Flight Testing Starts with Alcohol-based Fuel Blend

The Air Force last week began flight testing at Eglin AFB, Fla., with a new type of alternative fuel blend derived in part from alcohol. Eglin’s 40th Flight Test Squadron commenced the flights on June 28 with an A-10 aircraft. “It flew like a usual A-10 would without any issues,” said Maj. Olivia Elliott, an A-10 pilot and an evaluator for the mission, in Eglin’s July 2 release. The new fuel type, known as alcohol-to-jet, is derived from the fermented sugars extracted from materials like wood, paper, or grass. ATJ is mixed with standard petroleum-derived JP-8 aviation fuel to create the blend. The ATJ blend is the third alternative fuel type that the Air Force is evaluating as a means of reducing dependence on foreign sources of energy. Already, the service has fully certified a blend of JP-8 and synthetic paraffinic kerosene, derived from coal and natural gas, for operational use across the fleet, according to Eglin’s release. Further, testing has concluded with a JP-8-hydroprocessed renewable jet blend and work continues on its fleet-wide certification. HRJ is derived from plant oils and animal fats. (Eglin report by Minty Knighton)