An aviation first was accomplished when an F-15E Strike Eagle flew back to Robins Air Force Base using an alternative fuel.
Engineers from the 830th Aircraft Sustainment Group, maintainers with the 561st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and pilots from the 339th Flight Test Squadron joined with the Air Force Alternative Fuels Certification office for the first airborne test of the F-15 using a 50-50 mix of JP-8 jet fuel and a natural gas-based synthetic fuel.
According to Maj. Dan Badia, one of the pilots for the test flight, it was just another day at the office.
"You could have had JP-8 in there and I wouldn't have known the difference," the major said.
Ryan Mead, an F-15 fuels engineer, said he was pleased with the flight test because for all practical purposes the aircraft functioned in the same range it would have with the JP-8 jet fuel. Mr. Mead said he expects the jet to be certified on the fuel as a result of the test flights.
Jeff Braun, director of the Air Force Alternative Fuels Certification office, said the accomplishment demonstrates that the fuel is safe for operational use and does not decrease performance of a high-performance aircraft.
The test was done as part of a direction from the Secretary of the Air Force to certify the entire Air Force fleet on synthetic fuel by 2011.
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