A Second Airbus Military Aircraft Successfully Conducts a Two-Hour Flight Powered by SAF

Airbus chose the C295 as its second military aircraft to be tested with SAF 7 photos
Photo: Airbus
Airbus Conducts SAF Tests With the C295Airbus Conducts SAF Tests With the C295Airbus Conducts SAF Tests With the C295Airbus Conducts SAF Tests With the C295Airbus Conducts SAF Tests With the C295Airbus C295
Undoubtedly one of the leaders when it comes to decarbonizing aviation, Airbus is looking at sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) as a viable solution for both commercial and military operations. After the A400M airlifter took to the sky with green jet fuel in its engines last month, the C295 tactical transport aircraft was next in line.
Airbus has many ambitious plans, and one of them is to achieve 100% SAF capability for all of its military aircraft. This means that they would be able to run entirely on green jet fuel without having to blend it with conventional fuel. This would help reach the ultimate goal of completely decarbonizing military air operations worldwide.

Until that happens, various aircraft are tested using different ratios of SAF. In this case, the C295’s two PW127G engines were filled with 29% blended SAF. The one that was used is a HEFA (Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acid) type, derived from used oils and fats, without the use of Sulphur. It’s supposed to cut emissions by 80% throughout its lifecycle.

The tests were conducted earlier this month at the Airbus San Pablo Plant in Seville, Spain. The blended SAF was used as a drop-in fuel, meaning that no technical modifications were required in order to support it. The tactical transport aircraft wasn’t gearing up for a leisure flight but was supposed to be tested in the most challenging conditions.

The tests showed how the C295 performed while running on this 29% SAF blend. Some of the maneuvers that were performed by the test crew included shutting down and restarting the engine on the flight, a rejected landing, and sudden movements of the power control levers for “intense fuel demands.”

The C295 flew for almost two hours before landing back in the Flight Line. The feedback will be used to take further steps on the path towards 100%SAF-powered military flights.

However, supply is still the biggest issue when it comes to sustainable fuel, according to Airbus. Accounting for only 0.1% of the total fuel production for aviation, green jet fuel is still a precious and, therefore, expensive commodity. Hopefully, that will change in the upcoming years.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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