Air Capital Insider

Piper Aircraft test flies plane on automotive fuel

Vero Beach, Fla.-based Piper Aircraft has completed flight tests of a Piper Archer single-engine airplane powered by automotive gasoline.

Piper worked with Airworthy AutoGas in Phoenix. The flight test was conducted at Piper’s Vero Beach plant.

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

The plane was powered by 93 octane premium unleaded gasoline. The Archer holds 48 gallons of fuel.

One of the goals is to reduce the cost of flying, Airworthy AutoGas said.

Aviation fuel is traditionally more expensive that automotive fuel.

Replacing leaded aviation fuel with unleaded fuel has long been a goal of the aviation industry, which has been searching for solutions for aircraft.