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31 Dec 08. Vegetable oil tested on NZ flight. A passenger plane has successfully completed a two-hour test flight partly powered by vegetable oil. Air New Zealand hailed the flight as a “milestone” in the development of sustainable fuels that could lower aeroplane emissions and cut costs. One engine of the Boeing 747-400 was fuelled by a 50-50 mixture of jatropha plant oil and standard A1 jet fuel. A Virgin Atlantic test flight in February used fuel derived from a blend of Brazilian babassu nuts and coconuts. In Auckland on Tuesday, a range of tests were completed both on the ground and during the flight, said Air New Zealand Chief Pilot David Morgan. He said the oil from the plum-sized jatropha fruit performed “well through both the fuel system and engine”. Air New Zealand said it was the first time a second-generation biofuel had been used to partly power a passenger plane. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Rob Fyfe said the completion of Tuesday’s flight was “a milestone for the airline and commercial aviation”. (Source: BBC)

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