JUNE 12, 2007 — Delta Air Lines’ contribution of facilities, aircraft, and personnel to support aircraft emissions research has drawn praise from a leading aviation environmental research organization.
Dr. Philip Whitefield, a lead investigator for the Partnership for AiR Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction Project 9 "Measurement of Emissions," and a Professor at the University of Missouri-Rolla, said that Delta’s assistance with the landmark emissions measurement study, “was a valuable contribution of time, effort, and expertise, and confirms Delta’s concern for the environment.”
Delta placed its Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport maintenance facility and six commercial aircraft at PARTNER’s disposal for the study, which is seeking to identify composition and characteristics of aviation emissions and determine their health impact. PARTNER is a cooperative research organization sponsored by the FAA, NASA, and Transport Canada, and is an FAA Center of Excellence. Its research fosters technological, operational, policy, and workforce advances that improve mobility, economy, national security, and the environment.
Delta provided PARTNER researchers with Boeing MD-88, 767, and 757 aircraft equipped with General Electric and Pratt & Whitney engines. Using mobile laboratories operated by the University of Missouri-Rolla, Aerodyne Research, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, researchers placed sensors in proximity to the exhaust nozzles, the engines were cycled through various operating conditions, and particulate emissions were recorded.
Whitefield said, “Delta made possible one of the first opportunities to measure particulate emissions from in-service commercial transports. The GAO has recommended creation of a strategic framework for addressing emissions from aviation-related sources, and the FAA has responded by proposing creation of a national particulate roadmap. With Delta’s support, we now have reached the first milestone in this process.”
PARTNER director Professor Ian Waitz of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said, “It is through studies such as this that we can quantify the effects of aviation emissions, and ensure that the development of future technologies, operational strategies and policies rests on a foundation of better knowledge. Delta’s contribution not only represented a considerable technical resource, it set a significant example that we hope will encourage others to participate in environmental studies and evaluations.” He added that PARTNER is continuing its research to further understand PM sources and their impact on air quality and human health.
PARTNER, which is headquartered at MIT, comprises 12 universities, and approximately 50 advisory board members. The latter include aerospace manufacturers, airlines, airports, national, state and local government, professional and trade associations, non-governmental organizations and community groups, united in the desire to foster collaboration and consensus in advancing environmental performance, efficiency, safety and security.