Thunderbirds to Perform First Demo With Alternative Fuel

by Master Sgt. Amaani Lyle, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs. This article originally appeared on www.af.mil

The Thunderbirds will use alternative fuel, unprecedented for any Department of Defense aerial team, at the Joint Services Open House here May 20 and 21, officials said May 18.

The team will fly with Camelina-based hydrotreated renewable jet fuel as part of the nation’s overall strategy to reduce reliance on foreign energy and establish greater energy security through conservation and use of “home grown” alternative energy sources, said Terry Yonkers, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics.

Maintainers signal to returning Thunderbirds pilots May 16, 2011, during a practice run for an upcoming aerial show during the Joint Services Open House May 20 to 21, 2011, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. During the show, the Thunderbirds plan to fly with Camelina-based hydrotreated renewable jet fuel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tiffany Trojca)

Maintainers signal to returning Thunderbirds pilots May 16, 2011, during a practice run for an upcoming aerial show during the Joint Services Open House May 20 to 21, 2011, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. During the show, the Thunderbirds plan to fly with Camelina-based hydrotreated renewable jet fuel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tiffany Trojca)

The economic impact to the Air Force resulting from these types of energy efficiency initiatives could be savings in the “hundreds of millions of dollars on an annual basis,” Mr. Yonkers said.

“We are changing the culture of the Air Force, from our operators to every Airman that’s out there turning lights off and being conscious about energy,” Mr. Yonkers said. “This is going to be another marker for aviation history as these precision teams come out here and do the wonderful things that they do on JP-8 and biofuels and we’re not going to see any difference when they’re sitting in the stands.”

Mr. Yonkers explained the Air Force has, to date, tested and certified biofuel as a 50-percent blend with regular jet fuel in the A-10 Thunderbolt II, the F-15 Eagle, the C-17 Globemaster III, and the F-22 Raptor, adding that fleetwide certification is on track for completion in 2013.

The service continues to test and evaluate biomass fuels derived from camelina, or plant seed oil, beef tallow, or animal fat, and various waste oils and greases.

Members of the demonstration team said the use of “green” fuel fits into the overall Thunderbirds mission and will be transparent to both users and spectators.

“The mission is to represent the pride, precision and professionalism of the nearly 700,000 Airmen of our Air Force … at the same time we are showing the Air Force’s dedication to alternative fuel, so it’s a great opportunity,” said Lt. Col. Case Cunningham, the lead pilot and Thunderbirds commander.

For more information about the Joint Services Open House, visit www.jsoh.org. To learn more about the Thunderbirds, visit http://thunderbirds.airforce.com/.

 

Sign up for Armed with Science email alerts!

About Carla Voorhees

Carla Voorhees has always been interested in science, from the time she grew string beans under varying conditions for the science fair (3rd grade) to the time she took every math and science class she could during high school. As her path during college and beyond took her somewhat away from the hard sciences, she is thrilled to be a part of the Armed With Science team. Carla holds a B.S. in Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2007), and an M.B.A. in Design Strategy from the California College of the Arts (2010). She works as a Web Strategist at DOD Public Web.
This entry was posted in Technology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Hal Z

    The only down side I can see with the use of alternative fuels is that when the Government cedes production to the private sector, the costs will increase astronomically in order for the profits to be made. The costs of corn have skyrocketed due to its use as an alternative fuel source. It is hman nature to gather as much as possible as long as the market will pay your price. 

  • http://NaturalTeethWhiteners.com/teethwhiteners.html George

    This is a great idea to save money and minimize the imports of fuel from other countries. This will be a good start in utilizing our own resources.