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Gulfstream Leads Aviation Sustainability With Historic Transatlantic SAF Flight

Pioneering flight from Savannah to Farnborough showcases SAF's viability and Gulfstream's commitment to environmentally conscious aviation.

The Gulfstream G600 used for the 100% SAF transatlantic flight. (Photo: Gulfstream)

In a landmark achievement for sustainable aviation, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced the completion of the world’s first transatlantic flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). This historic flight, conducted on November 19, 2023, signifies a significant leap forward in the aviation industry’s journey toward achieving net-zero carbon emissions.

The Gulfstream G600, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW815GA engines entirely fueled by SAF, embarked on this journey from the company’s headquarters in Savannah, Georgia, and landed at Farnborough Airport in England after nearly seven hours. The flight demonstrates the practical application of SAF and sets a precedent for future long-distance flights utilizing environmentally friendly fuel alternatives.

Gulfstream’s journey in sustainable aviation and its commitment to innovation dates back to the introduction of Gulfstream I (Grumman Gulfstream G-159) in 1958. Today, the company’s fleet, which includes the Gulfstream G280, G650, G650ER, G400, G500, G600, G700, and G800, is supported by General Dynamics.

The company became the first business jet original equipment manufacturer to fly on 100% SAF, underscoring its commitment to leading the industry’s sustainability efforts. This recent transatlantic flight continues Gulfstream’s ongoing work to champion environmental stewardship in aviation.

SAF, primarily composed of Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA), is known for its significantly lower carbon footprint than traditional jet fuels. The specific fuel used in Gulfstream’s transatlantic flight, produced by World Energy and supplied by World Fuel Services, boasts a lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions reduction of at least 70%. Moreover, the zero-added aromatics in this neat HEFA fuel contribute to improved local air quality and have a shallow sulfur content, thereby minimizing non-CO2 environmental impacts.

Mark Burns, President of Gulfstream, emphasized the importance of this flight in the broader context of aviation sustainability. He stated, “One of the keys to reaching business aviation’s long-term decarbonization goals is the broad use of SAF instead of fossil-based jet fuel. Completing this world-class flight helps advance business aviation’s overarching sustainability mission and create positive environmental impacts for future generations.”

The data gathered from this transatlantic flight is invaluable. It will assist Gulfstream and its partners, including Pratt & Whitney Canada, Honeywell, Safran, and Eaton, in evaluating aircraft compatibility with future low-aromatic renewable fuels, especially under challenging conditions like cold temperatures and extended flight durations.

Anthony Rossi, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Pratt & Whitney Canada, lauded Gulfstream’s achievement, highlighting the significance of validating engine compatibility with unblended SAF.

Gulfstream has long been at the forefront of sustainable aviation practices. The Savannah-based company announced in 2021 the construction of a Sustainable Aircraft Service Facility center at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. The new facility, which is still being built, will cover an area of 225,000 square feet and will be in the northeast corner of the airport, close to the start of runway 30R.

Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo
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  • Vincenzo Claudio Piscopo

    Vincenzo graduated in 2019 in Mechanical Engineering with an aeronautical curriculum, focusing his thesis on Human Factors in aircraft maintenance. In 2022 he pursued his master's degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Palermo, Italy. He combines his journalistic activities with his work as a Reliability Engineer at Zetalab.

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