Although fluctuations in fuel prices are likely to play a strong part in the prosperity of commercial and private airline operators, there are other considerations that are being made to produce fleets that are sustainable from an ecological and a fiscal standpoint. While radial engines are a staple to many efficient airplanes, developments with the turbine engine, such as the Pratt and Whitney PT6A, are likely to take the forefront in green flying.
This is partially due to the precise design of the PT6A turbine, but also due to the fact that smaller alterations to the fuel delivery to the engine and the aerodynamic capacity of the turbine are likely to produce exponential improvements in function and fuel consumption. Another beneficial aspects for this type of application is the fact that the PT6A is an overall lighter design that can still produce as much a standard 650 hp with as much as 2000 hp as needed. When this is coupled with more aerodynamic and lighter body designs, the result is an efficient flying machine that also reduces waste.
These combinations along with the PT6A turbine are leading the way to an air fleet that is not only more cost effective to operate, but also has a reduced carbon footprint as a result of the following:
- Lowered C02 emissions as a result of fuel modulation
- Less fuel consumption with lighter bodies and strong lift
- Less waste through a better ability to maintain, repair, and overhaul the PT6A turbines
While incentives to generate a more eco-conscious aeronautics industry will continue, these basics are setting the structure for a number of developmental initiatives for both private pilots and for fleet owners.
This can also make decisions about propulsion systems a larger factor in investments concerns for an operational air fleet. As both FAA and EPA standards for aircraft use are likely to continue to trend toward sustainable flying, the foundation of the turbine engine could also make it easier to convert existing fleets to upcoming standards. This versatility can allow for a better investment of initial funds, but can also mean a lowered cost of maintenance and operation of the turbines over time.