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Plane filled with biofuel ready for flight

April 13, 2012, 07:53 am

Porter Airlines in Canada recently became the first carrier in the country to conduct a biofuel-powered flight this month. The airlines, which completed a test flight in February, will make the commercial flight in mid-April to coincide with Earth Day .

"We are timing our biofuel-powered flight close to Earth Day to emphasize the contribution that biofuels are expected to make in helping the aviation industry meet its targeted reduction in emissions," said Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines. "Q400 and Q400 NextGen aircraft are already among the 'greenest' aircraft in the world and the use of biofuel will make the aircraft even more environmentally conscious."

The airlines will use its Bombardier Q400 turboprop airplane for the flight to run on bio-derived jet fuel created and certified by the American Society for Testing and Materials. The biofuel is a 50/50 blend of biofuel with Jet A1 fuel. The biofuel portion of the mixture is derived from oilseed crop. During the prep flight, the bio-derived fuel performed very well, allowing the airplane to complete several maneuvers such as engine-out climbs, rapid engine accelerations and cruising to verify the plane's performance while running on alternative fuel. Working with Porter Airlines on the biofuel project are other groups including Targeted Growth Canada, the producer of the ingredients for the biofuel; Pratt & Whitney Canada, who manufactured the plane's engines to run on the new fuel; and the Green Aviation Research and Development Network, who funded the entire projected.

The Q400 aircraft used in the flight is a 70- to 80-seater plane with a large, fast and quiet fuel-efficient turboprop. The new plane design provides ideal balance of passenger comfort and operating economics with a reduced carbon emissions output. The Q400 is exceeding environmental standards in place consuming 30 to 40 percent less fuel and producing 30 to 40 percent fewer emissions on flight paths. The plane is 15 decibels quieter than its predecessors, raising the bar for the aviation industry.

TG Daily reported that Porter Airlines' biofuel project is part of a global effort to create greener fuels and lower the dependence on fossil fuels in the transportation industry. In compliance with the International Air Transport Association's self-imposed goals to reach CO2-neutral growth by 2020 and achieve a 50 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by 2050.

Another way to raise the bar in aviation is to purchase and promote pilot insurance as tool to keep the skies safer.

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