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Tue, Sep 06, 2011

Blue Angels Use Biofuel At Patuxent Air Show

All Six Hornets Flew On 50/50 Biofuelo Blend

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 added.

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.

FMI: www.navy.mil

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