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Watertown airport plans for surge in aircraft landings before solar eclipse

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Watertown airport plans for surge in aircraft landings before solar eclipse

WATERTOWN — Imagine flying into the Watertown International Airport just for the solar eclipse and then flying away when it’s over.

That’s what some people are doing to view the total eclipse in Watertown on April 8.

And if it’s a clear day, the airport could get busy, said Grant W. Sussey, the facility’s manager. Between 100 and 150 small planes and jets could touch down for the eclipse at the county-owned airport in Hounsfield.

“If it’s a rainy day, they’ll go where it’s sunny,” he said. “If it’s sunny, they’ll come here. Unfortunately, it’s a same-day decision.”

Some pilots also could fly above the clouds to watch the eclipse, Sussey said.

As of last week, 65 planes with 130 to 150 people have registered to land at the airport for the eclipse, but that number could skyrocket if the weather cooperates.

In 2017, airports that were in the direct path of the last solar eclipse in the United States were busy that day.

As the days get closer and the weather forecast is more definitive, more solar spectators will decide to land at the airport, he said.

Sussey expects pilots from all over the United States — and possibly around the world — to land at the Watertown International Airport for the eclipse.

“I think it’s very exciting to host the eclipse viewing,” Sussey said.

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An Airbus Jumbo Jet Just Completed Two Flights Powered by Cooking Oil

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Having recently had time called on its 15 years of service, an Airbus A380 just completed some trial flights powered by cooking oil.

The largest passenger jet in the world, a double-decker behemoth just flew a three-hour intra-French test flight on Sustainable Aviation Fuel, or SAF for short.

Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids (HEFA)—SAF’s key ingredient—are definitely not what your doctor would label as a healthy cooking oil, but for powering the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engine on board, it proved successful on March 25th on a French flight from Toulouse to Toulouse, and in a second on March 29th from Toulouse to Nice.

Far from being an introductory step, Airbus craft are already certified under both the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to fly commercially with a blend of 50-50 SAF and kerosene. Nevertheless, the company hopes to achieve 100% SAF authorization by the end of the decade.

“Increasing the use of SAF remains a key pathway to achieving the industry’s ambition of netzero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Airbus in a statement.

First getting paint jobs in 2006, the A380 wasn’t as successful as the company had imagined, and the €25 billion total investment was never recouped over the 251 unit sales Airbus managed. However the 853-seater aircraft completed 800,000 flights over 7.3 million block hours with no fatalities and no hull losses.

They’re also using the discontinued craft to test out three new experimental green hydrogen propulsion systems. SAF is more or less finished as a technology, and requires little adaptation aboard existing passenger jets. Hydrogen, however, would provide a much greater reduction in flight emissions, something the Airbus brass are very interested in investigating.

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