In “Biodiesel Takes to the Sky: An unmodified Czechoslovakian jet flew burning nothing but cooking oil,” David Biello reported on a 37-minute flight of an aircraft powered by refined canola oil.
Biodiesel may not become the airplane fuel of the future but it did prove effective enough to recently power a 1968 L-29 Czechoslovakian jet—dubbed BioJet 1—up to 17,000 feet (5,180 meters) over 37 minutes. A three minute, 15-second test the day before was the world’s first flight entirely fueled by cooking oil.
“She flew and she flew just fine,” says physicist Rudi Wiedemann, president and CEO of Biodiesel Solutions, Inc., whose company provided the fuel for the historic October flight: fresh canola oil refined into biodiesel. “We wanted to show that it was doable by just going out and doing it.”
Specifically, Doug Rodante, president of Green Flight International (a company in Florida that promotes alternative aviation fuels), and chief test pilot Carol Sugars, a senior pilot with the United Parcel Service (UPS), conducted extensive fuel tests on the ground, beginning with a 20 percent blend of biodiesel and normal jet fuel (kerosene known as Jet A) and progressing to 100 percent biodiesel (B100) as their confidence increased.
Link to Mr. Biello’s article.