Synfuel for USAF Fleet by 2010?

Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne has given the OK to shoot for 2010 as the date when USAF would certify the use of synthetic fuel for its entire aircraft fleet, according to Paul Bollinger, special assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Logistics. The Air Force already has completed testing a synfuel blend on the B-52 bomber and plans next to test tankers and airlifters. Bollinger says USAF is working with the commercial airline industry and the FAA to hasten the process of using synthetic fuels for high-bypass engines. Fighter aircraft are another matter; Bollinger said the concern is that the augmenters in the fighter engines are able to spray the fuel. He added that testing would continue for the next couple of years, but with an eye toward the 2010 certification goal. The longer-term plan would see 50 percent of USAF’s fleet actually flying on a domestically produced synthetic fuel blend by 2016. Driving USAF down the synfuel road is its staggering $7 billion annual energy bill—80 percent of which is devoted to aircraft.