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Plenty of automakers have backgrounds in aircraft manufacturing. BMW, Bristol, Mitsubishi, Saab and Spyker all started out in the airplane business. But Honda is going the opposite direction, expanding its automotive (not to mention motorcycle, ATV, marine engine and power equipment) business with the launch of the HondaJet. And that project has just taken a big step forward.

The CAFE Foundation has announced that Google will sponsor the NASA Centennial Challenge flight competition known as the Green Flight Challenge (GFC). The CAFE Foundation (which here stands for Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency) will host the event from September 25 through October 2 at Sonoma County Airport in California. The NASA-funded prize purse of $1.65 million is thought to be the largest ever for a non-spaceflight aviation challenge.

One way to reduce the fuel consumption of a car is to reduce its weight. It turns out that this formula works wonders in the sky as well. The Eclipse 500 is a twin-engined jet aircraft which just set a new record as the fastest jet under 10,000 pounds. Perhaps more importantly, the Eclipse jet used approximately 25 percent less fuel than the Cessna Citation Mustang which had set the previous mark just a month earlier.

What does air turbulence have to do with saving fuel? Well, when an airline is aware of sufficiently bad turbulence in a particular area, they often fly around it instead of through it. By altering their course, they are using more fuel. But, a new system is in the works which may alleviate some of this course-alteration. The system, designed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), is now being tested by United Airlines on commercial flights. The system uses an advanced algorithm

European low-cost airline EasyJet got some attention last week with their proposal to build a new, cleaner emissions jet and now they are striking out against their competitors. As fairly recent entrant to the airline business, EasyJet has a fleet average age of only 2.2 years old, but many other smaller or established airlines have some very old aircraft. As with older cars, older aircraft tend to use a lot more fuel and pollute more.