Well, it’s not a secret anymore.
United Airlines will become the first airline to conduct two trans-Atlantic flights using state-of-the-art flight planning to reduce environmental impact and save fuel. The flights, which will be flown on June 5, 2010 — World Environment Day, as designated by the United Nations — will save nearly 6,400 pounds of fuel and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 20,000 pounds.
The 6,400lbs (about 940 gallons) is only 3% of the fuel used on the Chicago-Frankfurt flight this trial will take place on tomorrow. But 3% adds up…
Here’s a rather verbose explanation of what will take place:
United will utilize Automatic Dependent Surveillance — Broadcast (ADS-B) technology and new procedures based on the Future Air Navigation System (FANS) and a variable Mach cruise approach will be the largest component of the test. Overall, the effort will study the environmental benefits, the costs of leveraging planned technological enhancements, applying aircraft separation procedures and surveillance standards in the busiest corridor of airspace across the North Atlantic. This airspace combines a flexible transition corridor from continental Europe aligned with the oceanic airspace over southern Greenland and the East coast of Canada.
And a nice summary from the Associated Press:
Commercial flights usually stay at a precise altitude. But this flight will drift up and down as much as 3,000 feet. That way the pilots won’t need to burn extra fuel maintaining a precise altitude. It also lets them choose the best altitude depending on wind and other conditions, said Joe Burns, a United captain and managing director of technology and flight tests.
Capitalizing on the green frenzy and saving money on fuel is a smart move by UA. I hope this works out.