May 13, 2011
By Dave Hirschman
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will fly their first public performance using an alternative fuel at the Joint Services Open House at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on May 20 through 22.
Two of the Thunderbirds’ six F-16 fighters will use biofuels during the performances while the others burn regular jet fuel.
The Air Force is testing biofuels derived from plant seed oil, animal fat, and various waste oils and grease. The Air Force has approved biofuel in a 50-percent blend with petroleum-based jet fuel in its A-10, F-15, C-17, and F-22 aircraft. All Air Force jets are expected to be certified for biofuels within two years.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.
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