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Rolls-Royce and EasyJet set new world first

Rolls-Royce and EasyJet this week confirmed they have set a new aviation milestone with the world’s first run of a modern aero engine on hydrogen. The ground test was conducted on an early concept demonstrator using green hydrogen created by wind and tidal power. It marks a major step towards proving that hydrogen could be a zero carbon aviation fuel of the future. The test took place at an outdoor test facility at MoD Boscombe Down, UK, using a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine. The partnership plans a series of further rig tests leading up to a full-scale ground test of a Rolls-Royce Pearl 15 jet engine.

EasyJet joined the UN Race to Zero campaign in November 2021 and has recently published its roadmap to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The roadmap with a focus on new technology also features a combination of fleet renewal, operational efficiencies, airspace modernization, Sustainable Aviation Fuel and carbon removal technology. Additionally, it includes an interim carbon emissions intensity reduction target of 35% by 2035. Since 2000, EasyJet has already reduced its carbon emissions per passenger, per kilometer by one-third.


AIR OPS 2023

AIR OPS is Europe’s premier event for business aviation flight operations professionals, where ground handlers, airports and FBOs come to do business with trip-planners and operators. AIR OPS 2023 will be a two-day event, preceded by a flightops training day, taking place on 13, 14 and 15 February 2023 in Brussels. It will feature an exhibition, along with practical training opportunities and information sessions. 40 exhibitors will meet more than 400 participants to find the latest operational information critical to their job function, discover new vendors and suppliers, attend topicals training sessions and network with peers.


NBAA applauds FAA for registration extension

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has welcomed the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) direct final rule to extend the duration of aircraft registration certificates from three to seven years. “The new rule comes with tangible benefits that will help drive convenience and efficiency for business aircraft owners,” said NBAA Director of Flight Operations and Regulations Brian Koester.

The policy change provides two types of relief for aircraft owners. First, the change to a seven-year registration period will greatly reduce the number of applications for ownership renewals awaiting FAA approval at any given time, thereby drawing down the agency’s administrative burden, and expediting the approval of renewals. Second, the rule expands authority for aircraft owners to operate beyond the registration renewal date from 90 days following expiration to 12 months – a timeframe that should cover any renewal delays stemming from agency backlogs.

The rule expected to take effect in 60 days. The change will apply to all aircraft currently registered under existing FAA regulations.


People: Helicopter pioneer Frank Robinson passes

Victor CEOs Toby Edwards (left) and James Farley (right)

On November 12, 2022 Robinson Helicopter Company bid a final farewell to its founder, Frank Robinson. Robinson, 92, passed away peacefully at his Rolling Hills, California home. One of the most recognizable names in the helicopter industry, Frank Robinson was a pioneer, a man not driven by reward or accolades but by a vision that redefined the industry and forever changed general aviation. Robinson will be remembered for the design and manufacture of the R22, R44, and R66 model helicopters. Known for their simplicity and reliability, the popular helicopters can be spotted easily and frequently all over the world.

Robinson’s fascination with helicopters began in 1939, at age nine, when he saw a picture in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of Igor Sikorsky hovering his VS-300 helicopter, an image that captivated Robinson and set the course for his life’s work. He earned a BSME degree from the University of Washington, later attending Wichita State University’s graduate aeronautical engineering school. His career began in the late ‘50s with Cessna and continued through the ‘60s working for many leading aerospace companies, including Bell and Hughes. In 1973, at age forty-three, unable to interest any of his employers in the idea for a simple, personal helicopter, he resigned from his job at Hughes and founded Robinson Helicopter Company in his Palos Verdes, California home. Six years later, defying critics and overcoming enormous obstacles, Robinson was granted FAA certification for his two-place, piston powered R22 helicopter. The unknown helicopter company delivered its first production R22 in October 1979. By 1989, the R22 had gained a foothold in general aviation, opening a previously untapped market. Robinson’s relentless determination earned him the respect of both colleagues and competitors. Robinson retired in 2010 at age 80. Today, the company continues under the leadership of Frank’s son, Kurt Robinson and, to date, has delivered over 13,000 helicopters worldwide.

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