A flight around the world with one goal: linking initiatives accelerating sustainable aviation. In December, we told you about this very special mission by Diamondo Earthrounding: Two pilots (Matt & Robin) who set out on this great journey in a five-seater airplane. In the meantime, they have passed another milestone; their longest flight leg across the Pacific from Hawaii to California. We are proud to have been able to support them in this achievement with our Mission Support and congratulate them sincerely.
Why do you need a Mission Support in aviation?
Whenever a SWISS long-haul flight is airborne, it receives assistance from our Mission Support Division. Our Mission Support Experts follow the flights virtually from the Operations Control Center at Zurich Airport, inform the pilots of any new developments, and give them timely notice of any emerging weather trends. Being a partner of Diamondo Earthrounding, SWISS Mission Support has also been keeping an eye on the Diamondo flights over the Pacific.
Challenges & preparations
After visiting three sustainability initiatives in January 2022 (Video from their visit to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai here), the Diamondo crew faced the challenge of crossing the Pacific Ocean from Asia to the US West Coast in February. While the DA50 is without doubt a very capable aircraft, crossing large bodies of water in a small propeller driven aircraft always takes some extra considerations.
First off, and even with the ferry tanks installed to extend the DA50’s range, the crew relied on the islands and atolls of the Pacific to stay within the safe limits of their aircraft. Respecting Covid entry restrictions in certain locations, the Diamondo team decided to cross the Pacific from Malaysia to Palau and onwards to Guam from where they flew to Majuro on the Marshall Islands and further to Hawaii before completing the crossing with their longest leg to California, measuring over 3700km. A total of five flights were conducted over the span of 3 weeks.
The role of our Mission Support
Winds play a crucial role in choosing the day and also the route to fly. Therefore, prior to each departure, the SWISS Mission Support provided the weather information on which the Diamondo team planned the flight routes. The most up to date wind components were sent to Matt and Robin by text messages through satellite communication on an hourly basis. Apart from winds, SWISS Mission Support used further weather products to inform the crew about trends, especially thunderstorm formations or areas of strong precipitation. Whenever deemed necessary, Mission Support or the crew asked for a call through satellite phone to discuss more complex emerging weather conditions.
An apparent urge for Sustainable Aviation Fuel
Crossing the Pacific also brought Robin and Matt to regions already impacted by climate change, e.g. the Marshall Islands which are forced to adapt to rising sea levels. While the nation made up of islands and atolls relies on air travel for connectivity, Matt and Robin report the urge for sustainable aviation became apparent even during their short layover. Arriving in California, the crew is thus even more grateful to be able to fuel Sustainable Aviation Fuel into the DA50 at both Monterey and Van Nuys airport. Latter airport is also the location where the same amount of SAF flows into the aviation system as used by Diamondo Earthrounding’s circumnavigation.
After leaving the United States, the Diamondo Earthrounding journey continues through Latin America and the Caribbean. Here, Matt and Robin will stop and report from climate protection initiatives of myclimate, with which they offset the remaining emissions of their journey and where also money collected from our passengers through Compensaid flows into. Stay tuned for more on Diamondo Earthrounding and sustainable initiatives for aviation.
If you wish to support the young aviators on their journey, make sure to visit the Patron section of their website.
Who and what is Diamondo Earthrounding?
Diamondo Earthrounding, a non-profit initiative, driven by a team of nine young aviators, has departed Zurich, Switzerland on January 2nd, 2022 (see here). The founding partners and pilots, Robin and Matt are flying in 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. By motivating more people to invest voluntarily into sustainable solutions when flying, they aim to accelerate aviation’s path to net-zero carbon emissions.