June 05, 2011

Thunderbirds Showcase Biofuel Blend At Show

No. 5 and No. 6 — the solos — had a biofuel blend in their tanks, but nobody would have known if the Air Force hadn’t trumpeted the fact. The timing, the speed, the altitude, the degree of difficulty — all the same.

Having an alternative fuel powering two F-16 Falcons didn’t make a bit of difference in the jaw-dropping show put on by the Thunderbirds outside the nation’s capital last month during an air show at Joint Base Andrews, Md., a first for a Defense Department aerial demonstration team.

The Falcon is the latest aircraft to fly on hydro-treated renewable jet fuel, a 50-50 mix of petroleum-based JP-8 and a fuel made of plant seed.
“If anybody has any question that there’s any performance issues in operating with these fuels,” said Kevin Geiss, deputy assistant secretary of energy for the Air Force, “those concerns should be allayed by the fact that we have the Air Force’s precision flight team performing with biofuels.”


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