C-17 flight uses synthetic fuel blend

  • Published
  • (AFPN)
C-17 Globemaster III took off Oct. 22 on a flight using a blend of synthetic and JP-8 fuels in all four fuel tanks.

This is the first time a C-17 has flown using a Fischer-Tropsch/JP-8 blend as the only fuel on board. Air Force members successfully flew a C-17 Oct. 19 with the Fischer-Tropsch/JP-8 blend in one tank to validate engine performance.

C-17 certification is the next big step by the Air Force to certify synthetic fuel blends for its fleet. The C-17 is the workhorse of the mobility airlift fleet and the biggest user of jet fuel. The four-hour flight was designed to assess how well the aircraft performed using the synthetic blend of fuel. The mission consisted of ground operation of the auxiliary power unit and evaluation of in-flight performance of the engines and fuel quantity measurement system throughout the C-17 operational envelope.

An Air Force Flight Test Center crew flew the mission and was pleased with the performance of the aircraft, they said.

"There was no discernible difference between JP-8 and Fischer-Tropsch," said Maj. Scott Sullivan, the mission pilot.

The final steps for C-17 certification include a service evaluation out of McChord Air Force Base, Wash., completion of material compatibility tests and final supplier qualification of the engine, auxiliary power unit and fuel quantity measurement system with the Fischer-Tropsch/JP-8 blend.

Fleet-wide certification is planned for the first quarter of 2008, making the C-17 the second AF platform to be certified to use this synthetic fuel blend. The B-52 Stratofortress was the first, completing certification Aug. 8.

In accordance with the Secretary of the Air Force's Assured Fuels Initiative, all USAF aircraft will be certified by 2011. An office has been created at the Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to manage this unparalleled effort.