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.

To that end, the Fuel Efficiency Office created the web-based fuel tracker for tracking aviation fuel usage across mobility air forces.

"During a mission, aircrew gathers critical bits of information regarding fuel planning and execution that's put into the tracker after the mission," Colonel Trayer said. "We've already used the data to improve the accuracy of fuel loads in computer flight plans distributed to aircrew from the TACC and many commanders are using reports derived from the data to improve fuel efficiency at the unit level."

With the data the Fuel Efficiency Office receives from the tracker, they are able to examine all aspects of the mobility air forces flying operations from a planning, policy and execution standpoint; all with the end goal of greater fuel efficiency. One of the metrics the web based fuel tracker allows the Fuel Efficiency Office to track is the number of flights that depart with greater than the planned fuel load, known as departure overfuels. By analyzing the data available, the Fuel Efficiency Office staff has determined that on any given day more than 30 percent of mobility air forces' flights depart with an average 12,000 pounds of extra fuel. This costs the Air Force more than $13 million annually in fuel burned just to carry this extra fuel.

Analysis of aircrew reasons for carrying excess fuel provided the Fuel Efficiency Office with valuable insight. Aircrews are not confident the fuel loads being provided to them by the flight planning system are accurate; therefore, they are loading addition fuel in many cases to ensure mission effectiveness.

Further data analysis led the Fuel Efficiency Office staff to recommend several policy changes that will become effective in the next few months to ensure the proper amount of fuel is loaded on every flight. By using a metrics based approach through data from the fuel tracker the Fuel Efficiency Office is hoping to better educate crews in order to obtain more confidence in the flight planning system so crews will not feel the need to arbitrarily add fuel.

"The goal is to create and sustain a culture where fuel efficiency is a consideration in all we do," Colonel Trayer said.

Culture change through education "We have to carefully balance effectiveness with efficiency," Colonel Trayer said. "We're educating crews so they're comfortable (with planned fuel loads), because if they're uncomfortable, they're not going to do what's asked of them."

General Post said, "It's just a matter of changing culture, changing attitudes, and building trust in the system. As you educate people they will see the benefits of it and become more confident in the tools we provide them."

Other areas AMC is extracting more fuel efficiency include increasing the use of flight simulators for crew training and proficiency, optimizing cargo loads, decreasing empty legs, optimizing aircraft routing through better diplomatic clearances, and reducing aircraft weight. With aircraft weight, for example, something as small as removing excess water bottles and trashcans from an aircraft can save fuel and money.

For every 1 pound removed from every aircraft in AMC's fleet, the command saves $8,828 a year, said Lt. Col. Eric Lepchenske, the AMC fuel efficiency officer. The savings looked at as a "cost avoidance," translates into funds that can be put to use elsewhere.

To date AMC has implemented initiatives with projected yearly fuel usage reductions of 43.5 million gallons of fuel at a cost avoidance of $92.7 million. Further initiatives that have been identified, but not yet implemented are an additional 55 million gallons reduction at a cost avoidance of $117.2 million, for a total yearly reduction of 98.5 million gallons at a cost avoidance of $209.9 million.

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.

"Bottom line, every pound -- whether its fuel, cargo, or equipment -- should have a purpose," Colonel Trayer said.

We Recommend