King County International Airport / Boeing Field (KCIA / BFI) has an effective noise management program in place that is designed to measure noise levels and reduce the noise with abatement procudures.
Safe departure and arrival routes and procedures are carefully chosen to minimize the noise impact on neighborhoods. Pilots help by following those procedures and routes.
Fuel can impact the environment in two main ways:
- Emissions from combustion
At KCIA / BFI, fuel is kept in safe tanks, and transported to the planes in specialized fuel trucks. Any accidental fuel spill is taken seriously no matter how small, and bins are available to pilots to safely discard all preflight fuel samples they are required to take. The fuel accumulated in those bins gets collected and safely processed.
There are two main fuel types in use:
- Jet Fuel (Jets / Turboprop / Turbodiesel engines)
- AVGAS (standard piston engines)
Any combustion to move vehicles and airplanes, heat houses etc. releases gases into the air that have a health impact and contribute to climate change around the world – governments and industries are very aware of that and are working on solutions with new technologies like low-emission type fuels, electrification of vehicles and airplanes, and heat pumps for the houses we live in, driven by renewable energy like solar and wind.
The electrification of cars and bicycles is now becomiong a reality, but it took a long time to get to that point. Reducing the emissions impact of airplanes is a tall order that can only safely be achieved in many small steps. Some of those steps have already been taken:
- Jet Fuel is a variation of Diesel fuel, and there are already processes in place to produce much of it from renewable sources – the official name is Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). KCIA / BFI already uses SAF to fill up planes!
- An unleaded (UL) version of AVGAS – currently still mostly used in the common 100 octane low lead form (100LL) – has been approved by the FAA. An unleaded 94 octane (94UL) fuel also already exists, but is not compatible with all types of engines.
The road to making the desired 100UL widely available is still longer than it appears and requires patience – there are a lot of technical, buerocratical, logistical and legal complications to be considered when it comes to safely rolling out a fundamental source of energy.
Airports, operators and aircraft owners all support the move to unleaded fuel, just as long as it’s done in a safe way for everyone.
More information about the efforts made at KCIA to help combat climate change can be found on their official website.