Air New Zealand jet flies high on vegetable oil
Witnessing many highs and lows though the 2008, our globe can look forward to a greener 2009. Sky-rocketing gasoline prices and alarming CO2 levels in our atmosphere has pushed many airliners to experiment with alternative fuel options. One such successful airline has recently completed a two-hour flight in New Zealand. One engine of a Boeing 747-400 airplane was powered by a 50-50 blend of oil from jatropha plants and standard A1 jet fuel. Air New Zealand intends to wear the crown of world’s most environmentally sustainable airline by pursuing such eco-friendly flights options.
The test flight out of Auckland International Airport included a full-power takeoff and cruising to 35,000 feet (10,600 meters), where the crew manually set all four engine controls to check for identical performance readings among the biofuel-powered engine and those using jet fuel. Pilots also switched off the fuel pump for the biofuel engine at 25,000 feet (7,600 meters) “to test the lubricity of the fuel,” ensuring its friction in the pipe did not slow its flow to the engine.