More sustainable operation as well as safety and the minimization of noise emissions on and around the airfields are important criteria for future General Aviation:
According to US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) statistics, engine failure is listed as the third in the top 10 leading causes of fatal accidents in general aviation.
Top 10 Causes of Fatal Accidents in General Aviation 2001-2016 (FAA, USA):
loss of control in flight (pilot error)
Controlled flight into terrain (pilot loses reference to terrain, pilot error)
System component failure - engine failure (technical error)
Fuel related engine failure
Unknown or indeterminate
System component failure - non-engine
Accidental flight in instrument flight conditions
collisions in the air
low altitude operations
Engine failure takes first place among the technical causes of fatal aircraft accidents!
Due to engine failures during the flight and the resulting dangerous and possibly fatal consequences for pilots and passengers, one of the most important starting points is therefore to make flying airplanes safer.
This also applies in particular to single-engine instrument flights, where the pilot and passengers have hardly a chance to survive if the engine fails without sight.
2. Noise Emissions
The awareness of the noise pollution of airport neighbors is constantly increasing. It can be observed worldwide that airfield residents are mobilizing due to the noise pollution in order to restrict or completely stop flight activities on the airfields. A central argument of local residents and activist groups is the pollution caused by noise, and that for the fun of a few who can afford it.
In order for leisure and private aviation to survive and thrive in this challenging environment, it is imperative that solutions are found to address noise pollution.
Especially in times when quiet electric cars significantly reduce noise pollution, aviation must also reduce noise emissions from aircraft as quickly as possible.
We have to act before next airfields are closed due to high noise emissions, or before operating times at airfields are reduced even further.
3. Exhaust Emissions
Aviation is increasingly being questioned by environmental protection groups and public institutions worldwide. The relatively high fuel consumption and suboptimal combustion in older engines, as well as that of most AVGAS with environmentally harmful additives such as lead, which is still used in aircraft engines, gives reason to urgently provide solutions for the future.
35 years after the introduction of catalytic converters for car engines, they are still not found in aircraft engines. Although leaded fuel was banned from the road more than 20 years ago, most sport aircraft worldwide still fly with leaded AVGAS.
The trend towards electric drives is a step in the right direction. However, the very slow increase in the available battery energy densities and the associated enormous weight of the batteries shows that most of the flight requirements of general aviation will probably not be able to be met with battery-electric operation in the coming years.
4. Maintaining the Usual Range and Flight Performance
Even the most economical aircraft with low engine power are equipped with tanks from 70 liters or more. This means a minimum flight time of 4 hours and a range of at least 800 km. A drive power of around 70 hp is assumed for the cruising flight.
The vast majority of general aviation pilots see this as a minimum requirement when purchasing an aircraft.
Only a small fraction of these requirements can be achieved with batteries or hydrogen for the next 25-30 years or longer.
for NEW and for EXISTING aircraft
5. For all NEW and for all EXISTING AIRCRAFT
If a new propulsion system is only suitable for new aircraft and new aircraft types, then it will take dec-ades after the propulsion and all its components have been implemented and new aircraft are devel-oped, produced and old aircraft are replaced. It would take many decades before changes in terms of environmental pollution can be reached.
In order to achieve noticeable changes in terms of environmental pollution as soon as possible, it is very important that new propulsion systems are also suitable for equipping existing aircraft types and hundreds of thousands of existing aircraft.
6. Time is the Key: Implementation in the Next Few Years !
It's nice to hope and dream, but we need the solutions in the short term,
... not just in 30 years !
There is currently no known technology that can do this. We therefore need a bridging technology for the next 30 years and even longer in order to be able to find solutions as quickly as possible.