October 19, 2007 An L-29 military aircraft powered solely by 100% biodiesel fuel has successfully completed a test flight in the skies above Reno, Nevada. Piloted by Carol Sugars and Douglas Rodante, the aircraft reached 17,000 feet without showing any significant drop in performance compared to a jet aircraft running on conventional fuel.
The historic flight was carried out using a Czechoslovakian-made L-29 aircraft designed to run on a variety of fuels including heating oil. This made the craft the perfect vehicle for testing biodiesel in jet engines. Extensive testing had been conducted with a blend of jet fuel and biodiesel before the engine data was found to be acceptable to make a flight using 100% renewable biodiesel fuel.
According to Chief Pilot Carol Sugars who wrote and conducted the test program, “As we gradually increased the amount of biodiesel in the fuel blend, the data confirmed that the aircraft continued to perform well, giving me the confidence to transition to 100% biodiesel.”
The achievement was the result of a partnership between Biodiesel Solutions and Green Flight International. The brainchild of Douglas Rodante, Green Flight was founded in April 2006 to focus on future development in the use of environmentally-friendly fuels in aviation and elsewhere, and in doing so highlight the immediate need to reduce CO2 (greenhouse gases) and smog producing NOx.
An aircraft flight from London to New York produces more than 1.4 tons of carbon emissions per passenger, not to mention the nitrous oxide and vapor trails which are also emitted from jet engines.
Green Flight International has plans to spearhead more record-breaking aviation events including a the first biodiesel powered transcontinental flight and an around the world journey that will be filmed and distributed in High Definition.
Boeing is also currently working on plans for bio-jet fuel development.