SAFB Conduct Fuel Saving Measures with T-6 Texan II

- We all look for ways to save money at the pump and Sheppard Air Force Base is no different. However, a cost saving measure they're researching could bring savings to other training bases.

The Fuel Saving Initiative Team at Sheppard Air Force Base wrapped up two days of testing Tuesday on a project to save jet fuel. And that idea is fueling interest from other training bases.

Last May, Sheppard's Fuel Saving Initiative Team came up with a plan to cut fuel costs for smaller aircraft like the T-6 Texan II. And that plan is taking flight.

"We want to see if it's possible to use a little bit less fuel and therefore, with the less weight, burn less gas," says Capt. Daniel Gruben, a SAFB instructor pilot for the T-6 Texan II.

Capt. Daniel Gruben and other T-6 Texan instructor pilots are testing that theory by conducting low level mission test flights, but that's not all.

"We're going to be climbing up to about 14,000 feet, roughly give or take a few thousand and we'll be performing maneuvers that are standard to formation sorties for test students," says Capt. Jami Gunnels, who is also a SAFB instructor pilot for the T-6 Texan II.

Data collected from those maneuvers will be analyzed to see if aircraft can fly with less fuel, which will save taxpayer dollars. While pilots say this is the first attempt for a fuel saving solution on smaller aircraft they say the project is not expected to add any costs to Sheppard.

"It is something that doesn't require any new equipment.  It doesn't require any new training at all, whatsoever.  It's potential savings that requires nothing more than us changing our subtle mannerisms every single day," adds Capt. Gruben.

Mannerisms Capt. Gruben says include matching aircraft to different missions so they're filled with the appropriate amounts of fuel.

Pilots expect to have test results in by next week. If all goes as planned, base officials say this project could save Sheppard about $150,000 in jet fuel costs each year.

And we're told other training Air Force Bases in Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma are very interested in the results.

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