3/7/13—NASA researchers have begun a flight research campaign using the DC-8 flying laboratory to study the effects of renewable jet fuel on engine performance, emissions, and aircraft-generated contrails at altitude. This study is called the Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions (ACCESS), and involves flying the DC-8 as high as 40,000 feet while an instrumented NASA Falcon HU-25 aircraft trails behind at distances ranging from 300 feet to more than 10 miles.
The DC-8’s four CFM56 engines are powered by a 50-50 blend of JP-8 and hydro processed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) jet fuel from camelina plants. HEFA is a synthesized hydrocarbon jet fuel process CAAFI helped to get approved by ASTM in July 2011.
The flight campaign began on February 28th and is planned to continue for eight weeks. Ruben Del Rosario, manager of NASA’s Fixed Wing Project said “this study will improve understanding of contrails formation and quantify potential benefits of renewable alternate fuels in terms of aviation’s impact on the environment.”
For more information see NASA’s news release.
Click here to see a photo of NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory in the air, taken by the HU-25 Falcon about 300 feet behind.
See here for the official feature on NASA's website with an update on activities and additional images.