United Airlines flies first commercial jet on sustainable fuel from IAH

Source: By Marcy de Luna, Houston Chroncile • Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2021

United Airlines test flight with 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel takes off from IAH in Houston on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. The airline is hoping to have its whole fleet be sustainable in 2050.

Chicago-based United Airlines on Wednesday launched a test flight of a commercial aircraft on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel in Houston. A Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft circled George Bush Intercontinental Airport for an hour and a half, flying on one engine of the sustainable fuel and a second engine filled with traditional jet fuel to compare the performance and demonstrate that there were no operational issues with the alternative fuel. The 737 aircraft, which seats up to 150, had only two United Airlines pilots on board for the test flight, director of flight testing Ryan Smith and chief test pilot Ty Loutzemheiser. The test flight went smoothly, said Smith, who has 37 years of experience as a pilot. “It went great,” Smith said. “The SAF operated in the airplane exactly as we expected, matching the performance of the jet fuel going into the left engine.”