Industry

Published on May 20th, 2021 | by Mark Dwyer

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AFTA Chosen As EASA SPO Operator For Green Rebel Marine

The first digital aerial ecology surveys of Irish coastal waters to be undertaken by a domestic company are about to begin following the arrival of a new special mission aircraft owned by Green Rebel Group into Cork Airport. The company is leading efforts to establish Cork Harbour as a Green Energy Hub, beginning with a new partnership between Green Rebel Group, Cork Airport, the Atlantic Flight Training Academy (AFTA) and Weston Aviation. 

Green Rebel Group acquired the aircraft to undertake ecological assessments as part of the planning process for marine renewable energy projects, including offshore wind farms. The new €1.5 million twin-engine Diamond Air DA42 aircraft will be used to survey thousands of square miles of ocean. The DA-42 is the most environmentally-friendly aircraft of its class on the market, in keeping with Green Rebel Group’s mission to reduce the dependence on energy from fossil fuels. The aircraft – with tail registration EI-GRM – will be permanently based at Cork Airport.

With the purchase of this aircraft, Green Rebel Group will be the only domestic Irish company offering digital aerial surveys for ecological assessments associated with marine renewable energy projects. Green Rebel has partnered with AFTA, which will be the specialist operator (SPO) for the aircraft. The aircraft will be based at the Weston Aviation hangar at Cork Airport. Its arrival has resulted in the creation of 15 direct jobs, and there are plans for further job creation over the coming years, which will ensure Cork is one of the leading players in the green energy sector.

Paul Daly (Weston Aviation), Gerry Humphreys (AFTA), Sarah Kandrot (Green Rebel Group) and Niall MacCarthy (Cork Airport) in front of the new survey aircraft EI-GRM.

Each aerial survey flight will generate terabytes of high-quality imagery. In order to store, process, and backup this data, Green Rebel Group has also built a world-class marine data centre. The high-spec server and supporting IT infrastructure are housed in a secure location at the Cork Airport Business Park.  The data will be used to map the abundance of marine wildlife, which is critical to ensure wind farms are built in the most suitable locations.

Sarah Kandrot, Head of Aerial Surveys with Green Rebel Group said: “This aircraft will help us to compile information that will ensure offshore wind farms are built in the best locations to protect the ecology of the ocean. We are delighted that our aircraft has arrived in Cork, which means we can now begin conducting these important surveys. With this aircraft, large sections of the ocean can be surveyed over a shorter period of time than can be achieved with traditional boat-based surveys. Thanks to the ultra high-spec of our camera equipment, our aircraft will be flying at heights that will not cause any disturbance to birds or marine megafauna while at the same time allowing us to collect the highest-quality digital imagery.”

Mick Horgan, CEO of Green Rebel Group said: “I am hugely proud of the Green Rebel team and what they have achieved. We have put together an amazing team of data acquisition specialists and data scientists who are all experts in their respective fields. I have every faith that our aerial survey division will be second to none.”

Mark Casey, CEO of AFTA said: “AFTA are delighted to have been chosen as the SPO operator for the specialist air survey delivery for Green Rebel Marine. It is fantastic to see local investment by GRM in aviation and marine infrastructure creating high quality local jobs for the Munster region. The Special Mission DA42 NG is an environmentally friendly low impact survey and reconnaissance platform. The aircraft is powered by the AE300 aero diesel power plant and can run on 100% Algae based Biofuel. AFTA are proud to be a part of GRMs mission to reduce the dependence on energy from fossil fuels and move towards a sustainable offshore wind energy solution.”

Under EASA rules, Specialised Operations (SPO) means any operation other than commercial air transport where the aircraft is used for specialised activities such as:

  • agriculture
  • construction
  • photography
  • surveying
  • observation and patrol
  • aerial advertisement

Specialised operations are governed by Commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 on air operations.

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About the Author

Mark Dwyer

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.



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