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The Future is Ultralight
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The Future is Ultralight

The Future is Ultralight

Photo: Nino Verdnik

Matevž Lenarčič, extreme pilot, biologist, photographer, nature conservationist, mountain climber and director of the Aerovizija company, is on another mission to fly around the world.

The goals of this mission are set very high, since they combine scientific research and environmental activities.

Matevž Lenarčič departed the Portorož Airport on March 25.

The main participants in the project are Matevž Lenarčič and Dr Griša Močnik. Lenarčič is the most experienced long distance solo flyer in ultralight aircraft in the world and is also a holder of the World Aviator of the Year 2013 Award, while Dr Močnik is a researcher, scientist, physicist, director and head of research at the Aerosol company. The project is a continuation of the hitherto successful aviation and research projects of the GreenLight WorldFlight mission from 2012 and 2013.

This time, Lenarčič will be flying in an ultralight aircraft, Dynamic WT9, manufactured at the Aerospool company in Slovakia. In total, he will spend almost 200 hours in the sky. On his 42,000-kilometre long journey, Lenarčič will make thirteen stops. The longest distance travelled without stopping in some nineteen hours is 4,200 kilometres. Special equipment for measuring black carbon concentrations (Aethalometer) was manufactured and adjusted for this project by the Aerosol company. Along the entire route, the device will be collecting and forwarding data on the quantity, concentration and sources of black carbon. Without such data, it is not possible to determine the significance and the extent of this pollutant, including its contribution to the global worsening of the condition of our planet.

Innovation in black carbon research

Research on such an extensive global and empirical basis is something completely new, not only in Slovenia but also in the world. The data collected will be processed and the findings will be disseminated to the expert and broader public in the form of a study. Between 2016 and 2020, the participants in the mission will implement black carbon research in areas for which no data currently exist and where the pollution impact could have long-term consequences; these areas include the Central Atlantic Ocean, the North Pacific Ocean, Asia, the Bay of Bengal, the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Alps, Russia, China, the Himalayas and Antarctica.

With a refreshed team, new challenges and while advocating the philosophy of balance and care for the environment, space and natural resources, the project further approaches the basic narrative of GREEN SLOVENIA. The GreenLight WorldFlight mission focuses on key solutions for humankind with consideration for the environment and people. In a different, environment-friendly and energy-efficient manner, the project aims at presenting the world as it is seen from the sky. With the aid of top new technologies in the field of aviation and pollutant detection in the air, and particularly due to its innovative approach, the team wishes to make a contribution to the awareness that the quality of the natural environment and the quality of living are in close co-dependence. Research of black carbon, which is one of the key causes of the overheating of the planet, is the central topic of the GreenLight WorldFlight mission. The results of measurements will be used in a scientific study, by means of which the GLWF team wishes to highlight and initiate a debate at the international level about the neglected role of black carbon in global pollution, which causes climate change.

Numerous challenges

Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

The team also wishes to demonstrate how energy (fuel) can be utilised in the most rational way (use of the new economical Rotax 912iS engine) and raise the awareness of the widest circle of national and international public.

GreenLight WorldFlight 2016 presents numerous challenges for the ultralight aircraft, the pilot, team members and partners. The aircraft must function safely when flying at very high or low temperatures and at different altitudes. The new computer-operated Rotax 912iS engine ensures low fuel consumption, which is of the utmost importance. The quantity of fuel aboard such a small aircraft is very limited. Only the ideal combination of weight, thrust and optimum lift ratio will enable the attainment of the goal and the anticipated results. The logistics of obtaining permits for flying and landing in individual countries, the provision of fuel and maintenance service at the anticipated stops is a complex and challenging task.

The mission is also supported by the Slovenian state, which provided important organisational support and contributed to raising awareness of the significance of the mission.

Text by Petra Draškovič Pelc

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