Piper flight tests aircraft that runs on automotive fuel

Piper Aircraft has completed flight tests of a Piper Archer powered by 93 octane premium unleaded automotive gasoline.

The company says that it worked with Airworthy AutoGas LLC to prove the concept in a test flight regime conducted from the company’s Vero Beach manufacturing campus.

The Piper Archer is powered by a single Lycoming O-360-A4M engine generating 180hp. Fuel capacity of the Archer is 48 U.S. gallons (182 litres). The Lycoming O-360 series engines are four-cylinder, direct-drive, horizontally opposed, air-cooled models, and are approved for use of 93 octane unleaded fuel.

“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 Piper President and CEO Simon Caldecott. “Our next operational effort will include cross-country applications, working with Airworthy AutoGas to ensure availability en route.”

“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,” said Airworthy’s Director of Business Development Mark Ellery. “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,” he added.

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