2 Swiss pilots fly around the world to advocate for greener aviation
Diamondo Earthrounding, a nonprofit initiative, driven by a team of nine young aviators, departed Zurich, Switzerland, in a Diamond DA50 RG 5-seater aircraft Jan. 2, flying in an easterly direction to visit multiple airports, cities and sustainable initiatives with a mission to connect worldwide projects for sustainable aviation, raise awareness of sustainable technologies and how to utilize them as well as aim to accelerate aviation’s path to net-zero carbon emissions.
The Diamondo Earthrouding Association, founded in 2021, links local solutions together and illustrates that disparate locations favor different solutions to make aviation greener. Diamondo's founding partners and pilots Robin and Matt believe that one of the main pillars for green air transport is sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). During the circumnavigation, and amongst other green initiatives, the crew are therefore visiting, documenting and reporting from sites critical to the production of SAF.
In addition to raising awareness for sustainable technologies, the team also promotes ways of investing in them on a voluntary basis. The Diamondo Earthrounding website offers guidance on how airline passengers, business aviation customers and private pilots can fly with net-zero emissions. Diamondo Earthrounding aspires to motivate more people to use these voluntary platforms and help accelerate aviation’s path to reduced emissions.
Since its departure, the Diamond’s journey has completed layovers to initiatives in Austria, UAE and India. Close to Vienna, the crew has stopped by the production facilities of the aircraft they are flying. “Building light and aerodynamically clean airframes equipped with fuel-efficient engines need to proceed any discussion on SAF,” Robin said. “We, therefore, feel privileged to be operating the modern Diamond DA50 RG platform for our mission.”
In the UAE, the crew visited and overflew the enormous Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The arid climate of the UAE favors the production of electricity by solar energy. This energy can subsequently power the production of green hydrogen, a key component required to produce synthetic SAF. “Seeing the abundance of solar energy available, the desert of the UAE really is the perfect spot to harvest this potential and divert part of it towards synthetic SAF production,” Matt concluded.
The crew's journey continued onwards to India, where they were given the opportunity to inaugurate the Aerodrome Reference Point of Noida International Airport, currently under construction in the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh. “Constructing a greenfield airport provides the team at Noida the opportunity to incorporate sustainability right from the beginning,” Matt said. “But it’s a chance which has to be taken and we are delighted to see Noida stood up to the challenge and are following a holistic and thus ambitious net-zero carbon emission philosophy from day one onwards.”
Robin and Matt are currently in Thailand, where the DA50 aircraft undergoes scheduled maintenance inspections. The two pilots can claim that they have covered the first quarter of their trip on SAF, despite not fueling the DA50 with SAF blended jet fuel once this far. While this seems paradoxical, Jet Aviation’s book-and-claim system makes it possible. Through book and claim, the same amount of jet fuel that is fueled into the DA50 flows into the global aviation system as SAF at locations where it is available.
“Harnessing the strengths of various groups with different talents and skillsets is one of the most effective strategies for bringing scale to innovative problem solving,” said Joao Martins with Jet Aviation. “Just as we support Diamond Earthrounding in connecting and promoting sustainable aviation initiatives in different climatic conditions, they help us raise awareness of the global reach and benefits of book and claim.”
In total, more than 40 companies support Diamondo Earthrounding initiative on various levels. In addition, generous private patrons keep the team flying and Robin and Matt allocate 10 percent of every patron donation into scaling up sustainable initiatives they are visiting.
After Thailand, Diamondo Earthrounding is preparing to cross the Pacific heading to the U.S. from West to East with a loop including two initiatives in the Caribbean. Click here to track the journey.