added
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