Blue Angels Use Biofuel at Patuxent Air Show

PENSACOLA, Fla., Sept. 2, 2011 — The Blue Angels’ F/A-18 Hor­net air­craft will use a bio­fu­el-blend dur­ing their per­for­mances at the Naval Air Sta­tion Patux­ent Riv­er, Md., Air Expo held tomor­row through Sept. 4.

The Blue Angels’ Labor Day week­end 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 will be “the first time an entire unit has flown on a bio­fu­el mix,” Mabus added.

The Blue Angels trav­el the coun­try demon­strat­ing the capa­bil­i­ties of the Navy and Marine Corps using aer­i­al com­bat maneu­vers.

“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,” said Navy Capt. Greg McWhert­er, the Blue Angels’ com­mand­ing offi­cer and flight leader.

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. McWhert­er, who flew a lega­cy F/A-18 test flight Aug. 17, said there were no notice­able dif­fer­ences from the cock­pit.

The Labor Day per­for­mance is 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.

This ini­tia­tive is one of many through­out the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Depart­ment of the Navy to achieve Mabus’ goals to improve ener­gy secu­ri­ty and effi­cien­cy afloat and ashore, increase ener­gy inde­pen­dence, and help lead the nation toward a clean ener­gy econ­o­my.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)