Issue 15, June 2011
bulletFor a Greener Stratosphere 
bulletPure Skies: Lufthansa to be the First Airline to Use Biofuel on Commercial Flights
bulletInterview: Rolf Henke

DLR Executive Board Member for Aeronautics

bulletLightweight, Space-Optimized Seating Comfort for Cleaner Air Travel
bulletModel Aviation Cluster: University and Industry, Hand in Hand in Hamburg
bulletInnovation: Carplane
article1For a Greener Stratosphere: 
Air Travel Made in Germany
This month's GCRI newsletter reports on developments in the German aviation and aeronautics industrial sector. To complement this issue, our Twitter focus will shift from last month's e-mobility theme to news on trends in Germany's aeronautical industry and aviation technologies. Please follow us @GCRI_NY for updates. We will conclude our three-part-mobility series with next month's aerospace issue. Our August issue will focus on biotechnology.
For years, the German aeronautical industry has demonstrated above-average growth. The European aviation safety organization EUROCONTROL predicts that the number of flights in Germany alone will double by 2025 compared with 2003. While this growth generates new jobs and opportunities, challenges relating to increased fuel consumption, noise pollution, and air traffic safety need to be addressed. Programs such as the European research agenda "ACARE-Vision 2020" are working to develop environmentally-friendly and secure solutions to address these challenges. To read more, please click here. Backed by the federal Aeronautical Research Program (LuFo), Lufthansa's burnFair project is one example of a key step towards the Global Aviation Sector's goal of carbon-neutral growth by 2020.

article2Pure Skies: Lufthansa to be the First Airline to Use Biofuel on Commercial Flights
Lufthansa is about to become the world's first airline to use biofuels in long-term flight operations, enabling a comprehensive analysis of biofuel effects. Backed by the German federal Aeronautical Research Program (LuFo), the burnFAIR project is a key step towards the Global Aviation Sector's goal of carbon-neutral growth by 2020. Biosynthetic fuels, produced from sustainable biomass-based raw materials are fully compatible with conventional fuel and require no change in storage or engine design. Single-led flights garnered biofuel approval, but understanding its impact requires long-term tests.

The burnFAIR project involves an Airbus A321 with a 50-50 biofuel-kerosene mixture on one engine traversing the Hamburg-Frankfurt-Hamburg route for 8 daily flights. With half of the 5 million euro government funds designated for Lufthansa's FAIR initiative (Future Aircraft Research) and another estimated 4.1 million euros (in total 6.6 million euros) from Lufthansa, the project will use approximately 800 tons of biofuel and save around 1,500 tons of CO2. Following burnFAIR will be a two-year research project assessing production methods for various fuels and selecting the most promising fuel varieties. To learn more about the FAIR initiative, please click here.

Rolf Henke
article3Interview: Rolf Henke, DLR Executive Board Member

According to Rolf Henke, who joined the German Aerospace Center's (DLR) Executive Board last November, the reduction of noise and pollutant emissions are central components of the activities of aviation research and industry trends in Germany. Prior to his current assignment at the DLR, where he is also responsible for space research and development, Professor Henke taught Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Technical University of Rhineland Westphalia in Aachen. At RWTH Aachen, he also became the director of the Institute of Aerospace Technology (Institut für Luft- und Raumfahrt, ILR). Before joining academia, Professor Henke held various positions at Airbus for more than 20 years, where his responsibilities included flight testing of the Airbus 320, working as Airbus Transnational Coordinator for the "Technology Area Aerodynamics", and heading Airbus High-Lift Technology in 2000. He continues to teach at RWTH Aachen through a special professorship. For a complete biography, please click here.

In this month's GCRI Interview, Professor Henke discusses upcoming trends and challenges in the aviation industry, the eco-efficient use of aircraft, and the benefits of cooperation between research institutions, universities, and industry. To read the interview, please click here.

To learn more about the DLR, Germany's national research center for aeronautics and space, please visit    


Recaro BL3520
article4Lightweight, Space-Optimized Seating Comfort for Cleaner  Air Travel
The Recaro Aircraft Seat GmbH & Co. KG, based in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, ranks among the world's top three aircraft seat manufacturers. A global market leader in economy class seats, Recaro's recently launched Basic Line 3520 seat contributes significantly to fuel-reduced and environmentally-friendly flight operations. Developed for the new Lufthansa European cabin, at less than 11 kg per seat unit, the BL 3520 economy class seat weighs 30% less than previous models. By the end of 2011, more than 180 aircraft in the Lufthansa Group's short- and medium-range fleet will be retrofitted with 32,000 of these seats. With the aim of reducing airline fuel costs and CO2 emissions, while designing comfortable, space-optimized, and award-winning seats, Recaro engineers developed lighter seat components based on bionic calculations. Innovative netting material replaced conventional foam to significantly reduce the seat's thickness. Patented solutions and new materials were used in several other components.

With more than a 100 years experience in mobile seating, Recaro celebrated its 40th year as an aircraft seat manufacturer with two awards as well as a nomination as a selected German landmark by the Germany - Land of Ideas campaign. This April, the BL 3520 received the Crystal Cabin Award for "Industrial Design/Interior Concept," while Recaro's Air New Zealand Skycouch won in the "Passenger Comfort" category.


HCAT Student and Professor
article5Model Aviation Cluster: University and Industry, Hand-in-Hand in Hamburg

The newly opened Hamburg Centre of Aviation Training (HCAT) combines the know-how and networks of universities, vocational training schools, and the aviation industry in one unique inter-campus cooperative project. Part of the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region Association (Luftfahrtcluster Metropolregion Hamburg e.V.), the HCAT provides a 3,000 square-meter building where teaching, research, and real-world practice focus on specialist training in the fields of avionics/electronics, modern production processes, cabins, and cabin systems. Directly aligned with the aviation industry's needs, the HCAT trains participating students in the latest technologies. As an innovative infrastructure project, the HCAT represents another building block in the Cluster's effort to further enhance Hamburg's reputation as an aviation technology training center.

Formed in January 2011, the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region Association includes Airbus, Lufthansa Technik, Hamburg Airport, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the small business associations Hanse-Aerospace and HECAS, Hamburg's tertiary institutions (HAW, HSU, TUHH, and University of Hamburg), the Center of Applied Aeronautical Research (ZAL), the Ministry of Economy, Transport and Innovation, the Hamburg Business Corporation (HWF), and the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI). Combining industry with government and academic institutions lends the organization core competencies in all areas of aircraft construction, aircraft maintenance and airport operations. For more information, please click here.


article6Innovation: Carplane - A Road-Air Vehicle

Imagine the daily commute without transfers, exits, congestion, or missed connections. As an aircraft that can also drive on roads, the Carplane® will head for its destination in a beeline without detours or stop-and-go traffic. Located in Lower Saxony, Germany, and under the general management of Angela Fleck, herself a pilot, the Carplane GmbH is in the process of building such a dual-mode vehicle. Designed as a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), requiring only 20 hours of instruction to fly, commercial applications will include recreation, business travel, and emergency service.

To overcome various challenges of ground and air travel, the Carplane® concept embodies many innovations. As an electric vehicle in road-mode, the Carplane® promises to be an environmentally-friendly mode of transportation. The air-mode combustion motor uses premium fuel and operates at low RPM with relatively low consumption, noise and emissions. With twin, aerodynamically-shaped hulls (one for each occupant), swing-wings which are stowed between the hulls while driving, and an extendable tail, the Carplane® optimizes lift in air-mode and generates downforce in road-mode, thereby enabling autobahn speeds. This efficiency in design allows for a predicted take-off and landing roll of just 93 yards (85 meters) as well as top cruise and road speeds of 136 mph (118 kts) and 109 mph (176km/h) respectively. To watch a video and to learn more, please click here.