Smart Flying

This summer, C-17 crews will begin using a computer software program to help them fly smarter,” said Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Philip Breedlove Wednesday. The mission index flying program, modeled off a similar program that commercial airlines utilize, measures an aircraft’s altitude, air speed, and atmospheric conditions to determine the most fuel-efficient altitude and air speed, he explained in his comments to the Army & Air Force Energy Forum in Arlington, Va. MIF is one of Air Mobility Command’s energy-efficiency initiatives that are expected to reap $500 million in savings over the next five fiscal years, he said. Airlift and tanker aircraft will use MIF. Breedlove said AMC already has begun saving “tens of thousands of dollars” by taking advantage of a new Polar route to carry supplies into Afghanistan. AMC maintainers also plan to start regularly washing the engines on mobility aircraft; by removing dirt and grime, the engines will run cleaner and burn less fuel, he said. “Although each of these projects may only give us savings on the order of one percent or so, when aggregated across the entire fleet, these changes will make an enormous impact on reducing our energy dependency,” said Breedlove.