Lufthansa Technik delivers Zero-G aircraft back to Novespace

Courtesy: Lufthansa Technik.

Courtesy: Lufthansa Technik.

Having arrived in Hamburg as a former German government aircraft, this very special Airbus A310 has now left Hamburg again in a completely new role. Lufthansa Technik AG has delivered the new Zero-G aircraft to its French owner Novespace following extensive modifications. The former 10+21 “Konrad Adenauer” bearing the registration F-WNOV will operate in the future as a parabolic aircraft in the name of space exploration and technology – in true reflection of the spirit of Franco/German friendship.

Some 1,300 modifications were required in the framework of the conversion program in order to convert the aircraft back to its original factory default state as required by the European aviation authority EASA. The cabin refit then commenced, with the approx. 20 meter long “test area” proving particularly challenging.

This is the area where prospective astronauts will be able in the future to experience weightlessness for the first time, for example, or where scientific investigations will take place. Extra powerful light installations were required in particular for this purpose, with care being taken to ensure that these would not pose a hazard for the “weightless” passengers. Novespace will use the aircraft from its home airport in Bordeaux from May.

According to Christophe Mora, Technical and Operation Director at Novespace: “We chose Lufthansa Technik because they know this aircraft very well, they modified this aircraft a long time ago and have maintained it ever since. They also offered us a good modification and C-check package and today we can see that they have been doing very good work.”

The German Aerospace Center uses the converted Airbus A310 for zero-gravity research. Dr. Ulrike Friedrich, head of parabolic flight projects: “We are very pleased that the new parabolic aircraft is well maintained thanks to the professional collaboration between Novespace and Lufthansa Technik and is now ready for scientific flights, having been fitted with all the necessary conversions. Many researchers are already waiting impatiently to carry out their biological, physical and medical experiments with zero gravity.” The German, French and European Space Agencies are looking forward to their first joint flight campaigns in May.”

One thing is for sure according to Joerg Paisen, Project Manager with responsibility for modifying the new parabolic aircraft at Lufthansa Technik: “The EASA requirements were a real challenge when it came to demonstrating the structural integrity of this aircraft. It is solely down to the good interaction between the customer, engineering planning and the technicians from the different divisions that the project was implemented successfully.” The principle of concurrent engineering was followed, with engineering activities, work planning and manual execution running largely in parallel. A team of 50 technicians was involved directly with the aircraft in Lufthansa Technik’s Hangar 5 in Hamburg.

The new Zero-G aircraft from Novespace was already the third so-called “Special Mission Aircraft” in a row for Lufthansa Technik. Before this, the SOFIA airborne observatory, a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), had been in Hamburg for several months for a major overhaul. And Lufthansa Technik also converted a Lufthansa Airbus A340-300 on behalf of the Federal German Government to an evacuation aircraft for highly contagious Ebola patients in the shortest possible time.

Source: Lufthansa Technik.

A380 ‎first aircraft in Etihad Airways’ fleet to display new livery

For the first time, Etihad Airways unveiled its all-new livery design on its first Airbus A380 at a special ceremony at the Airbus site in Hamburg‎, Germany.

The airline’s first flagship aircraft‎ will now go through its final phase of cabin furnishing, followed by ground and flight tests, before being delivered to the Abu Dhabi based airline towards the end of the year.

Etihad Airways has firm orders for ten A380s and will become the 13th operator of the aircraft.

With 318 orders so far by 19 customers the A380 captures 90 percent of the Very Large Aircraft market. To date over 65 million passengers have already enjoyed the unique experience of flying on board an A380. Every four minutes in the world, an A380 either takes off or lands, and the network is constantly growing.

Source: Airbus.

All media in this article is courtesy of Airbus.

Lufthansa conducts first European scheduled flight using sugar-based biofuel

Courtesy: Deutsche Lufthansa.

Courtesy: Deutsche Lufthansa.

The Lufthansa Group has marked another milestone in its pioneering work in the testing of alternative fuels. Today, Lufthansa flight LH 190 from Frankfurt to Berlin Tegel is being operated using a ten percent blend of the new biofuel component farnesan. This is the first scheduled flight in Europe to run on this fuel mix. Farnesan is a sugar-based bio-kerosene developed jointly by the TOTAL oil group and the U.S.-based biotech company Amyris, which in April of this year received RSB (Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials) Certification.

Today’s flight was preceded by a rig test at Lufthansa Technik’s facility in Hamburg in autumn 2013 as part of the EU’s “Blending Study” project. The tests showed that blending can improve fuel emission characteristics. Farnesan was approved in June 2014 for blending with petroleum-based kerosene.

In order to translate the research projects conducted jointly with universities and business enterprises into practice, the Lufthansa Group also relies on the use of jatropha, an oil-bearing plant that grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Lufthansa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with JatroSolutions GmbH (a subsidiary of EnBW, the third-largest German energy company) to make jatropha production commercially viable. In future, Lufthansa will help the start-up company to set up a raw materials supply chain to ensure the provision of biosynthetic fuel derived from the jatropha plant.

Joachim Buse, Vice President Aviation Biofuel at Lufthansa commented: “In order to secure the supply of aviation biofuel, the requisite raw materials must be cultivated sustainably, at competitive prices. The Lufthansa Group companies therefore place great emphasis on the recognized certification of sustainably produced raw materials and on respecting social and development policy considerations. In JatroSolutions we have found a competent partner who shares our values and our sustainability aspirations.”

These activities are a continuation of the recently concluded “burnFAIR” project. In 2011, Lufthansa became the first airline worldwide to use a biofuel mix in scheduled daily operations when it conducted a six-month test run with an Airbus A321 on the Frankfurt – Hamburg route. The long-term trial was accompanied by detailed measurements of emissions as well as by research on production processes and biomass availability. The final report on burnFAIR is now available for download at

With its Biofuel Strategy 2020, the Lufthansa Group is maintaining its commitment to climate protection. It is actively involved in various initiatives such as SAFUG (Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group) and aireg (Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy in Germany) with a view to setting up a new supply chain for the future provision of the Lufthansa Group with biofuel. Throughout, its key priorities are to certify the cultivation and processing of raw materials and to respect food safety standards and biodiversity.

Source: Deutsche Lufthansa.

Aircraft and honey: Bees are playing a key role in “monitoring” Airbus’ environmental footprint

Courtesy: Airbus.

Courtesy: Airbus.

To help analyze the environmental footprint of its operations at Finkenwerder Airport in Hamburg, Germany, Airbus also produces more than 600 jars of honey per year from beehives on site.

As part of the company’s bio-monitoring efforts, honey from these bees – which collect the pollen and nectar from hundreds of thousands of plants across an approximately 12-square-kilometre area – can provide key data on the quality of surrounding soil, air and water. For example, any metal or chemical deposits in flowers from the surrounding areas would also be detected in the honey.

The honey is sent to an independent laboratory for analysis, with results from this project – which was launched five years ago – showing pollution levels from Airbus facilities are even lower than in the Hamburg city centre, and no higher than other areas.

“We have tested three different parameters this year: wax, pollen and honey, from two different beehive locations,” said Airbus’ fulltime beekeeper Eberhard Schädlich, who was previously an electronics technician with the company. “We are very proud to say that every single result shows pollution levels are well under approved limits.”

The beehives are situated in two locations at Airbus’ Hamburg facilities: near the aircraft paint shop and close to the runway where new-build jetliners carry out flight tests. In total, the tens of thousands of bees in these hives produce more than 160 kg. of honey annually, which is jarred and also given away as presents to customers, suppliers and Airbus staff.

Source: Airbus.