June 20, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
Airliners might taxi to and from their gates using electric motors powered by the auxiliary power unit—essentially a small jet engine with a generator—in the tail of the aircraft. It could save airlines 4 percent of yearly fuel costs, a statement from Honeywell and French aerospace firm Safran said.
The two companies have joined to offer the systems for new aircraft, and retrofitted for older aircraft, starting in 2016. A joint statement notes it could save in fuel and exhaust emissions. It might also reduce noise levels, especially for airports surrounded by residential areas, although the statement made no promises regarding noise.
Honeywell will blend its expertise with auxiliary power units and generators with the landing gear experience of Safran. Electric motors would power the main landing gear. Pilots would use brakes as needed, and control the speed and direction of the aircraft the same as when using the main engines. Tugs would not be needed to push the aircraft back.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
From the NBAA convention in Orlando, a look at some new aircraft that are actually flying. NTSB chairman worries about automation causing a lack of professionalism and diminishing safety. Controlling the aircraft with the sound of your voice.
Nextant Aerospace, adding a remanufactured King Air to its remanufactured Hawker 400 offering, says the King Air (Nextant G90XT) will fly early next year.
Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of airports and state advocacy, brought Indiana aviation community members up to date on the association’s initiatives.
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