Continuing its commitment to expanding aviation fuel options, Piper Aircraft, Inc. announced the conclusion of an exciting real-world experiment with potentially broad implications for aviators. Powered by 93 octane premium unleaded automotive gasoline, a Piper Archer single-engine aircraft successfully completed a series of rigidly structured flight tests, a meaningful first step in the direction of more eco-friendly—and lower cost—flying.
The proof of concept tests were conducted in concert with Airworthy AutoGas LLC, an Arizona-based company dedicated to producing high quality automotive gasoline for the aviation industry. The test flights launched from Piper’s manufacturing campus in Vero Beach, FL.
93 UL Approved
The power plant of the Piper Archer aircraft is a single Lycoming 0-360-A4M engine with a 48 US gallon (182 liter) fuel capacity, capable of generating 180hp. The four-cylinder, direct-drive, horizontally opposed, air-cooled Lycoming 0-360 series engines are approved for 93 octane unleaded fuel use.
“As we search for more environmentally friendly fuels than 100LL to power piston aircraft, Piper wanted to take the next step with Lycoming and Airworthy AutoGas to operationally prove the 93UL concept under rigid test conditions from Vero Beach,” said Simon Caldecott.
Looking forward, the Piper Aircraft President and CEO added, “Our next operational effort will include cross-country applications, working with Airworthy AutoGas to ensure availability en route.”
Mark Ellery, Director of Business Development for Airworthy, laid out a short timeline, stating, “Airworthy AutoGas plans to produce and distribute its high-purity, low-vapor-pressure, ethanol-free, 93 octane, premium unleaded automotive gasoline, beginning in the fall of 2013.”
Fly More, Pay Less
Explaining the importance of the project, Ellery stated, “Bringing Airworthy AutoGas to the marketplace provides an alternative for the majority of general aviation aircraft without compromising airworthiness. Our goal is to get pilots flying more for less.”
Avgas (aviation gasoline) is significantly more expensive than the so-called mogas (motor gasoline) used in everyday applications such as consumer automobiles. The extra cost is usually seen as a necessary evil to keep planes safely and reliably in the air. These latest tests, however, have proven the viability of premium automotive gasoline in certain applications. While there may be even more long-term benefits, the collaboration between Piper and Airworthy has already started bearing fruit.
Piper is currently displaying a Piper Archer powered by 93 UL at this year’s 2013 EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, WI.
Headquartered in Vero Beach, FL, Piper Aircraft Inc. offers efficient and reliable single-engine and twin-engine aircraft worldwide. Piper designs, manufactures, sells, and supports the strongest product line in the industry, ranging from high-performance pistons to turboprops to the world’s most fuel-efficient seven-person business jet. Series include the single engine M-Class—the Meridian, Mirage, and Matrix, the Twin Class Seminole, and the Trainer Class Archer TX, Arrow, Seneca V, and Seminole. All Piper planes include Garmin advanced avionics in the cockpit. Piper Aircraft Inc. is a member of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
Airworthy AutoGas, LLC, is a blender and distributor of petroleum products committed to promoting aviation and making flying more affordable by providing the highest quality fuel at the best price possible. Airworthy AutoGas is a fuel formulation that meets the Lycoming Engine’s Service Instruction 1070S requirements as well as the ASTM D4814 standard. As opposed to normal automotive gasoline, Airworthy’s patent pending AutoGas fuel design is created specially for use in spark-ignition internal combustion aircraft engine.
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