Blue Angels to fly on biofuels
A Navy logo on a Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet indicates the service's commitment to biofuels.
September 3rd, 2011
08:00 AM ET

Blue Angels to fly on biofuels

When the six F/A-18 Hornets in the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration team thrill the crowds at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Air Expo in Maryland this weekend, they'll be soaring on biofuel.

Each of the six Hornets will be powered by a 50/50-blend of jet fuel and camelina-based biofuel, according to a Navy press release.

Camelina is a high-oil flowering plant grown in rotation on land used for wheat and on land too marginal for food production, according to Sustainable Oils, the company providing it to the military. Sustainable Oils says camelina can also reduce carbon emissions by 80% over jet fuel.

The camelina mix has been successfully tested in several military aircraft, including the Air Force's A-10 Thunderbolt, F-15 Eagle, F-22 Raptor and C-17 Globemaster, as well as the Navy F/A-18. Two Air Force F-16s from the Thunderbirds demonstration team flew with the mix during a performance in May, the service and Sustainable Fuels said.

"This will be the first time an entire unit has flown on a biofuel mix," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in the Navy release. "Changing the kinds of fuels we use and the way we use them is critical to assuring the Navy and Marine Corps remain the most formidable expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known."

By 2016, the Navy plans to deploy the Great Green Fleet, an aircraft carrier strike group powered entirely by non-fossil fuels, Mabus has said.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Aviation • Environment • Military • U.S. Navy
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Hutch

    So the next headline will be "Blue Angels Die In Fiery Crash!"

    September 3, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Harmony

    Boy, o boy! What a cruddy thing to say, Hutch! Do you want the Blue Angels to die?

    September 3, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jerry

    That all well and dandy for their Public Relations, when do you think the military would start selling E-85 vehicle fuel at their military exchange service stations. This is what I would call eye-wash.....we should work energy savings from the ground up..... Also, I wonder how many civilian airshows/airports offer this type of fuel mixture....since the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds fly around a 50/50 splits between civilian and military show sites, the story is a bit misleading to bring the air show industry into the PR eye wash.

    September 3, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Spec5

    great now my air show gonna smell like a fish fry

    September 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NanookoftheNorth

    So frustrating CNN not to be able to 'share' certain articles on your site unless you do the 'social media' thing and send through Facebook, Twitter, etc. ! I've e-mailed a couple of times asking why you don't put your regular 'forward e-mail' on some of your stories and have never received a reply.....so maybe a reader or two will be able to tell me why they do this ??

    September 3, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JCC

    It is very heartening and appropriate for the military to lead the way on the use of biofuels for their craft. Nothing makes less sense than tanking up jets and bombers with fuel purchased from the very folks to be targeted by the bombers. No more US dollars for fuel purchased from the Arab nations with whom we are engaging in war. Now that makes sense/ cents.

    September 4, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. jay in florida

    "Changing the kinds of fuels we use and the way we use them is critical to assuring the Navy and Marine Corps remain the most formidable expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known." - Boy oh boy, correct me if I am wrong, but I don't believe the Military Sciences academy wrote that in any of their warfare books. I am pretty sure the only way to remain "the most formidable expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known" still remains the same: By making sure the enemy dies first. What kind of war exactly is this liberal trying to fight?

    September 4, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • J Simmon

      Look at his comment from this perspective:

      One of the most significant advantages in war a military can have is logistical capability. Those who don't have it (Napoleon, Hitler) can have as much technology/manpower as they want and they will lose. Our traditional fuel sources are not as robust as they were, and a protracted conventional conflict could put us in trouble. We need to have alternative sources of powering our equipment and a renewable liquid fuel that's compatible with our existing equipment is great to have. Consider that this is something that grows on soil that can't even support decent wheat crops...it's a good thing to have. I don't care about the BS hyperbole...it's good to know that if we were cut-off from external sources we have a backup (it's especially good for a surprise scenario as our un-tapped wells could take a while to get online).

      September 4, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Darren

      Exactly what I was thinking... What kind of BS propaganda is the SECNAV throwing at us?

      September 4, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
    • jefrois

      The USA has enough untapped energy reserves to drown the rest of the world in it. Problem is: we don;t drill...for some "reason," but I think ythr proper word would be "cause." As in the whacko environmentalist cause.

      September 6, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ron Hyatt

    So Airforce One will be flying this mixture, correct?

    September 4, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. socalpimp

    now the military has been infiltrated by the PC police

    September 4, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. kevin

    Good! The sooner the military gets off oil the better. Growing fuel is awesome so let's finally move away from 150 year old technology.

    September 4, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tyler

    It's time these obsolete relics of American military imperialism retired to the trash heap of history. Does the government really have nothing better to do with its (borrowed) money?

    September 4, 2011 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  12. why

    Why spend our tax money on the blue angels? just cut that program off....we don't need it....just propaganda from the navy to recruit dummies who think they may fly a plane.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. Navy Pilot

    Heard they were changing their name to the "Green Angles" too...

    September 4, 2011 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. JoeBob

    Think the military is really interested in the "green" warm and fuzzies? Hardly. The logo on the side of the aircraft says it all – "Energy Security". Since WWII, the military has recognized that the core of the modern military is less about it's staffing, vehicles or weapons platforms than it is about energy – specifically oil. Since the latter half of the 20th century, military strategists have understood that a military that does not control its own energy supply is a military at risk. It's unfortunate that more civilian leadership doesn't grasp that fundamental concept.

    September 4, 2011 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  15. slider

    The military was directed to do this. Just love political correctness.....the system is broken.

    September 4, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
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