Airbus A330 completes first unblended SAF test flight on both engines
Airbus has carried out the world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) flight using an in-service military aircraft.
Undertaken with the help of the Royal Air Force, it is also the first 100% SAF flight of any aircraft type carried out in UK airspace.
An RAF Voyager — the military variant of the Airbus A330 — took to the skies above RAF Brize Norton, England. The flight was a joint endeavour between the RAF, Airbus, the UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence Equipment and Support agency, British aircraft leasing company AirTanker and Rolls-Royce, with the fuel supplied by Air bp.
“True to our purpose of ‘pioneering aerospace’, we have gladly supported the Royal Air Force on this landmark sustainable-fuel test flight,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.
“I commend our UK customer for this achievement which helps pave the way for a sustainable reduction of carbon emissions of our military aircraft fleets. Airbus engineers have made a significant contribution to this RAF mission by providing on-the-ground expertise in recent weeks and securing the necessary MoD military flight permits,” added Schoellhorn.
The 90-minute return flight from RAF Brize Norton replicated an air-to-air refuelling sortie. The air force said it demonstrated the potential for its future operational capability.
Experimental test pilot and captain of the flight, Jesus Ruiz, said: “From the crew perspective, the SAF operation was ‘transparent’, meaning that no differences were observed operationally. The Test Plan was exhaustive and robust and has allowed us to compare SAF with JET1 culminating in a flight without a single drop of fossil fuel. Teamwork was a key contributor, harmonising experience from Airbus, Rolls-Royce and the RAF. We feel very proud to be a small part of this huge step for sustainable aviation.”