Aircraft #5 and #6 will perform the team’s first performance using “green” biofuel, making the Thunderbirds the first Department of Defense aerial performance team to fly on the alternative fuel.
The thunderbirds will be flying on a Camelina-based Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ). The Air Force is testing and evaluating biomass fuels derived from three different feedstocks: camelina (plant seed oil), beef tallow (animal fat) and various waste oils and greases.
To date, the Air Force has tested and certified biofuel as a 50% blend with regular jet fuel in the A-10, F-15, C-17, and F-22 aircraft. Fleet-wide certification is on track for completion in 2013.
The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, performs precision aerial maneuvers demonstrating the capabilities of the Air Force high performance aircraft to people throughout the world.