Air Force Thunderbirds to demonstrate flights with biomass fuels

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds flight demonstration team has been testing the use of "green" biomass fuels.

The public is invited to watch flights burning the alternative fuel for the first time at the Joint Services Open House at Andrews Air Force Base, on Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22.

Two aircraft will perform the team's first performance using biofuel, making the Thunderbirds the first Department of Defense aerial performance team to fly on the alternative fuel, an Air Force spokesperson says.

The Thunderbirds will be flying on a Camelina-based Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ).

The Air Force is testing and evaluating biomass fuels derived from three different feedstocks: camelina (plant seed oil), beef tallow (animal fat) and various waste oils and greases.

The Air Force has tested and certified biofuel as a 50-percent blend with regular jet fuel in the A-10, F-15, C-17, and F-22 aircraft. Fleet-wide certification is on track for completion in 2013.

The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, performs precision aerial maneuvers demonstrating the capabilities of the Air Force high performance aircraft to people throughout the world.

More information about the Joint Services Open House.