The Blue Angels' F/A-18 Hornet aircraft used a biofuel blend
during their performances at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River,
Md., Air Expo over the Labor Day weekend. The performance is
another demonstration of the Department of the Navy's commitment to
reducing fossil fuel use without compromising capability. All six
Hornets will be powered by a 50/50 blend of conventional JP-5 jet
fuel and a camelina-based biofuel.
Camelina sativa is a member of the
mustard plant family. Camelina plants grow from 1 to 3 feet tall,
producing pods with many small, oily seeds inside.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the Navy and Marine Corps' use of
alternative energy sources addresses critical vulnerabilities and
ultimately serves to improve America's warfighting capability,
while also increasing the nation's energy efficiency. "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," Mabus said.
"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 Paxtuxent air show was
"the first time an entire unit has flown on a biofuel mix," Mabus
One objective in using alternative energy sources is to ensure
there is no difference in performance between the biofuel blend and
standard petroleum-based JP-5. Navy Capt. Greg McWherter, the Blue
Angels' commanding officer and flight leader, who flew a legacy
F/A-18 test flight Aug. 17, said there were no noticeable
differences from the cockpit. Officials said the Labor Day
performance was the ultimate demonstration to date of the
Department of the Navy's commitment to reducing U.S. dependence on
foreign oil, as well as safeguarding the nation's environment
through the incorporation of cleaner, more sustainable and
renewable energy sources.