Defense

July 2, 2012

A-10 first aircraft to use alcohol-based fuel

by Minty Knighton
Eglin AFB, Fla.

An A-10C Thunderbolt II takes off from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., June 28, 2012, marking the first flight of an aircraft powered solely by a alcohol-derived jet fuel blend. ATJ, or Alcohol to Jet, is a cellulousic-based fuel. It can be derived using wood, paper, grass, anything that is a cell-based material. The sugars extracted from these materials are fermented into alcohols, which are then hydro-processed into the aviation-grade kerosenes used for aviation fuel.

On June 28, the 40th Flight Test Squadron made history at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., flying the first aircraft to use a new fuel blend derived from alcohol.

“The A-10 is the first aircraft ever to fly on this fuel,” said Jeff Braun, Chief for the Air Force Alternative Fuel Certification Division, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

“It flew like a usual A-10 would without any issues,” said Maj. Olivia Elliott, an A-10 pilot and an evaluator for the mission.

Maj. Travis Burton, an A-10 pilot with the 40th Flight Test Squadron, reviews his checklists before take-off June 28, 2012. Burton’s sortie marked the first flight using an alcohol-derived fuel blend in an A-10 Thunderbolt II.

The fuel, known as ATJ (Alcohol-to-Jet) is the third alternative fuel to be evaluated by the Air Force for fleet-wide use as a replacement for standard petroleum-derived JP-8 aviation fuel.

Before ATJ, other alternative fuels included a synthetic paraffinic kerosene derived from coal and natural gas and a bio-mass fuel derived from plant-oils and animal fats known as Hydroprocessed Renewable Jet.

ATJ is a cellulousic-based fuel. It can be derived using wood, paper, grass, anything that is a cell-based material. The sugars extracted from these materials are fermented into alcohols, which are then hydro-processed into the aviation-grade kerosenes used for aviation fuel.

The Fischer-Tropsch SPK blend has been fully certified by the Air Force for operational use throughout the Air Force. All testing of the bio-mass HRJ has been completed and formal coordination is underway to certify it as an approved fuel agent.

Like ATJ, the bio-mass fuel was first tested by 40th FLTS in 2010, using the same A-10 test platform.

“The A-10 is an excellent platform for testing the new fuel due in part to its segregated fuel system,” said Capt. Joseph Rojas, A-10 test engineer. “The system allows one engine to run off a fuel supply that is completely segregated from the other engine. This allows us to fly with one engine on the new fuel and the other on traditional fuel. If engine operation is normal, as with the ATJ blend, then we progress to flying with both engines on the new fuel.”

The A-10 ATJ fuel test went through similar ground and flight tests, using a mixture of the alternative fuel and the standard Air Force JP-8 .

Ground-based testing included monitoring engine performance and ensuring all data correlated favorably to both the technical requirements and JP-8 fuel specification. Flight tests included analyzing aircraft performance during controlled accelerations and climbs and operational maneuvering.

SrA. Mitchell Harrington, of the 46th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, goes over last minute checks before sending the A-10 on its first flight using an alcohol-derived fuel blend June 28, 2012, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The Air Force has recently approved fleet-wide certification efforts of the ATJ fuel blend. Once the AFCD completes all air and ground testing, the ATJ will be approved as an official alternative fuel source for Air Force use.

“Eventually, it is possible that aircraft will see JP-8 consisting of all these alternatives,” said Braun. “You won’t be able to determine the difference and you won’t care, because all perform as JP-8.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin OĆ­Shea

U.S. Forces display military might at Farnborough

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin O’Shea Capt. Tom Meyers discusses the F-15E Strike Eagle’s capabilities with spectators July 17, 2014, at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. Public access was granted ...
 
 
raptors4

Raptors, Falcons fuel up in desert skies

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, Ju...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Sun sets on Red Flag 14-3

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler The sun sets behind a row of F-16 Fighting Falcons during Red Flag 14-3, July 16, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air combat scenario...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Siuta B. Ika

AOC integral to Red Flag 14-3 operations

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Siuta B. Ika Members of the Air and Space Operations Center work during Red Flag 14-3 operations July 22, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Armed with personnel from intelligence and communicati...
 
 
red-flag1

Red Flag night operations soar into darkness

Singapore air force aircraft maintainers walk down the flightline looking for foreign object debris before night operations begin during Red Flag 14-3, July 16 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag exercises involve air and g...
 
 
Air Force photo by Ken LaRock

First aviation mechanic display added to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Air Force photo by Ken LaRock A bronze bust honoring the first aviation mechanic, Charles E. Taylor, is now on permanent display in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force’s Early Years Gallery. The museum is located ne...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>