The Air Force team that developed the synthetic fuel blend that is now certified for use on the B-52 bomber received the FAA’s 2007 Excellence in Aviation Research Award March 14 at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The annual award is bestowed “for research that results in more efficient or safer flying operations,” FAA’s Barry Scott said at the award ceremony. “In the 10 years we’ve given it, this was the first unanimous choice.” Accepting the award trophy on behalf of the entire B-52 Aircraft Fischer-Tropsch Fuels Research Team were Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Bedke, head of the Air Force Research Laboratory, and Jon Ogg, director of engineering and technical management for Air Force Materiel Command. “We are accepting for a heck of a lot of people,” said Bedke. “There are an awful lot of you, unnamed, but not unappreciated.” The B-52 was the first platform in USAF’s inventory to be cleared to use the synthetic fuel blend, which consists of 50 percent traditional JP-8 aviation fuel and 50 percent synthetic kerosene derived from natural gas or coal under the Fischer-Tropsch refinement process. The Air Force wants its entire inventory certified to use the fuel mix in 2011, seeing it as one means of reducing dependence on foreign sources of energy. The C-17 is nearing certification and on March 19, a B-1B bomber flew for the first time with the synthetic mix, becoming the first supersonic aircraft to run on it. (Wright-Patterson report by Mike Wallace)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.