The Sky Is Growing Greener

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Pressure for general aviation to clean up its emissions or face restrictions is growing, especially in Europe, and aircraft manufacturers are responding. On Wednesday, Embraer said it will create a new division, the Environmental Strategies and Technologies Office, with the goal "to achieve new levels of sustainable development." There is a growing concern within the company regarding environmental issues, said president and CEO Frederico Fleury Curado. "This is reflected in the products developed by the company, as well as in the environmental policies that are established," he said. Meanwhile, a company in Reno, Nev., called GreenFlight International, earlier this month flew a Czech-built L-39 jet on 100 percent biofuel. The group gradually increased the percentage of biofuel, made from renewable sources, mixed with diesel. Test pilot Carol Sugars said, "The aircraft continued to perform well, giving me the confidence to transition to 100 percent." Flight tests up to 17,000 feet showed no significant difference in performance compared to conventional jet fuel, the company said.

The group plans to fly the jet cross-country to Florida this fall, and to fly a Learjet around the world next year on 100 percent biofuel.