Fuel efficiency among top priorities in AMC's energy conservation

The ultimate goal, Colonel Trayer said, is to maximize efficiency, lower costs and save fuel. He and General Post said the command's ideas and practices will reduce aviation fuel usage in the long haul.

10/5/2009 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- Imagine your frustration when the price of gas goes up 50 cents and it adds $12.50 to the cost of filling up your 25-gallon tank. Now imagine adding $25,575 to the cost of filling the tank of a C-5 Galaxy that holds 51,150 gallons.

The Air Force is the Department of Defense's largest consumer of fuel, requiring 64 percent in fiscal 2008. Eighty-four percent of that went to aviation fuel and AMC used 52 percent of that aviation fuel share. In fiscal 2008, the bill for all of that fuel totaled $4.6 billion.

To combat the impact of rising fuel costs, the Air Mobility Command Vvice commander chartered the Fuel Efficiency Office in October 2008. The purpose of the office is to consolidate and lead implementation of all aviation fuel conservation improvements throughout the mobility air forces, while maximizing operational effectiveness.

"By its very nature, our mission requires a lot of fuel. AMC aircraft fly 66 percent of the missions flown in deployed areas while operating the greatest number of large aircraft in the Air Force," said Col. Kevin Trayer, the AMC Fuel Efficiency Office chief.

Mission requirements AMC's mission is varied and far-reaching. The command has aircraft around the world every day doing the "heavy lifting" and "air bridge building." There are C-130 Hercules aircraft airdropping loads of up to 42,000 pounds. C-17 Globemaster IIIs and C-5 Galaxies carry all of the Army's air transportable equipment including mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles along with other "outsize" items such as helicopters.

Air refueling tankers fuel Air Force fighters, bombers and heavy aircraft as well as aircraft from other military services and nations while also carrying passengers and cargo.

Leveraging experience Another aspect of the Fuel Efficiency Office charter is the tasking to rapidly achieve ability on par with commercial aviation industry leaders to analyze and propose fuel efficiency improvements across mobility air forces. In pursuit of this tasking, the Fuel Efficiency Office staff is actively engaging with industry along several fronts.

"We're learning," Colonel Trayer said. "For example, we're benchmarking off of what the commercial carriers are doing and leveraging the experience we have that resides in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command."

Commercial airliners have been practicing fuel efficiency for years and employ many people who work within AMC as guardsmen or reservists, the colonel said. Those mobility air force members are sharing their knowledge to create sustained improvements in AMC's fuel efficiency.

"They include not only pilots, but engineers, maintenance and ramp workers as well," said Brig. Gen. David S. Post, the mobilization assistant to the cirector of air, space and information operations at AMC. General Post is also a captain at the world's second largest airline. "Through them, we're able to tap into that knowledge and use it here."

Gathering data Accurate fuel consumption data obtained from a single source is critical to establishing baselines and measuring fuel consumption data to accurately track aircraft performance and perform cost analysis.

The Air Force Audit Agency reported in March 2007 that the Air Force did not have an effective method to obtain reliable and consistent aviation fuel consumption data. This condition occurred because the Air Force did not establish standard sources and methods for obtaining fuel data.

While efforts are under way to correct these deficiencies, due to the impact of rising fuel costs and secretary of the Air Force-directed energy conservation goals, the Fuel Efficiency Office staff cannot wait for data collection deficiencies to be corrected prior to implementing fuel conservation efforts.

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