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Air Force Thunderbirds to perform using biofuel

May 20, 2011 |  8:00 am

Thunderbirds

The twists and turns performed by the Air Force Thunderbirds this week may pale in comparison with what’s going on inside the planes.

A fuel blend that includes a biofuel made from the camelina flower will power two of the six jets as they perform their aerial stunts Friday and Saturday at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

The aerial demonstration team will fly for about 45 minutes on the fuel, which is domestically made.

The Air Force has been testing and evaluating biofuels made from the blooms, as well as mixtures involving beef tallow and waste oils and greases. Its goal is to derive half of its domestic aviation fuel from alternative sources by 2016 and to have all its aircraft certified to use biofuels by 2013.

The Air Force uses billions of gallons of jet fuel each year.

The camelina blend has also made an appearance in the A-10 Thunderbolt II, known as the Warthog. Last month, three of four F-15 fighter jets that flew over a Philadelphia baseball game used a similar biofuel mix.

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Photo: The U.S. Air Force precision flying team, the Thunderbirds, execute a crossover at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia on May 13 2011. Credit: U.S. Air Force /Airman 1st Class Kayla Newman

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