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Mon, Nov 21, 2022

Airbus A330 Completes Sustainable Fuel Flight

Royal Air Force, Airbus Continue Testing with Militarized Voyager Using Pure SAF

The Royal Air Force and Airbus completed the world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fueled flight by an active service military aircraft.

The flight saw a military variant of the Airbus A330, the RAF Voyager, take off above RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, England, running both engines on a fuel derived from waste oils and sustainable feedstocks. The flight was also the first100% SAF flight of any aircraft type carried out in UK airspace. The 90-minute flight took the Voyager from Norton up to replicate a standard airborne refueling sortie, demonstrating capabilities for senior RAF personnel aboard for the ride. RAF brass see promise in the technology like many others in the same line of work, particularly considering the feedback received from the test pilot and Captain of the flight, Jesus Ruiz. 

“From the crew perspective, the SAF operation was ‘transparent’, meaning that no differences were observed operationally. The Test Plan was exhaustive and robust and has allowed us to compare SAF with JET1 culminating in a flight without a single drop of fossil fuel. Teamwork was a key contributor, harmonizing experience from Airbus, Rolls-Royce and the RAF. We feel very proud to be a small part of this huge step for sustainable aviation.”

The joint effort involved industry support from the Royal Air Force, Airbus, the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Equipment and Support agency, British aircraft leasing company AirTanker, and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce. The fuel used in the test was provided by Air bp, derived primarily from used cooking oil. The resulting fuel reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% when compared to traditional virgin fuel, allowing greater energy independence for the British isles and reducing waste throughout the country. 

Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space,  supports the effort as a widespread industry effort to push for decarbonization. “True to our purpose of 'pioneering aerospace', we have gladly supported the Royal Air Force on this landmark sustainable-fuel test flight. I commend our UK customer for this achievement which helps pave the way for a sustainable reduction of carbon emissions of our military aircraft fleets. Airbus engineers have made a significant contribution to this RAF mission by providing on-the-ground expertise in recent weeks and securing the necessary MoD military flight permits.”



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