Aviation currently accounts for around 2.5% of carbon emissions around the world. Our historic aircraft were built many decades ago using the technology and standards of the time, so our opportunities to reduce their carbon emissions are limited. The Historic Army Aircraft Flight has therefore been investigating how we can mitigate the carbon produced by our flying and operational activities, whilst ensuring that we continue to work to best advice from recognised industry bodies.
The Flight is extremely proud to announce that in 2022 we achieved our target of net zero carbon emissions. We care about the incredible communities we serve and live in and we want to keep them healthy and beautiful for generations to come. Our goal now is to be the most sustainable aviation charity.
A Carbon Neutral Britain
The Historic Army Aircraft Flight has chosen to work with Carbon Neutral Britain to directly offset the carbon emissions that we produce, and we have recently received our certification.
“We are proud to announce that we have partnered with Carbon Neutral Britain to offset our carbon footprint. Our partnership will achieve 5 tonnes of carbon offset and plant 30 trees each month in sustainable projects around the world, including within the UK. All of the offsetting projects use carbon credits purchased through United Nations Certified Emission Reductions programmes, industry recognised credits audited and verified by the UN and ratified in the Kyoto Protocol”. Julian Hickman, COO of the Historic Army Aircraft Flight.
The Historic Flight regularly participates in air display activities and we embrace the British Air Display Association’s (BADA) environmental sustainability charter.
BADA’s approach is wider than purely the carbon emissions produced by our display flying activities. It also covers passenger travel, a reduction in single use items and ensures that our contractors are in line with our green approach.
The Environmental Challenges
There are a number of unique challenges faced by operators of historic aircraft.
Removing barriers to flight
We are very keen to use our carbon offsetting to demonstrate that we are a responsible organisation and that people can fly with us as passengers without further damaging the environment. We therefore always ask our passengers and partners to be environmentally considerate of their own carbon footprint.
Innovation for the future
The Flight’s largest source of green house gas emissions impacting our climate comes from our use of traditional jet and piston engine fuel. Apart from offsetting our carbon footprint, there is little else we can do at this time to reduce the emissions caused by our flying operations. However, industry advancements in this field will hopefully see us eventually transitioning to a more environmentally friendly and sustainable fuel.
Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is an alternative to fossil fuels, emitting up to 80% less carbon on a lifecycle basis. As the cleanest fuel substitute for traditional jet fuel, SAF is the fastest and most effective way to reduce Green House Gas emissions.
In the past, battlefield reconnaissance was typically conducted by Army aeroplanes and helicopters. Although these proved to be very effective, advancements in technology have allowed the British Army to operate electric drones, such as the Desert Hawk III, with more types about to be introduced into service.
These environmentally friendly and highly effective platforms safely gain intelligence of the area of conflict and provide an exciting future for those embarking on a military career.