‘An important step to decarbonising air travel’: hybrid plane takes to UK skies

The airplane is an essential action in the race to decarbonise aviation, however net-zero flights remains some method off yet

In the race to net zero, aviation remains a powerful obstacle. The sector is not just one of the worlds fastest growing sources of emissions (prior to the pandemic), however likewise one of the hardest to decarbonise. With the lack of ready-to-go green alternatives to the jet engine, the only practical short-term solution to cleaning up the respiratory tracts is to fly less..

The airplane involved is a customized six-seater Cessna 337 with one battery-powered electrical motor and one traditional combustion engine. Ampaire, the company behind the airplane, explained the flights as “an essential initial step to decarbonising” regional air travel.

In the race to net zero, aviation remains a powerful barrier. The great news is that low-carbon aviation is advancing, as evidence in UK airspace this week. There, a hybrid airplane is carrying out a series of demonstration flights between Exeter Airport and Cornwall Airport Newquay, following a successful trial in between Wick and Kirkwell in Scotland a fortnight back. According to Ampaire, its hybrid plane utilizes 30 per cent less fuel than its non-hybrid competitors. It released in the second UK lockdown to capitalise on increasing need for flight-free vacations, and to promote the virtues of slow travel.

Those avoiding the skies in the name of the environment are being catered for by a growing number of overland travel companies. The French start-up Midnight Trains is one of them.

According to Ampaire, its hybrid aircraft utilizes 30 percent less fuel than its non-hybrid rivals. Thats a substantial reduction. But provided the small size of the airplane, the modest conserving highlights just how much development is still to be made if the UK air travel industry is to make great on its pledge of being net absolutely no by 2050..

The hybrid aircraft uses 30 per cent less fuel than its non-hybrid competitors. Image: Ampaire.

Main image: Ampaire.

The test flights become part of the Sustainable Aviation Test Environment project. It was developed to trial low-carbon technologies for aviation from its base at Kirkwall Airport, Orkney..

Nevertheless, while the hybrid flights mark an essential step towards greening flight, Friends of the Earth warned that action is needed now to curb the aviations rising emissions..

As lowering emissions, Ampaire stated the airplane would minimize flying costs, potentially making some regional paths more viable economically, therefore improving connectivity to separated neighborhoods.

Theres no-fly travel company Byway. It introduced in the 2nd UK lockdown to capitalise on increasing demand for flight-free holidays, and to promote the virtues of sluggish travel. Its founder, Cat Jones, told Positive News that business is growing..

” Its actually amazing since it seems like now is the moment for sluggish travel. Now is the time where people stop thinking about trains as an alternative for planes, and start believing of them as a method of holidaying and taking a trip differently,” she said.

” We wont beat the environment crisis by wishing for greener options tomorrow– we need real action today” said the charity. It is campaigning for a regular leaflet levy and to stop airport growth in the UK..

The bright side is that low-carbon air travel is progressing, as evidence in UK airspace today. There, a hybrid aircraft is performing a series of demonstration flights between Exeter Airport and Cornwall Airport Newquay, following a successful trial between Wick and Kirkwell in Scotland a fortnight ago. It is the first time an electric-powered plane has actually participated in such tests in the UK.

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