Air & Space Forces Association | December 05, 2022
History will be made today with the unveiling of the B-21 Raider, America's first new bomber aircraft in more than 30 years. The new bomber the world's first sixth-generation aircraft will be the world's most advanced long-range attack aircraft, capable of reaching any place on Earth on short notice, and of penetrating even the most advanced integrated air defenses.The B-21 has been designed and built to Air Force requirements by Northrop Grumman, and will be the Air Force's first new combat aircraft since 2016, and only the fourth new manned combat aircraft in the past 32 years. Among U.S. allies, only the United States possesses bomber aircraft. Yet existing bombers are, on average, more than 60 years old. Modernizing the bomber force has been a long time U.S. Defense Department and U.S. Air Force priority. The B-21 brings a generational leap in technology, capability, and advanced next-generation stealth to strengthen both nuclear and conventional deterrence—and to fight, and win, if necessary, said AFA Executive Vice President Maj. Gen. Doug Raaberg, USAF (Ret.).In order to deter potential adversaries from risking war, you have to be able to pose a credible threat in response," said Raaberg, who commanded the nation's only B-2 stealth bomber wing when it spearheaded the air campaign for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. "The B-21 is central to our continued ability to deter war because it possesses the ability to penetrate deep into any territory on the globe. As someone who has deployed long-range strike capabilities, I can say with confidence that this aircraft will become the essential backbone of U.S. national security strategy. Its ability to get in, stay in, and kill targets—to hold targets at risk—is how we deter potential adversaries from taking the chance of war with the United States and our allies. The B-21 Raider is set to roll out of Northrop's Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., on Dec. 2, where it will begin the initial testing process. Its first flight is forecast for mid-2023.
JetBlue | December 07, 2022
JetBlue today announces a science-based target approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a coalition that defines and promotes best practices in emissions reduction targets. With this target, JetBlue commits to reducing well-to-wake (lifecycle) scope 1 and 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to jet fuel by 50% per revenue tonne kilometer (RTK) by 2035 from a 2019 base year1. JetBlue’s most aggressive near-term emissions reduction target to-date, this science-based target aligns with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the growing airline’s own goal to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040 10 years ahead of broader airline industry targets. Aligned with SBTi requirements, JetBlue will also regularly review and update this target following any significant change to JetBlue's business or structure. To meet this aggressive near-term target, the airline will increase its investments in lower-carbon solutions within its operation and will evaluate future sustainability investments with its science-based target in mind. JetBlue also recognizes how critical external partners are to decarbonizing the aviation industry and is committed to encouraging and supporting efforts by aircraft and engine manufacturers, governments, regulatory agencies, and fuel suppliers to realize their own GHG emission reduction goals.
“Effectively cutting our per-seat emissions in half will require substantial change to the way we run our business today,Our team is fully committed to hitting the goal, but we can’t do it alone. We are calling on governments, aircraft and engine manufacturers, and fuel producers to support the development of the products and solutions that airlines need to achieve our ambitious goals.”
Robin Hayes chief executive officer, JetBlue
Charting a path to net zero
JetBlue further illustrates its path to achieving its 2035 and net zero goals and contributing factors with its JetBlue Projected Emissions Reduction Pathway (graphic attached). Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is expected to be the key contributor to large-scale lifecycle emissions reduction, which is highly dependent on availability and costs of supply. Advancements in aircraft technology and fuel efficiency represent the second-most significant opportunity for emissions reduction. This includes efficiencies from the airline’s transition to newer and more advanced aircraft, the incremental improvements for aircraft delivered in subsequent years, as well as the potential for broader efficiency improvements for next generation aircraft yet to be developed, but anticipated to be commercially available by the late 2030s or early 2040s. Procedural optimization via Air Traffic Control (ATC) modernization led by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and fine-tuning of the airline’s own operations will also significantly contribute to further emissions reductions. Finally, investing in high-quality carbon removals and offsets is expected to play a role in addressing emissions the airline is unable to avoid. JetBlue is committed to prioritizing the lower-carbon solutions within its operation first, to drive down the need for carbon credits as much as possible. The aviation industry is at a critical time in our push towards net zero. Many of these lower carbon solutions are proven, but still haven’t achieved the scale needed to make a meaningful impact,” said Sara Bogdan, director of sustainability and environmental social governance, JetBlue. “Encouragement of these maturing technologies is needed and the investments we make today will help shape the trajectory of these solutions as they grow to realize their fullest potential. Since 2020 when the airline first outlined its net zero goal, JetBlue has made significant headway in its own sustainability efforts.
Reducing Fuel Burn
JetBlue operates a robust fuel savings strategy that starts with a young, fuel-efficient fleet that reduces emissions from fuel burn, from the outset. Its growing fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft are improving fuel economy by approximately 20%. Further, JetBlue continues to take delivery of Airbus A220s, reducing emissions by up to 35% per seat compared to the aircraft they are replacing. To support fuel efficiency and cost goals, JetBlue is accelerating the retirement of its E190 fleet, with the final E190 aircraft scheduled to exit the fleet in 2025. And to ensure all aircraft are flown efficiently, JetBlue also operates a cross functional Fuel Optimization Team targeting a range of procedural and technology shifts that maximize the efficiency of its flight operations. Due to JetBlue’s fleet and fuel optimization initiatives, the airline is on pace to achieve a 6% improvement in emissions per available seat mile (ASM) in 2022 versus 2019 flying. Further emissions reductions can be achieved by looking at operational airspace and JetBlue continues to advocate for air traffic control modernization (NextGen) efforts. Current Air Traffic Control inefficiencies account for as much as 12% of fuel burn and resulting emissions. One of the most impactful ways to help reduce airline emissions across the industry is transitioning the United States’ aging radar technology with GPS based technology, which would allow for greater efficiency, more consistent flight planning, and as an added benefit, improved on-time performance for all travelers. To reduce the impact on the ground, JetBlue set a public goal to convert 40% of its three most common ground service vehicle types to electric by 2025 and 50% to electric by 2030. In 2019, JetBlue rolled out the largest electric fleet of any carrier at John F. Kennedy International Airport with 118 electric vehicles and continues to roll out electric ground service equipment at other airports including Boston Logan, the airline’s second largest city, and Newark Liberty International Airport.
Transitioning to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
JetBlue views SAF as the most promising avenue for addressing aviation emissions in a meaningful and rapid way – once cost-effective SAF is made available commercially at scale. SAF is a type of renewable fuel that exists today that drops directly into existing aircraft and infrastructure with no impact to safety or performance. SAF can be produced from a wide array of renewable sources such as agricultural wastes and used cooking oils—not fossil fuels—and can lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 80% compared to traditional petroleum-based fuels. Supporting and growing SAF availability is critical to reaching larger industry goals and JetBlue continues to do its part to encourage a diverse and competitive SAF market. The shared focus is necessary to build the economies of scale needed to compete with traditional fuel sources. Since 2020, JetBlue has continued to secure immediate as well as future supplies of SAF on its path to convert 10% of the airline’s total fuel to be SAF by 2030. Since 2020, JetBlue has been flying regularly using SAF from its California airports in Los Angeles and San Francisco, partnering with both currently available SAF suppliers in the U.S., Neste and World Energy. To further encourage a vibrant and competitive market, in 2022 alone, JetBlue has signed agreements with three additional SAF producers for future supply: Aemetis, AIR COMPANY, and Fidelis New Energy. While its 2021 agreement with SG Preston has been terminated, JetBlue will continue to look at future SAF partnerships to grow its SAF portfolio, with a particular interest in encouraging SAF in its Northeast focus cities. Through these existing and future SAF offtake agreements, JetBlue seeks to build a diversified portfolio of future SAF suppliers and feedstocks while continuing to send the message that strong demand for SAF exists.
Advancing the Future of Flight
The airline’s subsidiary, JetBlue Ventures (JBV), continues to invest in and partner with early-stage startups improving travel and hospitality, including those in the sustainable travel space. Referred to as, “the most active startup investor across all airlines in green aviation technologies,” JBV has invested in seven direct and three adjacent sustainability companies to date. The team explores advanced methods of measuring and reducing emissions, technologies that improve environmental protections and encourage sustainable tourism, and game-changing transportation powered by alternative propulsion systems like electric or hydrogen powered commercial aircraft. Most recently, JBV announced an investment in Rubicon Carbon, a next generation carbon solutions provider also backed by TPG Rise Climate.
Refreshed Carbon Offsetting Strategy
Since first setting the airline’s path to net zero, JetBlue has maintained its stance that carbon offsetting is a bridge solution toward greater sustainability efforts that directly reduce air travel emissions. JetBlue is proud to have voluntarily offset more than 11M metric tons of CO2 emissions to date (EOY 2022), including providing domestic and transatlantic carbon neutral flights for all customers from June 2020 to 2022. As lower-carbon solutions within the airline’s operations are made more readily available, the use of carbon offsets was always intended to decrease. While JetBlue still strongly believes there is a role for high-quality carbon offsetting solutions, the airline has elected to not continue its voluntary carbon offsetting of domestic flights into 2023. In place, it will reallocate its offsetting spending into operational investments that align with its science-based target, as well as evolve its offsetting strategy to support a curated list of primarily nature-based projects in and around the destinations the airline serves. JetBlue continues to see value in supporting high-quality projects that truly remove or avoid CO2 and deliver community benefits such as improving local air quality, introducing employment opportunities, and improving biodiversity of local habitats. JetBlue recently joined Rubicon Carbon as a launch partner for their innovative platform that delivers trusted, enterprise-grade solutions for carbon credit purchases. Rubicon Carbon was developed to deliver greater scale, confidence, and innovation across all facets of the carbon markets and meet the growing demand for high-integrity emissions reduction solutions. To further high-quality, high-integrity carbon credit availability in the voluntary carbon market, JetBlue will continue to collaborate with other like-minded organizations and recently joined the Business Alliance to Scale Climate Solutions (BASCS) as the first airline member to open opportunities for investment, policy influence, and discussions with other corporations and NGOS/IGOS in aligned messaging around scaling climate solutions. With the BASCS partnership JetBlue will specifically focus on workstreams seeking to encourage conservation and restoration projects for coastal and oceanic carbon ecosystems – referred to as blue carbon projects – as well as promote learning sessions offering transparency into the standards, methodologies, and corporate guidance initiatives that go into these carbon credit markets.
JetBlue’s Focus on the Environment
JetBlue depends on natural resources and a healthy environment to keep its business running smoothly. Not only do we all rely on those natural resources, but tourism also relies on having beautiful, natural and preserved destinations for customers to visit. The airline focuses on issues that have the potential to impact its business. Customers, crewmembers and community are key to JetBlue's sustainability strategy. Demand from these groups for responsible service is one of the motivations behind changes that help reduce the airline’s carbon output and overall environmental impact. For more on JetBlue’s sustainability initiatives, visit www.jetblue.com/sustainability.
About JetBlue Airways
JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles, Orlando and San Juan. JetBlue carries customers to more than 100 destinations throughout the United States, Latin America, Caribbean, Canada and United Kingdom.
Archer | December 02, 2022
Archer Aviation Inc. today announced that Maker successfully completed its first transition to full wing-borne flight on November 29, 2022. Maker has 12 propellers attached to six booms on a fixed wing. All 12 propellers provide vertical lift during take-off and landing. The forward 6 propellers tilt forward to cruise position to provide propulsion during forward flight, with the wing providing aerodynamic lift like a conventional airplane. During this flight, Maker’s tilt propellers were locked in cruise position for the first time and the aircraft flew at a calibrated airspeed of 91 knots (105 mph). Achieving this full transition milestone is critical to validating the flight physics of Archer’s proprietary 12-tilt-6 propeller configuration that it uses on Maker as well as Midnight, which is the aircraft Archer recently unveiled at its Open House on November 16th and is working to certify with the FAA in late 2024. The success of the Maker flight testing program also demonstrates a number of the key enabling technologies for Midnight, such as the aircraft’s flight control system. The Maker flight test program has generated invaluable data that Archer has leveraged in the development and certification process for Midnight. Archer has made rapid progress on Maker’s flight testing program, completing this transition to fully wing-borne flight in less than 12 months after its first hover flight.
“From day one, Archer’s strategy has always been about finding the most efficient path to commercializing eVTOL aircraft, The data and experience we’ve gathered from Maker’s rigorous flight testing program has been invaluable to the development and certification path of Midnight, and lends further confidence to our belief that Archer will be the first company to certify an eVTOL aircraft in the US with the FAA.”
Adam Goldstein, Archer’s Founder and CEO.
This significant achievement is a testament to the countless hours of design, simulation and wind tunnel testing that our team has conducted behind-the-scenes,” said Dr. Geoff Bower, Archer’s Chief Engineer responsible for overseeing Maker’s flight test campaign. Dr. Bower has over a decade of experience in the eVTOL aircraft industry, during which he has helped design and build four full-scale eVTOL aircraft that have successfully completed flight test campaigns. More technical details from the flight can be found in his recent blog here. “Looking forward to the commercialization of Midnight, we’ll continue to draw upon the incredible findings and lessons learned from Maker’s flight testing program.
Archer is designing and developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for use in urban air mobility networks. Archer’s mission is to unlock the skies, freeing everyone to reimagine how they move and spend time. Archer's team is based in Santa Clara, CA.