Biodiesel Powered Plane Makes History With First Flight Across US


Earlier this month, pilots Carol Sugars and Douglas Rodante made history by becoming the first flight-crew to successfully fly across the US in a plane predominantly powered by biodiesel.

Of the total 2,486 miles flown from Reno, Nevada to Leesburg, Florida, 1,776 miles were 100% biodiesel-powered. The remaining 710 miles were powered by a 50/50 mix of biodiesel and standard jet fuel.

The November 1 jet flight lasted a total of 11 hours and 13 minutes at altitudes of between 13,000 and 17,000 feet. Amongst others, it was co-sponsored by eco-friendly aviation company Green Flight International and Pittsburgh company Lake Erie Biofuels.

Speaking about the record-breaking flight, co-pilot Douglas Rodante, also CEO of Green Flight International said, “These flights prove that we have the capability of supplementing our energy requirements with safe, environmentally-friendly alternatives to petroleum. And the Biofuel is produced in the U.S., which essentially negates our dependency on foreign fuel supplies.”

His confidence is matched by the Federal Aviation Administration, which has expressed an interest in using Green Flight’s flight testing program as a template for its assessment of future generations of biofuels. With giant aviation companies such as Boeing on-board, it seems increasingly likely that biofuels will play a large part in the future of the industry, across both the freight and passenger sectors.

Image Credit – minniemunkie via on a Creative Commons license

Andrew Williams

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.