Alcohol on the Job

Testers recently ran the A-10’s TF34 engine on a new synthetic fuel blend on a test stand at Barksdale AFB, La. Known as alcohol-to-jet, USAF’s Alternative Fuels Certification Division is evaluating the blend of bio-derived butanol and standard JP-8 as part of its goal of cutting reliance on foreign-sourced petroleum. “If the engine’s performance is comparable . . . the TF34 Engine Program Office will recommend to the AFCD that the fuel can be utilized for flight testing,” explained engine specialist Andrew Abdinor. Pending positive results, an A-10 will fly a demonstration flight with the fuel at Eglin AFB, Fla., next month. “We are especially interested in the high-pressure turbine,” said MSgt. William George, test-cell supervisor with Barksdale’s 917th Fighter Group that is hosting the trials. “We pulled the hot section and will be looking for damage or wear to the parts, but the aft of the engine looks like it runs clean,” summed George. The tests took place at the end of March. (Barksdale report by MSgt. Jeff Walston) (See also Alternative Fuels Update.)