Aim High ‘Sustainable Futures’ Writing Competition Winner – Ugne Stanzyte

By Ugne Stanzyte

Contrary to popular belief, sustainability is not so much about saving the environment as finding harmony between protecting our planet, keeping its people happy and supporting its economy. This delicate balance is the true goal of sustainability and achieving it would enable us to provide for the current generation without compromising the needs of future generations. As the international mindset shifts towards acting on climate crisis, countries are pushed to set ambitious carbon and temperature targets. The Paris Agreement, an International treaty, aims to limit warming to ‘well below 2°C, preferably 1.5°C’. There is an urgent need for innovation if we are to meet these targets.

By 2050 the aviation industry will be responsible for 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Having set itself ambitious targets, aviation is a hotspot for developing sustainable technologies. Throughout the programme, one thing that stood out to me is how much humanity has already progressed in the way of sustainable flight. Despite many scientists’ pessimism, progress is being made everyday and I believe we are well on our way to a greener future.

One emerging technology is electric training aircraft, like the eFlyer from Bye Aerospace. These aircraft are already available to order and are scheduled for certification later this year; Skybourne Airline Academy has ordered 10 aircraft, due to arrive in autumn 2022. I was fortunate enough to hear the company’s co-founder, Ian Cooper, explain the benefits of this investment. The eFlyer runs on 100% electricity, generated by renewable sources meaning it produces no emissions except during manufacture, compared to 75kg CO2/hr for the Cessna 172, a popular training aircraft. In fact, Bye Aerospace estimates the eFlyer will eliminate five million tons of CO2 generated every year during pilot training. This is over 0.5% of global annual CO2 aviation emissions.

As well as reducing carbon emissions directly, replacing aging technology with new designs means efficiency is greatly increased: the eFlyer’s lift-to-drag ratio is twice that of the Cessna 172. Additionally, maintenance is less frequent and there is no requirement, as with fuel-driven aircraft, to replace the engine every 2,000 flight hours. This saves time, cost and reduces waste. Ian Cooper highlighted the fact that the eFlyer costs 25% less to run and about the same to buy as their previous training aircraft. This is a crucial point as students can learn to fly for less, opening the industry to more people and supporting the growing demand for airline pilots.

Investing in electric training aircraft like the eFlyer is just a small part of what we can do right now to build a brighter, more sustainable future. I believe that we are capable of implementing more solutions today than many people realise. If authorities made small changes like requiring flying schools to partially upgrade to electric aircraft, thousands of tons of CO2 could be saved whilst lowering flying costs. Changes like these, though small, are imperative if we are to find the perfect balance between planet, people and profit.

References:

  • https://electricflyer.com/
  • https://www.futureflight.aero/aircraft-program/eflyer
  • https://www.pilotcareernews.com/skyborne-orders-ten-all-electric-aircraft-for-training-pilots/
  • https://ourworldindata.org/co2-emissions-from-aviation
  • https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Sector-summary-Aviation.pdf
  • https://www.atag.org/facts-figures.html

Back in February, Fly2Help ran its Aim High Sustainable Futures Programme.

Thirty one teenagers took part in three days of talks by inspirational speakers such as DfT Aviation Ambassador, Jake Brattle, Paul Mahy-Rhodes MEIT, and representatives from Rolls-Royce, Lockheed Martin, Flyby Technology, Electroflight, Skyborne, ZeroAvia, UK Research and Innovation, TEKTowr, and the Royal Aeronautical Society.

The Aviation Base contributed by producing learning materials for the students to tie all the talks together, and born out of this was a writing competition based on the ‘3 Pillars’ of Sustainability. The 500-word articles were judged and the winner was awarded £500 worth of gliding lessons.

Fly2Help will be running another Sustainable Futures programme in October, so if you would like to be involved or know any teenagers that might benefit, please get in touch with them.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in All Articles, Sustainability, Technological Developments
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