Planes to land in neutral under new SAS fuel-saving method

17th Aug 2009
Planes to land in neutral under new SAS fuel-saving method

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 100kg of fuel for a twin-engine jet.

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

“We win on two levels,” said Thomas Midteide, spokesman for SAS Norway, the Norwegian airline run by the group.

“On one hand, we save fuel, on the other, we reduce our emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide).”


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 the idea is approved by civil aviation authorities, it could be introduced to airlines run by the Scandinavian group.

The group believes the method would be best suited to quieter airports which are surrounded by hills or mountains.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body which 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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