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Laboratoire Océan Vital
Laboratoire Océan Vital

This Biofuel Plane Will Make the First Carbon-Free Flight Across the Atlantic

Laboratoire Océan Vital
Laboratoire Océan Vital

Flying isn't known for being the most earth-friendly mode of travel: One round-trip flight from New York to Europe adds about two to three tons of carbon dioxide to each passenger's carbon footprint. But as reported by Mashable, when Raphaël Dinelli makes his historic flight from New York to Paris aboard a biofuel plane in June, that figure will be practically zero.

Dinelli is a pilot, scientist, and founder of the alternative energy-focused company Laboratoire Océan Vital. The company's self-proclaimed "zero-emissions" plane, the Eraole, has been seven years in the making. The aircraft runs on an electric engine powered by solar cells panelling the wings, and a special biofuel made from micro algae takes over whenever sunlight's in short supply. The Eraole was built to be super lightweight, and 20 percent of its flying power comes from straight gliding alone.

Dinelli will face plenty of challenges after launching the world's first carbon-free transatlantic flight this summer. For one, the whole journey will last about 60 hours, making it even longer than Charles Lindbergh's historic flight across the Atlantic in 1927. The cabin won't be pressurized, so Dinelli will be running on 30 percent less oxygen than usual. And because the Eraole doesn't include an autopilot feature, he'll have to stay awake for the entire duration of the trip. Dinelli is less worried about sleep deprivation—something he learned to deal with during his 25 years as a solo sailor—than he is about leg room. The cockpit is so cramped that his mobility will be severely limited, impacting the blood flow to his legs.

Though the exact date of Dinelli's departure has yet to be announced, the plan is to take flight sometime in June of this year. If the journey is successful, a two-seat commercial version of the plane from the company may be soon to follow.

[h/t Mashable]

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Animals
Meet Piper: The Border Collie Making a Michigan Airport Safer for Travelers
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Birds may look harmless on solid ground, but in the sky they pose a big threat to any aircraft crossing their path. The Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan, uses a low-tech approach to the problem: a border collie named Piper.

Great Big Story profiled Piper and his handler, airport operations supervisor Brian Edwards, in a recent video. Piper’s job as the airport’s wildlife control canine is chasing away large birds that could strike incoming and outgoing planes, potentially causing anything from dents to engine failure. In Michigan, this usually means large waterfowl like ducks and geese, but it can also include crows, gulls, and snowy owls.

After he’s deployed from a moving car, Piper heads for the birds, scattering them away from the tarmac and teaching them to associate the area with predators. Piper is just doing what most border collies would do in the presence of a flock of birds, only in this case he gets to wear stylish protective goggles while following his instincts.

You can watch the full story below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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travel
How to Win a Year of Free Flights From JetBlue
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JetBlue has an enticing offer for anyone resolving to travel more in 2018: Customers who book a non-refundable flight before December 15 will be automatically entered to win the airline's All You Can Jet Pass, Thrillist reports. That means a full year of free unlimited flights to 100 destinations in the U.S. and beyond.

If you already have, or are planning to, purchase a flight in the first half of December, no further steps are required: You're automatically in the running to receive one of the three available passes. And if you have no upcoming flights to book but a bad case of wanderlust, you’re also invited to enter. To do so, just mail a letter with your full printed name, address, phone numbers, and email address to: All You Can Jet Sweepstakes, Centra 360, 1400 Old Country Road, Suite 417, Westbury, NY 11590.

The randomly selected winner can start flying for free as soon as February 1, 2018.

All You Can Jet Pass flyers won’t be able to book multiple flights departing from the same city on the same day, and change and cancellation fees will still apply. Other than that, they can travel without limitations. Travelers get a complimentary plus-one for each flight they book, and they’re free to change their travel companion from trip to trip. There are zero blackout dates, so even on the busiest travel days of the year, winners can fly without paying a cent.

The free year of travel ends January 31, 2019. If they’re smart with their time, it’s possible for winners to visit every one of JetBlue's 100 destinations, including Jamaica, Los Angeles, and the Dominican Republic, by the time their pass expires. The only thing they'll need to worry about is finding the energy for all that travel.

[h/t Thrillist]

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