The Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, performed over the Labor Day weekend using a biofuel blend at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River Air Expo. All six F/A-18 legacy Hornets were powered with a 50-50 blend of conventional JP-5 jet fuel and a camelina-based biofuel.
“Changing the kinds of fuels we use and the way we use them is critical to assuring the Navy and Marine Corps remain the most formidable expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known,” said Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus in a press statement leading up to the air show. “The Department of the Navy will be taking another visible step toward testing biofuel in our aircraft when all six of the Blue Angels perform using the same 50/50 blend of drop-in biofuel we’ve used in so many of our other aircraft.”
The event marked the first time an entire unit has flown on a biofuel mix.
Capt. Greg McWherter, Blue Angels commanding officer/flight leader said of the show, “As public representatives of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the Blue Angels take pride in leading the country’s efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption and increase our energy security.
McWherter, who says there is no discernible differences from the cockpit, stressed that the goal of the program was to demonstrate that there is no difference in performance between the biofuel blend and standard-petroleum-based JP-5.
In another semi-related story, the USDA is looking for Eastern Washington farmers to grow camelina as part of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). The program is designed to incent growers to grow emerging crops for biofuels.