"Green" Fuel Powers Record-Setting Flight
The search for a replacement for 100 low-lead aviation gasoline (100LL) took a big step forward on September 11, 2010 as Richard "Smokey" Young set an official U.S. airspeed record by flying his Western Air Racing Special aircraft an average of 242.07 mph over a 100-km closed course in a Class C-1.a aeroplane (internal combustion engine aircraft weighing between 300 and 500 kilograms).
Richard "Smokey" Young with his Western Air Racing Special Aircraft
Young flew from the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport in Coachella Valley, California (near Palm Springs) to the Salton Sea near the Mexican border and back at an average speed of 242.07 mph, using an unleaded, high-octane fuel called SwiftFuel, developed by Swift Enterprises Ltd., a firm based at the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Indiana. He broke the record of 238 mph set in 2004 with leaded aviation gasoline. Tradition Aviation, located at Cochran Regional Airport, sponsored the flight.
The Western Air Racing Special is an International Formula 1 Aircraft powered by a Continental O-200 engine. Young is a 13-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, president of International Formula 1 Air Racing and runs the Aviation Pilot Training Program at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Calif.
"As I researched SwiftFuel, I became more convinced that "green" fuel is the direction general aviation needs to move," Young said. "I am determined to show everyone that renewable fuel is just as good from a performance standpoint as general aviation fuel.
"This record flight helped verify the performance characteristics of clean-burning Swift UL102 fuel and signals our race team's commitment to exploring eco-friendly alternatives to the current blends of aviation gasoline," Young said. "We hope to continue this program by establishing other speed records and through the exclusive use of biofuel in air show performances."
According to a technical report about Federal Aviation Administration testing, SwiftFuel demonstrated 13 percent more energy per gallon than 100 low-lead (100LL) and demonstrated normal engine wear and lower fuel system deposits as compared to 100LL.
Young's record has been forwarded to the Federation Aeronautique Internationale in Switzerland for approval as a World record.