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.
The Flying Physicians Association (FPA) has become the latest group to lend support to third-class medical reform and urge government officials to speed up their review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM would expand the number of pilots who could fly without needing to obtain a third-class medical certificate, a standard that has been successfully used by sport pilots for a decade.
California pilot Christopher Braun has created a revamped version of the cleco plier that is said to be lighter and more ergonomic.
There is no shortage of pilots in eastern Washington, but there does seem to be a scarcity of clubs in that part of the country.
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