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Tue, Jul 12, 2011

C-17 Crews 1st To Use New In-Flight Fuel-Saving Software Program

Fuel Economies Of Up To 1.5 Percent Are Predicted

This summer, C-17 crews will start saving more gas by using Mission Index Flying -- a new program that allows them to adjust their flight profile in real-time in order to maximize fuel efficiency while meeting mission objectives. The mobility air force enterprise expects to see a 1.25 to 1.5 percent decrease in fuel usage across the C-17 fleet, said Lt. Col. Marc Gildner, Air Mobility Command Fuel Efficiency Office.


USAF Photo

"It doesn't seem like much. But because Mobility Air Forces use almost 60 percent of the total Air Force fuel inventory, that is a considerable dollar figure which can be used to recapitalize the aging fleet, support fuel efficiency initiatives and provide resources for incentives," Colonel Gildner said.

Mission index flying was approved June 15 for use on the C-17 fleet, with aircrew training expected to be complete by the end of the summer. The C-5 fleet is next, with fielding expected in late July and aircrew training complete by early fall. The KC-10 and KC-135 systems are being prepared for AMC testing and will be fielded in the fall as well, Colonel Gildner said.

To use Mission Index Flying, air crews input various flight and atmospheric parameters on a mission laptop at different intervals during a mission, and the software provides them with speed and altitude recommendations for maximum aircraft performance and efficiency. While Mission Index Flying is new for AMC, it isn't a new concept. Cost Index Flying (the commercial equivalent of Mission Index Flying) has helped airlines manage bottom lines for over a quarter of a century. "The airlines have realized increased fuel efficiencies because they have been using this concept for almost three decades," Colonel Gildner said. "We're trying to capitalize and leverage their technologies and capabilities to our benefit."

In the future, Mobility Air Force says it could use Mission Index Flying to refine results for other efficiencies as well. Cost Index Flying is used operationally by the commercial airline industry to balance operational costs to fuel costs, Colonel Gildner said. Operational costs include maintenance, labor, over-flight fees, etc. These operational costs are examined to determine their impact on overall flight costs per hour and then balanced with fuel costs to provide the big picture, said Lt. Col Eric Lepchenske, AMC Fuel Efficiency Office.

FMI: www.usaf.mil

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