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Airbus Completes First 100% SAF Test Flight

The Royal Air Force (RAF), Airbus and other industry partners conducted the world’s first 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) military flight using an in-service military aircraft. This flight is also the first 100% SAF flight in UK airspace.

Fuel for the flight was provided by Air BP, a joint effort between the RAF, Airbus, the UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence Equipment and Support Agency, British aircraft charter Airtanker and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce.

An RAF Voyager, a military version of the Airbus A330 commercial aircraft, flew at RAF Brize Norto in Oxfordshire, England, on 16 November Wednesday using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel in both engines, paving the way for many developments for the future of military aircraft.

Airbus Defense and Space CEO Michael Schoellhorn said the following about the flight: ‘’Staying true to our cause of pioneering aviation, we gladly supported the Royal Air Force on this important sustainable fuel test flight. I commend our UK client for this achievement helping pave the way for the sustainable reduction of carbon emissions from our military aircraft fleets. Airbus engineers have made a significant contribution to this RAF mission in recent weeks by providing field expertise and obtaining the necessary Department of Defence military flight permits.’’

The 90-minute return flight from RAF Brize Norton, with Airbus, RAF and Rolls-Royce flight test crews flying together, mimicked an air-to-air refuelling sortie, a performance watched by senior RAF and industry representatives. The RAF said it demonstrated the potential of the aircraft’s future operational capability, providing the ability to contribute to UK defence wherever and whenever needed.

Experimental Test Pilot and Flight Captain Jesus Ruiz said: ‘’ From the crew point of view, the SAF operation was ‘transparent’, meaning no operational differences were observed. The Test Plan was comprehensive and robust, allowing us to compare the SAF to the JET1, resulting in a flight without a single drop of fossil fuel. The teamwork that blended the experience of Airbus, Rolls-Royce and the RAF made an important contribution. We are proud to be a small part of this big step towards sustainable aviation.’’

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