Aviation Fuel - Page 4 Aviation Articles

Use Caution When Comparing Aircraft Costs

When comparing aircraft costs, understand what costs are included, what costs aren’t, and how the costs are calculated. If you don’t take all three into account, you can end up with cost data, that although technically correct when viewed alone, is an invalid comparison.

Let’s take an easy one. Fuel How much do you spend on fuel? We did this for a benchmark client, asking what their cost per gallon was for fuel at home and on the road, as well as their annual fuel budget. Seemed straightforward until I started looking at the results. At home, several operators reported fuel costs of less than $2.50 per gallon. This was when then national average was over $5 per gallon. I was able to follow up with the operators and I found out two things:

1. These operators had their own fuel farms.

2. The cost of fuel to them was the wholesale cost when the truck pumped the fuel into their storage tanks.

These operators correctly and accurately reported that their fuel cost at home was less than $2.50 per gallon. The cost of the installing and maintaining the fuel tank and operating their fuel truck, as well as the taxes and fees were all excluded from their cost of fuel. Those costs were in the cost of the hangar and grounds throwing that benchmark off as well. So my intent was to arrive at the “Total cost of fuel inclusive of every cost of every item needed to get the fuel into the aircraft tank.” But without a lengthly definition and explanation, how is an operator to know exactly what I need?

When comparing costs, you need to be clear and consistent in what costs are included and how those costs are calculated.

Another area where costs can be reported in disparate ways is maintenance. “What is your cost of maintenance?” is such an open, and loaded question. Do you get your aircraft maintained at a service center? Do you have in-house maintenance staff? Do you have inventory and how/where does that cost get recorded? Did you record the costs as an accrual or as they occurred?

As an example, take a major airframe inspection due every six years on a large business jet. The cost of that inspection is $240,000. As an answer to “what is your cost of maintenance?”, it could be:

1. $240,000 this year as the inspection was done this year ($600 per hour if flew 400 hours)

2. $40,000 per year accrual for six years (or $100 per hour is flying 400 hours each year)

While in our costing we look at the $100 per hour as the cost of the above inspection, neither accounting is incorrect. When comparing costs, we stress using an accrual method. This way the cost of something is allocated over the time it took to accrue that cost.

If budgeting, then you need to look at the timing of the cost. Comparing costs by looking at a budget can be helpful as it shows not only what the costs are expected to be, but when they are likely to occur. If you are evaluating the acquisition of a used aircraft, when the major airframe inspection is next due can be important. So while Both Aircraft A and Aircraft B can have a similar budget, Aircraft B may face that major inspection sooner than Aircraft A. This information is good to know.

Comparing aircraft costs should be done using a fair and consistent method. The timing of major costs should also be considered. While no one method is the best method, the comparison should be done on an “apples-to-apples” basis and then relative differences are what adds meaning to the comparison.

Pilot To Fly Cessna On Fuel From Melted Plastic

Article by Glenn Pew, Contributing Editor, Video Editor
Brought to you by: www.avweb.com

British pilot Jeremy Roswell hopes this November to fly 10,000 miles from Sydney to London in a diesel Cessna 182 burning petroleum fuel processed from waste plastics. The fuel has been developed by Cynar Plc, an Irish company that uses a process called pyrolysis to melt down plastic trash into a petroleum distillate. That product can be separated into various fuels, including a viable aviation fuel, according to the company, which says it has already tested its fuel in cars. Roswell's flight will require more than 1,000 gallons of the fuel to make his flight. And Cynar will require roughly five tons of plastic garbage to make Roswell's fuel. The company says its plastic waste diesel fuel is cleaner than conventional Jet A, its production process is cleaner, still, and it estimates a low cost per gallon in production. That said, it has expressed awareness of some potential limitations.

According to Cynar, its pyrolysis technique, which melts plastics in an anaerobic environment, creates no emissions, and a report published in November 2011 put the cost to produce one gallon of Cyn-Diesel at $1.50. As an aviation fuel, "It'll need testing and trials, but for a diesel engine not going beyond 8,000 feet, it should be fine," Cynar CEO Michael Murray told BusinessGreen.com. Roswell plans to cruise at 5,000 feet, flying roughly 13 hours each day. He will attempt to fit the 10,000-mile trip into a six-day adventure with stops at Darwin, Christmas Island, Sri Lanka, Jordan, and Malta. Roswell told the company his objective is to prove the viability of synthetic fuel made from plastic waste "and by doing so replace the need to use fossil fuels from conventional sources." According to Cynar, there are 26 million tons of plastics feeding U.S. landfills each year, backed by another 15 million tons headed each year to landfills in Europe. Says Murray, "I think [the fuel] can be a viable alternative if the industry adopts diesel-type engines." One plant that already exists in Ireland can process 20 tons of sorted plastics per year, producing 1.5 million gallons of fuel, according to the report titled, "Converting End of Life Plastic into Diesel The Cynar Experience" (PDF).

NBAA Opposes European Court's Ruling on Applicability of EU-ETS

Released by NBAA on December 21, 2011

NBAA Opposes European Court's Ruling on Applicability of EU-ETS

Washington, DC, December 21, 2011 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today expressed strong opposition to a European court's ruling that a new plan by European regulators to tax carbon emissions from aircraft should apply to all aircraft operators across the international aviation community, including those based in the U.S.

In a decision announced today, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said European authorities are authorized to obligate all operators, including the airlines and general aviation, to comply with the program, known as the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS). The court's ruling was made in response to a legal challenge questioning the applicability of EU-ETS to owners and operators of aircraft based in the U.S. NBAA is a party to the lawsuit.

"The court's ruling goes against established policy and long-standing practice when it comes to aviation regulations," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "It appears to set aside the principle, established in the Chicago Convention, that because aviation is a global industry, aviation policies should be developed and implemented on a global basis. Any new standards should be developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization [ICAO], the United Nations body established to set policies for the industry, and in fact, ICAO has been working to develop such standards for aviation emissions. The parties to the lawsuit believe the challenge to the EU-ETS is still warranted, and options are being considered for appealing the court's ruling."

Bolen noted that the court's decision also appears to ignore the 1944 ICAO pact giving nations sovereignty over their own skies. The plan would tax flights from their point of origin rather than from the point they enter European airspace, in effect, taxing flights in airspace outside the EU.

Today's decision from the European court comes as government and industry voices are increasingly raising alarm over the potential for EU regulators' actions to set a damaging precedent.

This month, legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate prohibiting operators of U.S. aircraft from participating in the EU-ETS. That legislation was met with strong support from a coalition of groups, including NBAA, representing nearly all aviation segments. A bill similar to the one introduced in the Senate was passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives in October.

Representatives from the international aviation community have also spoken out against the EU-ETS plan. On November 2, ICAO issued a non-binding statement, approved by 26 of the international body's 36 member states, including the U.S., urging the EU not to include flights by non-EU operators in the ETS.

Although aviation emissions account for just a tiny percentage of carbon emissions from transportation worldwide, the industry has a record of continuous improvement in reducing emissions, and has established goals for increasing fuel efficiency and decreasing emissions in the years to come.

While NBAA will continue to seek a global approach to environmental issues, in the interim, operators should continue complying with EU-ETS-related monitoring, reporting and verification requirements.


Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

Meridian Founder Celebrates Milestones

                                 MERIDIAN FOUNDER CELEBRATES MILESTONES
Teterboro, NJ, December 20, 2011 – J. Kenneth Forester, an early pioneer of private aviation services at Teterboro Airport (TEB) in New Jersey, celebrated his 90th birthday on December 1, 2011. Coincidently, this milestone year also marks the 65th anniversary of his arrival at TEB, the place where Mr. Forester first began his legacy in aviation.

Forester started his aviation career in 1941 when he volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Shortly after graduating from P-38 school in 1943, he was selected for test pilot duty. From 1943 to 1946, he flew most types of US military aircraft, including fighters, bombers, and transports. Of special interest, he flew the first American-made jet (P-59 Airacomet), and the first fighter jet used operationally by the USAAF (P-80 Shooting Star).

 After Forester was discharged from service in 1946, he opened an executive hangar at Teterboro Airport, the first of several business endeavors at TEB that would evolve over the decades into today’s Meridian, a full service private aviation company. In 2002, Forester was honored with the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic award by the FAA, which recognizes aviation maintenance professionals with at least 50 years of experience. In 2008, he was inducted into the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame in recognition of his many contributions to the aviation industry.

Today, Meridian is still family-owned and led by Forester’s son, Kenneth C. Forester, making Meridian the longest continuously operating aviation services company in the New York Metropolitan Area, and the last family-owned business at Teterboro Airport. The legacy of the Forester family is one of love of country and aviation. Following in his father’s footsteps, his son graduated from the USAF Academy and flew the F-102 Delta Dagger during the Vietnam War.

About Meridian:
Meridian is a full-service, private aviation company based in Teterboro, NJ, located just minutes from New York City. The company has earned numerous industry awards and accolades for its outstanding service and state-of-the-art facility. Meridian owns and operates businesses that include Aircraft Management, Aircraft Maintenance, Air Charter, and a world-class Executive Terminal / FBO that was completed in 2006.

For more information, please visit our website at www.meridian.aero or call us at 201-288-5040.


Alternative Aviation Fuels and Their Impact Upon Your Flying

Written by Jeremy R.C. Cox

The single biggest operational expense to you when you fly is the cost of the Jet Fuel that is fed through your engine. Even though the modern gas turbine ‘jet’ engine is significantly different than what was first designed and conceived by its inventors, this type of engine does require a considerable amount of fuel to enable it to achieve the necessary power levels to attain, and sustain flight within the stratosphere.


To illustrate the issue of consumption, and how engine manufacturers have changed the efficiency of their engines, as an example a four-engine Lockheed 'JetStar' from 1961 would burn as much as 1,400 USG of Jet-A fuel per hour. A 2010 Dassault Falcon 7X that flies 60 KTAS faster, provides almost twice as much cabin space, and delivers more than double the range of the vintage JetStar, has an hourly fuel burn of only 380 USG per hour. Obviously price is age related. You can pick-up a pretty decent JetStar for $600,000 U.S.D. or less. The Falcon 7X is going to run you something in the high $30 Mil to mid $40 Mil U.S. Dollar range.


The issue of ‘Peak Oil’ is a controversial one, where many who debate when this event will, or has occurred, are all pretty deeply divided (Peak Oil being the point at which global crude oil production ‘peaks’ and from this point on, the world’s oil supply is in decline and on its way to exhaustion.)


Excluding vegetable and animal oils, nuclear fission, and the combustion of natural renewable materials like wood and grass, virtually all other fuels that are used by combustion engines are derived from underground deposits of dinosaur and prehistoric rotted vegetation juice, more popularly known as fossil fuel. Coal powered the industrial revolution of the 1760’s, mainly thanks to the Scotsman, James Watt and Englishman, Matthew Boulton’s invention of the industrial steam engine. Unfortunately due to its bulkiness, the external combustion steam engine, travel was nowhere near as fast as it is today. It wasn’t until the useful application of petroleum oil as a replacement for coal along with the subsequent refinement of the early internal combustion engine, before air transportation became possible. This occurred at around the same time as Gugliemo Marconi’s communication revolution was underway with his invention of wireless telegraphy. Up until the present day, all subsequent non-military transportation systems have been entirely powered by a non-renewable fossil fuel.


There is now what appears to be a desperate search for both a renewable form of petroleum-like fuel product, and other alternative energy sources. Fortunately for the Green Movement, the ever deepening energy crisis is now proving more effective at meeting their environmental goals, rather than the decades of lobbying that they have been engaged in.


Ethanol distilled from cellulose rich materials like corn, sugar cane, beets, and grasses, etc. is taking up some of the slack found in a diminishing oil supply, but unfortunately this distillate does not contain sufficient calorific value to keep the industrial and transportation engines running at the same pace at which fossil fuels afford them. Scientists continue to seek out the best form of renewable ‘bio-fuel’ for the future. Many experiments with palm oil, soybeans, algae, nuts, animal fat, and other crops have proven successful and yet none of the resulting fuels has emerged as the ‘silver bullet’ answer to the problem.


The USAF, NASA, US Navy, Boeing, Rolls-Royce, GE, Sir Richard Branson, and New Zealand Airlines amongst others, along with the top engineering and research universities around the world, are working on this problem. The USAF in conjunction with NASA is working on a synthetic fuel (Bio-Jet) produced from coal (coal-gas.) The original process was developed by the Nazi’s during World War II, in-part because their fuel supply lines were being pounded by the allied forces. So far the U.S. version of this synthetic fuel when used in Jet Engines has only been successful when it is burnt in a 50/50 ratio of conventional jet fuel to Bio-Jet.


Similar results have been seen by the US Navy where they have managed to brew-up and distil a bio-fuel from a native U.S. flowering plant called Camelina. This renewable fuel must be mixed in a 50/50 ratio with petroleum based jet fuel to attain the heat requirements of their Jet Engines.


Before Sir Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Airlines amongst other enterprises, inked his order for 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, he made Boeing pledge in conjunction with the engine supplier General Electric, that all of the aircraft would be delivered capable of operating on his Virgin Fuels division Bio-Diesel derivatives. These are produced from various renewable sources including Algae, or the nuts from the Brasilian Babassu palm tree. In the Southern Hemisphere Air New Zealand is working in cooperation with Rolls-Royce to encourage the production and use of an Algae derived Bio-Jet fuel.


With ‘Peak Oil’ looming as the main driver for alternative fuels to be developed, the extraction and creation of bio-fuels are becoming more viable, even though they often require more energy to create, than what they produce in combustion. This is because they at least, are renewable.


My prediction for the future is that eventually we shall hit $25 to $30 U.S.D. per Gallon for Jet Fuel. At about this time, Bio or Synthetic Fuels will reach the same production output as current fossil fuel distillation; then the cost per Gallon will stabilize around $15 to $20 U.S.D. per Gallon. Today's national average is $5.68 U.S.D. per Gallon, according to Globalair.com's Aviation Fuel Price Index , therefore you can expect your operating costs to almost quadruple in the next couple of decades or so.


The most desirable solution to how aircraft will be powered in the future is probably electrical power instead of combustible fuels. This is most likely how all motorcars will be powered in the next 50 years, however can we expect the same to be true for all heavier-than-air, high speed jet aircraft as well?

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