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Swiss pilots on round-the-world 'green' mission

+VIDEO Two Swiss pilots are a quarter of the way through flying around the world on a ‘green’ mission.

Robin Wenger and Matthias Niederhäuser are flying a Jet-A burning Diamond DA50 RG and hope to achieve net-zero carbon emissions through green initiatives and technologies, mainly using Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

They lead a team of nine young pilots who call themselves Diamondo Earthrounding, a non-profit initiative, based in Switzerland.

Robin and Matt departed from Zurich on 2 January 2022, heading east to visit multiple airports, cities and sustainable initiatives.

Their mission is to connect worldwide projects for sustainable aviation, raise awareness of sustainable technologies and how to utilise them as well as aim to accelerate aviation’s path to net-zero carbon emissions.

Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) is key to greener aviation, they believe, so the crew are visiting, documenting and reporting from sites critical to the production of SAF.

Since departure, the pair have completed layovers to initiatives in Austria, UAE and India. In Austria, they called in Diamond Aircraft’s HQ at Weiner Neustadt.

“Building light and aerodynamically clean airframes equipped with fuel-efficient engines need to proceed any discussion on SAF,” said Robin. “We feel privileged to be operating the modern Diamond DA50 RG platform for our mission.”

In the UAE, the crew visited and overflew the enormous Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The arid climate of the UAE favors the production of electricity by solar energy. This energy can subsequently power the production of green hydrogen, a key component required to produce synthetic SAF.

“Seeing the abundance of solar energy available, the desert of the UAE really is the perfect spot to harvest this potential and divert part of it towards synthetic SAF production,” said Matt.

The crew’s journey continued onwards to India, where they inaugurated the Aerodrome Reference Point (ARP) of Noida International Airport, currently under construction in the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh.

“Constructing a greenfield airport provides the team at Noida the opportunity to incorporate sustainability right from the beginning,” said Matt.

“But it’s a chance which has to be taken and we are delighted to see Noida stood up to the challenge and is following a holistic and thus ambitious net-zero carbon emission philosophy from day 1 onwards.”

Diamondo Earthrounding

Matt and Robin are flying a Diamond DA50 RG

Robin and Matt are currently in Thailand, where the DA50 aircraft is undergoing scheduled maintenance. The two pilots claim that they have covered the first quarter of their trip on SAF, despite not fuelling the DA50 with SAF blended jet fuel once this far.

They are operating ‘Book and Claim’, a system created by Swiss HQ’d Jet Aviation, a worldwide chain of FBOs. Through ‘Book and Claim’, the same amount of jet fuel that is fuelled into the DA50 flows into the global aviation system as SAF at locations where it is available.

In total, more than 40 companies support Diamondo Earthrounding. In addition, generous private patrons keep the team flying and Robin and Matt allocate 10% of every patron donation into scaling up sustainable initiatives they are visiting.

After Thailand, Diamondo Earthrounding will prepare to cross the Pacific heading to the USA from west to east with a loop including two initiatives in the Caribbean.

Diamondo Earthrounding Facts & Figures 

  • Journey dates: 2 Jan to 22 April 2022 (Earth Day)
  • Duration: 111 days
  • Aircraft: Diamond Aircraft DA50 RG
  • Direction of travel: East
  • Distance: 51,000 kilometers
  • Flight time: 230 hours
  • Airports: 73, in 35 countries
  • Crew: 2

Diamondo Earthrounding

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