There were 28 members, one visiting Rotarian and two guests in attendance on February 26.  Penny Field, visiting Rotarian from Highland Park brought along a guest, Barbara Rubin, and former member Jim Corboy was present. 
There were more reminders about our biggest project of the year, Kids Against Hunger, scheduled for Saturday, March 21st.  All members were encouraged to sign up for one of the three two-hour shifts that day.  If you cannot attend then consider being a sponsor at some level.  The goal is to get 100% of our club involved.
Penny Field invited our members to come to the HP club meeting at noon on March 2, to hear a presentation on Neuro-Bio Feedback.
Happy Buck$ this week came from Rebecca Wolf, John Thomas and Dave Gotaas.
Mark Kotz introduced our speaker, Bruno Esposito, a 35-year aviation enthusiast.  His love for flying and aviation began in 1969, when as a 10-year old, he witnessed the first test flight of the Concorde from his home in Toulouse, France.  As a 20 year old he was living his dream as a fighter pilot for the French Air Force. In 1986 Bruno had set his sights higher and joined the French National Space Center.  He has flown solo over the Atlantic Ocean four times in a single engine plane in commemoration of the early days of airmail.
Mr. Esposito chose to talk about six topics to pique our interest in aviation.  His first topic was ‘airport slots.’  A slot is the right for one landing and takeoff per day at an airport.  The cost of slots at high-traffic airports like Heathrow in London can range from $32.7 to $52 million at an auction.  That can be the cost for one landing and takeoff slot in peak times.
Fuel costs for airlines rose from 13.6% of operating costs in 2003 to 26.1% this year.  With fuel costs going down recently some airlines are extending the service lives of their planes and they are delaying delivery of more fuel-efficient aircraft.  This is due to the narrowing gap between the very expensive new fuel-efficient aircraft and the higher operating costs of older jets.
Airplanes are frequently thought of as big polluters, however Bruno pointed out that while all the flights worldwide produce 705 million tons of CO2, however humans are responsible for 36 billion tons of CO2 per year.  The latest versions of both Boeing and Airbus models use less than a gallon of fuel per 100 passenger kilometers.   By 2050 the net aviation carbon emissions will likely be half of what they were in 2005.
The aviation industry is a major contributor to the global economy.  Airbus is predicting a growth rate that will create the need for over 30,000 new aircraft, while Boeing is projecting a need for over 33,000 new planes.  The cost for these two company’s new aircraft is estimated at over nine billion dollars.  Most (just under 40%) will go to countries in the Asia Pacific region, where it is predicted that China will have the largest traffic flow in less than 20 years.
One of the challenges for air traffic will be presence drones.  There is an ever-growing demand for commercial drones.  The drone industry will add many new jobs to our economy.  Bruno said that drones are a natural extension of what has happened in the cockpit over the past 60 years.  We have gradually moved from a cockpit crew of five to a crew of two, and in some cases only one pilot.  The aviation industry has estimated that the vast majority of accidents (70 – 90%)
involving planes are due to human errors.  With all of the advances in technology Bruno posed two questions – “Do we still need a pilot in the plane and do we need human air traffic controllers?”
The final topic Bruno covered was air traffic management.  He said we are moving toward a satellite-based system from our current ground-based radar system.  GPS technology will be used to shorten routes and reduce traffic delays, which will lead to savings in time and fuel.  Also, planes will be able to fly closer together and avoid airport “stacking” as planes wait for runways to become available.  In the U.S. this new system is called the NextGen system; Europe has a similar initiative in development.
Bruno predicted that the airline industry would continue to grow, provide safer, quieter and more fuel-efficient transportation.  To move along this path we need a highly educated populace that can be trained for high skill jobs if the U.S. and Europe are to remain the prime drivers of this vital industry.