The Anonymous Widower

Climate Change ‘May Curb Growth In UK Flying’

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is an extract.

The advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recently said the UK’s planned increase in aviation would need to be curbed to restrict CO2.

Now a senior civil servant has told a green group that means ministers may have to review aviation strategy.

The green group now feels that Parliament should reconsider Heathrow expansion.

It seems a compulsive argument.

My belief, is that if we restrict flying, that other countries like Chjina, India, Russia and the United States won’t so we’ll be the loser in terms of tourism and jobs making products for export, as we’ll be increasingly isolated.

But we must make the carbon footprint of flying as small as possible.

Things we should do include.

Make Airside At All Airports Carbon Free

Some airports are going this way by using electric vehicles on the air-side.

It is most certainly possible and even battery electric tugs, that can more the largest aircraft are becoming available.

I also believe that doing this will be in an advantage to an airport, as where travellers have a choice, they may be more likely to use a low-carbon airport.

Calculate And Publish Carbon Footprints For All Airports

Included would be the carbon-dioxide and other emissions, generated by the following.

  • Air-side vehicles
  • Travellers going to and from the airport
  • Workers going to and from the airport
  • Airport and aircraft supplies going to the airport
  • Waste coming from the airport.

I have not considered the aircraft deliberately.

Provide All Airports With A Rail Link

It is a scandal that some airports do not have a rail link to their nearest towns and cities, so travellers often have to drive.

The technology now exists to build a train, tram or tram-train link to most of those airports that lack a decent low-carbon link.

Complete High Speed Two

High Speed Two must be completed to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds

Links to lines like the East and West Coast Main Lines must also be added, so that journey times are reduced and capacity is increased from London and Southern England to Northern England and Scotland.

Extend Crossrail To Ebbsfleet For Trains To And From Europe

Crossrail’s big design fault is that it doesn’t serve trains to and from Europe.

Extending Crossrail to Ebbsfleet will make it easier for those travelling between the Greater South-East of England and the Near Continent to use a direct train.

More Cross-Channel Train Services

I have taken Eurostar to Amsterdam three times and the four-hour journey is a much more pleasant and less stressful experience, than the flight of a  shorter duration.

Currently, Eurostar are looking at services between London and Bordeaux, Geneva, Colgne and Frankfurt.

These are probably the only current services that would be viable, but if they are successful, I can see others added to the list.

Should Extra Platforms Be Built At Ebbsfleet?

St. Pancras International station has six International platforms and a departure hall that gets very crowded at times.

I believe that as more services are added between St. Pancras and the Continent, that there will come a time in the next ten years, where serious expansion will be needed.

Would it be easier to add extra capacity at Ebbsfleet?

Travellers would use an extended Crossrail for connecting journeys.

Build A Rail Bridge To Northern Ireland And Link It To The West Coast Main Line

After High Speed Two opens to Crewe, this would enable a rail journey between London and Belfast in four hours, with Dublin in five.

Turn-Up-And-Go Services On All High Speed Lines

At the present time, most rail journeys have to be planned in advance.

But we now live in an I-Want-It-Now society!

Say a client phones up from Burnley with a problem with your product that needs a visit, they would often expect you to get there as soon as possible.

At the present time you would drive.

But once High Speed Two is running to Preston from Euston, it would surely be quicker to use the train.

If trains were four trains per hour (tph) to Preston and ticketing was as simple as London’s current contactless system, you might drop everything and go immediately.

If this type of service were to be made available on High Speed Two, I can’t see any reason, why it should not be available on the UK’s other high speed routes.

  • London to York, Newcastle and Edinburgh on the East Coast Main Line.
  • London to Leeds on the East Coast Main Line.
  • London to Bristol and Cardiff on the Great Western Main Line.
  • London to Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance on the Great Western Main Line.
  • London to Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield on the Midland Main Line
  • London to Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel.
  • Liverpool to Manchester, Leeds, York and Newcastle on Northern Powerhouse Rail.
  • Liverpool to Manchester, Sheffield, Doncaster and Hull on Northern Powerhouse Rail.

I am using the definition that a high speed line is one capable of running st a speed of at least 125 mph for much of the time.

I also think that some other lines will be upgraded to 100 mph-plus lines and given four tph and higher operation speeds.

  • London to Exeter via Newbury.
  • London to Exeter via Basingstoke
  • London to Portsmouth on the Portsmouth Direct Line.
  • London to Southampton and Bournemiuth
  • London to Chester and Holyhead on the West Coast Main Line and the North Wales Main Line.
  • London to Banbury, Warwick and Birmingham on the Chiltern Main Line.
  • London to Kings Lynn on the East Coast Main Line.
  • London to Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich on the Great Eastern Main Line
  • Ashford to Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth on the East and West Coastways.
  • Peterborough to Lincoln and Doncaster on the Great Northern Great Eastern Joint Line

The drive to faster services will be enabled by the following.

  • The availability of affordable 125 mph bi-mode trains from manufacturers like Bombardier, Hitachi, Stadler,and others.
  • Trains capable of fast stops at stations.
  • Relaying of tracks for higher speeds.
  • Removal of historic bottlenecks.
  • Digital signalling throughout the country.

As an example, Greater Anglia expect their new Class 745 trains to go between London and Norwich in ninety minutes. I feel these trains could be capable of higher speed and I would expect ten minutes to be shaved off this route by running faster North of Colchester.

Step-Free Access At All Stations

This must encourage more travellers.

Intelligent Car Parking For Electric Cars

At a station car park, you would leave your electric car plugged in to the parking space.

  • You will have told the car by means of an app or a voice recognition system, when you will be returning and how much charge you want in the car at that time.
  • Whilst you are away, your car’s battery will become part of the UK’s energy storage, just as it does at home during the night.
  • If the wind and sun are behaving, your car’s battery like millions of others will be used to store excess power.
  • In times of need, the grid will borrow your power, but still ensuring you have enough power for your next journey.

Get the system right and I believe that lending of your energy storage will reduce the cost of parking.

Integrated Rail, Road And Air Ticketing

Let’s say for an example you want to go from Chelmsford in England to Orleans in France. Currently, you have to look up rail and air journeys on separate web sites. But suppose a site said it would be xx pounds and yy hours by rail,road or air or a combination of any two and the journey would create cc kilos of carbon dioxide, it would surely be easiest to book what is best for you, your wallet and your ecological conscience.

Always Travel Like James Cameron

James Cameron, the illustrious BBC journalist, said that you should make two piles of the clothes you are taking on a trip, with half your trousers, shirts, jumpers etc in each pile. Then pack them in separate cases and leave one behind. He also said you should work out how much money you will need and double it.

These days, I travel very light and haven’t put anything in the hold of an aircraft for nearly ten years. My late wife; C was the same and on a week’s trip to say Italy we only needed one small case between us, that was below the Ryanair cabin baggage limit at the time.

I see people flying with cases, that are big enough for a small person to live in.

If I was in charge of the world, I would impose an excessive baggage tax.

Duty-Free Should Be Banned From Flights

I never buy anything from duty-free, except perhaps a very small present for my granddaughter, that fits in a jacket pocket.

If all passengers on a two hundred seat aircraft bought a litre bottle of gin on their return flight from Spain, that adds a fifth of a tonne to the payload.

  • How much extra carbon dioxide and other pollutants are produced by the pointless benefit of duty-free?
  • There are also other reasons that duty-free should be banned. For a start, if passengers have to be evacuated from an aircraft, they tend to create havoc by recovering their duty-free.
  • If there were no duty-free, the space saved could be used for more worthwhile purposes.

So let’s ban this silly practice!

It would be better to buy it on entry to a country!

An Interim Conclusion

We could do lots more things like this to reduce the carbon footprints of airports and travel to and from the airport. I will add more in the future.

My choice of actions are designed to do the following.

  • Persuade travellers to use rail instead of flying for shorter journeys.
  • Get to and from the airport in a low-carbon manner.
  • Reduce the cost of shorter distance travel and getting to and from the airport.
  • Nudge travellers to prepare themselves for flying, such that the planes use less fuel.

I obviously haven’t said anything about the actual flying.

Low-Carbon Flying

These are a few thoughts.

Electric Aircraft

To get any aircraft into the air needs a lot of power. People, who say that electric aircraft are possible, are probably living in a fantasy world, as the batteries will add more weight to the aircraft, that would mean more energy would be needed to get the plane into the air.

Airliners Must Be Well-Designed Lightweight Structures

All sailplanes are built out of lightweight plastic or carbon fibre, as flying without an engine is even more difficult.

This section called Design, is from the Wikipedia entry for the Airbus A320 aircraft.

The Airbus A320 family are narrow-body (single-aisle) aircraft with a retractable tricycle landing gear and are powered by two wing pylon-mounted turbofan engines. After the oil price rises of the 1970s, Airbus needed to minimise the trip fuel costs of the A320. To that end, it adopted composite primary structures, centre-of-gravity control using fuel, glass cockpit (EFIS) and a two-crew flight deck.

Airbus claimed the 737-300 burns 35% more fuel and has a 16% higher operating cost per seat than the V2500-powered A320.[87] A 150-seat A320 burns 11,608 kg (25,591 lb) of jet fuel over 2,151 nmi (3,984 km) (between Los Angeles and New York City), or 2.43 L/100 km (97 mpg‑US) per seat with a 0.8 kg/L fuel.[88] Its wing is long and thin, offering better aerodynamic efficiency because of the higher aspect ratio than the competing 737 and MD-80.

Note how much more fuel-efficient the early A320 was compared to the best 737 at the time.

Quite frankly, the fifty-year-old design of the Boeing 737 is not fit for the modern world and all of these aircraft should be retired.

Boeing’s troubles with the 737 MAX 8 are a symptom of trying to stretch an obsolete design to match the lightweight engineering of Airbus.

In fact Boeing’s management must be totally stupid, as they have the success of the lightweight Boeing 787 staring them in the face.

Lighter Aircraft Mean Less Power And Less Fuel

There is a virtuous circle with aircraft.

  • Make an aircraft lighter and more aerodynamics and it needs less power to get it into the air and keep flying.
  • A less powerful aircraft will need less fuel to fly a given distance.
  • If a plane needs less fuel, it can carry more passengers or freight.

Airbus with their A320 and Boeing with their 787 seem to be going round this circle, and they will get better with each improvement.

Boeing need to get a modern design of smaller aircraft in this virtuous circle, so they can compete.

Old Inefficient Aircraft Must Be Phased Out

Airlines are flying a lot of aircraft like 737s and 747s, that probably make a lot of money, but in terms of carbon dioxide and other pollutants emitted for each passenger-mile are way above average.

All these inefficient aircraft should be retired and replaced as soon as possible.

New Engine Technology

When I was at University in the 1960s, one of the big stories was Rolls-Royce and their development of the RB-211 engine with its carbon-fibre fan blades.. The carbon-fibre fan blades are now history, but the design of the RB-211 lives on in the successful Trent engine.

Note that the Trent can power all versions of the Boeing 787.

Rolls-Royce have succeeded because they have been able to continuously develop their unique three-spool design, which offers a shorter and more efficient engine.

The Wikipedia entry of the Rolls-Royce Trent engine shows the company has developed engines to fit each new aircraft in turn.

There is also a section on Future Development, where this is said.

On 26 February 2014, Rolls-Royce detailed its Trent future developments. The Advance is the first design could be ready from the end of the 2010s and aim to offer at least 20% better fuel burn than the first generation of Trents. Next is the UltraFan, which could be ready for service from 2025, a geared turbofan with a variable pitch fan system, promising at least 25% improvement in fuel burn.

I doubt the rival companies to Rolls-Royce are sitting queitly, twiddling their thumbs. Although being American, they may be following Boeing’s lead on air-frames and hoping that the old technology is good enough.

In my view, if they don’t come up with new more efficient engines, they’ll go the way of the dinosaurs.

Carbon-Emissions Per Passenger-Mile Will Drop

As new and better aircraft are developed, the amount of carbon-emissions and other pollutants will drop per passenger-mile.

But all older polluting airlines will have to be properly retired and not passed on to those third rate carriers; Air Neck End and Air Suicide.

 

Aviation Fuel Should Be Taxed

Aircraft use a lot of jet fuel and it is not taxed on a world-wide basis.

Do Eurostar and LNER pay tax on the electricity they use?

  • So does this give airlines a cost advantage, when offering services on a route like London to Edinburgh, where trains and planes compete.
  • Looking at flying easyJet to Edinburgh tomorrow morning, the flight is about half the rail fare.
  • What would the difference be if easyJet and LNER had the same fuel tax regime?

The airline industry maintains that tax on fuel would make flying too expensive for a lot of travellers.

But they would say that wouldn’t they!

Government Help

In the UK, these routes are some shorter routes, where train and plane can compete.

  • London and Edinburgh
  • London and Glasgow
  • London and Newcastle
  • London and Cornwall

Government can help to create a level playing field.

  • It can create a fair and equal tax regime.
  • It can fund rail improvements, so there are sufficient paths for extra trains.
  • It can fund better links to airports from city centres.
  • It can allow airport expansion if needed.
  • It could make it compulsory for airlines to offer carbon offsetting, when buying a ticket.
  • Could we see Governments banning flights of under four hundred miles?

I suspect that the aviation industry might not like some decisions.

The Eurostar Effect On Shorter Flights

Eurostar have been very successful in attracting passengers on their original routes away from airlines.

Wikipedia says this about their market share in 2007.

n 2007, it achieved record market shares of 71% for London–Paris and 65% for London–Brussels routes.

But I can see a time, when many passengers on flights of about 400 miles or less, will use high speed rail.

In Trains Ordered For 2021 Launch Of ‘High-Quality, Low Fare’ London – Edinburgh Service, I talked about FirstGroup’s new London-Edinburgh service.

  • London to Edinburgh is 400 miles.
  • The service will be run by new trains.
  • The new service will also serve Morpeth, Newcastle and Stevenage.
  • The time between city centres are probably comparable.
  • FirstGroup have said they are targetting low cost airlines.

It will be interesting to see how the low-cost airlines react and perform!

London-Edinburgh And Berlin-Munich Compared

I am comparing these two routes because they are both within a smidgen of four hundred miles.

  • The fastest trains on both routes take around four hours.
  • The UK route has a directnine-car  train every half-hour and this frequency will get higher.
  • The German route has a directsix-car  train every few hours.

In From Berlin To Munich In Four Hours By Train, I describe a trip on the German route.

In the next few years, many countries will follow the lead set by China, France, Italy, Japan and Spain and develop high speed lines between cities a few hundred miles apart.

Even the USA is getting in on the act, although Trump doesn’t give any support. I wonder, if he’s ever been on a train!

What Passengers Will Do!

I say will do, but some are already doing these things.

Take The Train On Shorter Journeys

I have noted that some of my friends, who used to always fly from London to Brussels, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Paris are increasingly taking the train.

As more and more city-pairs have a direct and convenient rail service, passengers will look seriously at it, as an alternative.

But it has to be convenient! I have gone three times to Amsterdam on Eurostar, but I’ve always come back by another route, as customs are not convenient, when returning from the Netherlands.

Fly Direct From Your Local Airport

Several respected web sites say that if you fly direct, rather than change, this is a more environmentally-friendly way to fly.

Passengers Will Choose Their Aircraft Carefully

\safety will be the main reason and I doubt, I would ever fly in a Boeing 737 MAX.

But if say I was flying between London and Boston, I would choose a Boeing 787 over a Boeing 747, as I suspect the older aircraft has a bigger carbon footprint.

Use An Airport With Good Public Transport Connections

Why spend a fortune to park your car at the airport, when you could get there in the same time using a train from a local station?

Carbon Offseting Your Journey

All ways of booking airline tickets must be mandated to offer carbon offsetting for any flights booked.

I would also make it illegal to give frequent flyer points to travellers, who didn’t add carbon offsetting!

I’ve met so many travellers, who consider their frequent flyer points are more important than anything else when they fly.

Conclusion

The aviation industry won’t like it, but with some clever worldwide legislation, flying can be made a lot more environmentally friendly.

 

 

 

 

May 12, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Airliners Built To Take Lightning Strikes – Like The One That Hit A Plane On Sunday

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on stuff.co.nz.

The article was written over a year ago and doesn’t refer to the Moscow crash on Sunday, but an incident in New Zealand.

This is the first two paragraphs.

Passengers on a Sunday flight to Wellington “screamed” when lightning hit their plane, but lightning strikes on aircraft are not unusual and airliners are built to take it.

It is many years since a lightning strike was implicated in a deadly crash by an airliner, and lessons learned in the past have been incorporated into the design of modern planes.

The article should reassure those who worry about flying when there are thunderstorms around.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Who’ll Want To Fly In A Sukhoi Superjet?

I have just read the Wikipedia entry for the Sukhoi Superjet

After reading the sad tale of the jet that crashed in flames in Moscow on Sunday, I have been telling my friends and family, that flying in these aircraft is not a prudent thing to do.

May 7, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Boeing 737: Much More Than Just The Max

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on cnet.

It is a serious history, that explains how Boeing ended up in their current position.

I will still take a lot of persuading to fly in one!

The Sunday Times today has an article which is entitled Boeing Biggest Worry: Who’ll Want To Fly In A 737 Max?

Enough said!

I can see Internet designers putting together easy-to-use web sites to help passengers avoid aircraft they don’t like. There are some now, but they are rather clunky and you need to be fairly tech-savvy.

May 5, 2019 Posted by | Computing, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Ryanair One Of Europe’s Top Polluters, EU Data Suggests

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These are the first three paragraphs.

Ryanair has become the only airline to be included in a list of Europe’s top 10 polluters, according to data from the EU’s Transport & Environment group.

It is the first time a company that does not run a coal-fired power plant has come near the top of the ranking.

Seven plants in Germany and one in both Poland and Bulgaria were on the list.

Will Michael O’Leary be annoyed, that he was beaten by nine coal-fired power stations?

April 2, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Newquay Link With Heathrow Takes Off Courtesy Of Taxpayer

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

From next weekend air travellers will be given the equivalent of a £5 bung, courtesy of the taxpayer, to use Newquay airport in Cornwall for four flights a day both ways to Heathrow.

The article describes how the service is run under a Public Aervice Obligation or PSO.

Other air services in the UK run on this basis include.

  • Stansted to Derry
  • Stansted to Dundee

Similar subsidies are used in the EU and the United States.

This Google Map shows Newquay (indicated by a red marker,and the airport.

The town and the airport are about 4.3 miles apart.

This Google Map shows the centre of Newquay.

Note Newquay station in the middle of the town close to the beach.

  • How rare to see a coastal town with a well-placed station.
  • It does seem that in the Summer, there are more than just a rudimentary local service to the town.
  • In the Summer, there are also long distance services, to London, Manchester and Scotland.

I also think, that GWR might run one of their shortened HSTs to the town from perhaps Exeter with upmarket service on board.

So I have to ask, the question, if the a subsidy for the air service is really necessary?

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

And We Think Crossrail’s Got Problems

Berlin Brandenburg Airport is Berlin’s new airport, that was planned to replace all the current ones.

This is the last paragraph of the introduction in the Wikipedia entry.

After almost 15 years of planning, construction began in 2006. Originally planned to open in October 2011, the airport has encountered a series of delays and cost overruns. These were due to poor construction planning, execution, management, and corruption.[9] Autumn 2020 became the new target for the official opening date[12][13] as 2019 became too improbable.[15][16] A new TÜV report published in November 2017 suggested that the opening could even be delayed until 2021.

Crossrail could be up to two years late, but it looks like this airport could be up to ten!

But then major projects seem to be missing deadlines all over Europe. Even Spurs didn’t get their stadium ready on time!

March 25, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pilots: New Boeing Like Rodeo Ride

The title of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

The article gives quotes from experienced pilots.

These pilots give me little confidence in the aircraft.

I doubt, I’ll ever knowingly book a flight in any Boeing 737 MAX

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Have Boeing Gone As Far As They Can With The 737?

As a Control Engineer, who has spent a working life, solving mathematical problems, I am tending to think that in trying to stretch a fifty-year-old conventional design to match an all-composite one from Airbus, where fuel is noved around to balance the aircraft, Boeing have reached the end of the road and need a new aircraft.

They realised this with larger aircraft and produced the Dreamliner, which has been successful.

March 13, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment

Don’t Pay Extra For Seats (Unless It’s Ryanair)

The ritle of this post is the same as that of an article in today’s copy of The Times.

It said that if you don’t pay for seats on a flight nine out of ten get to sitwith their travelling companions.

However, if you don’t pay on Tyanair, more than half were seated away from their friends.

I never pay, but in most cases I travel alone!

It all looks like another reason to not fly Ryanair!

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment