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SAS Develops New Fuel-Saving Landing Method

August 17, 2009 By: Jena Tesse Fox


Scandinavian airline SAS has said it has designed a new landing method which could radically cut fuel emissions.

The technique involves planes gliding into land by following a satellite-mapped route, and could save 100 kilograms of fuel for a twin-engine jet.

This is the equivalent of around 300 kilograms of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere when the fuel is burnt, the company said.

The new landing method involves an aircraft’s engines being put into neutral during landing, letting the plane glide in following a route mapped out for it by satellite. Just before the craft lands, the pilot takes up the controls again.

The traditional method has pilots manually control the craft as it descends in stages over a large area, which uses a huge amount of fuel.

The new technique has so far only been tested in a simulator, but is being tested on a Boeing 737 in Norway.

If civil aviation authorities approve the idea, it could be introduced to airlines run by the Scandinavian group. The group believes the method would be best suited to quieter airports that are surrounded by hills or mountains.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body that assesses climate change, says air transport produces two per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions from humans and 13 per cent of CO2 from transport.

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