They loaded up the fuel tanks with fresh canola oil refined to biodiesel, started the engines, and the 1968 L-29 Czechoslovakian jet, nicknamed BioJet 1, soared into the sky from a Reno, NV airport. It’s the first recorded time that a jet plane used biodiesel as a fuel.
It was a three minute flight, revving the engines to 98 percent of capacity, but certainly enough to be a nonissue in climb performance and time to attain altitude.
The jet was acquired from the Ukrainian military and is one of the few planes capable of using biodiesel. It has a built-in fuel warming system that keeps biodiesel fluid at colder temperatures.
Doug Rodante, president of Green Flight International said a 20 percent blend of biodiesel and normal jet fuel would work perfectly well in other jet aircraft without modifications. That would mean fewer emissions of carbon dioxide by as much a 50 percent.
Tests are continuing at Green Flight and the jet has been grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration for until proved safe to fly long distances. Once done, Rodante plans to fly the jet from Reno, Nev to Orlando, FL in eight stops. After that, he hopes to fly a similarly fueled plane around the world.