USAF C-17 Flies Using Synthetic Fuel Blend
On December 17 a C-17 Globemaster III heavy airlift airplane touched down at McGuire AFB in New Jersey, completing the type’s first transcontinental flight using a synthetic fuel blend. The flight, which carried an AIN editor on its last leg from McGuire to Andrews AFB, is a crucial step in the Air Force’s plan to certify its entire fleet on synthetic fuel by 2011. The C-17 uses the same engines as some Boeing 757s, so the FAA’s Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative is likely interested in the results. The synthetic blend is said to burn more efficiently and more cleanly than standard jet fuel and could earn dividends by reducing the amount of engine maintenance required. Plans call for domestic production of the fuel to begin by 2012.