USAF Flight Tests Remotely-Piloted Aircraft on Alternative Fuel

1 December 2010 (Last Updated December 1st, 2010 18:30)

The US Air Force has completed a 32-hour flight test of the 412th Test Wing's Global Vigilance Combined Test Force's Block 20 RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA), using the Fischer-Tropsch Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene fuel blended with regular JP-8 jet fuel. The aircraft f

The US Air Force has completed a 32-hour flight test of the 412th Test Wing’s Global Vigilance Combined Test Force’s Block 20 RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA), using the Fischer-Tropsch Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene fuel blended with regular JP-8 jet fuel.

The aircraft flew on a mixture of 25% coal-to-liquid fuel, 25% natural gas-to-liquid fuel and 50% JP-8.

Global Vigilance CTF lead flight systems engineer David Tangren said the data collected will provide information regarding how the SPK will perform in a remotely-piloted aircraft when exposed to extreme environments.

The Fischer-Tropsch process is a set of chemical reactions that converts carbon-based materials into liquid hydrocarbons.

Typically utilising coal, natural gas or biomass as a feedstock, the resulting synthetic liquid is utilised as a petroleum substitute.