Piper fueled by autogas completes cross-country roundtrip

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Piper Aircraft recently flew a Piper Archer powered by 93 octane unleaded automobile gas 2,100 nautical miles roundtrip from Vero Beach, Florida, to Oshkosh, Wis., and back. The Piper Archer was on exhibit at Piper’s EAA AirVenture static aircraft display.

Piper worked with Airworthy AutoGas LLC, Phoenix, Ariz., to prove the concept in a test flight regime conducted from the company’s Vero Beach manufacturing campus. Airworthy AutoGas positioned specially formulated auto gas en route from Vero Beach to Oshkosh and back for a demonstration of the Archer’s cross-country capabilities.

Stops along the departure and return route included Vidalia, Ga. (VDI), Somerset, Ky. (SME), and Valparaiso, Ind. (VPZ).

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

“The cross-country roundtrip flight is another step in proving the concept as Piper looks to a future of more environmentally friendly fuels to power piston aircraft,” said Piper President and CEO Simon Caldecott.

Airworthy AutoGas is a patent pending, ethanol-free, 93 octane, premium unleaded automotive gasoline that includes octane improving and vapor pressure stabilizing components, in such proportions that the final blend meets the requirements of ASTM D4814 and Lycoming Engine’s Service Instruction 1070 “S.” Airworthy AutoGas, unlike traditional automotive gasoline, is designed for use in powering spark-ignition internal combustion engines used in aircraft applications.

Airworthy AutoGas plans to produce and distribute the fuel beginning this fall.

Pictured above: The Archer being fueled at VPZ.


  1. Mark says

    Thanks Dean Billings for setting the record straight. We have one airport in Fayetteville Ar. offering E0 autogas on site. THAT IS RIDICULOUS and says the state this industry is in.

  2. says

    Piper did not fly an Archer “… powered by 93 octane unleaded automobile gas …”. It flew an Archer on an Experimental airworthiness certificate on 93 AKI automobile gas made to ASTM D4814. Despite the tweaks to the fuel, it was auto fuel, not 93 octane avgas. Therein lies several problems. Although it is mogas, it is a boutique mogas that will cost accordingly, probably approaching or exceeding the price of avgas. If Piper were to sell aircraft that were certificated for the Airworthy fuel without a mogas STC, it would be opening itself to a huge liability, because Airworthy fuel is ASTM D4814 fuel and a pilot may be inclined to refuel with any 93 AKI auto fuel on an airport since it is made by a number of other producers and is available on several airports already. I am not aware of any aircraft manufacturer that has ever specified a single brand of fuel. Ironically Petersen Aviation has an STC for the PA-28 with the Lycoming O-360-A4M so the aircraft could be operated on any 91 AKI, or above, autogas out there. I believe it would make more sense to invest in mogas infrastructure on our airports so that the 60,000+ aircraft with STCs and the increasing number of LSA aircraft that are being produced, have the fuel they need readily available, on our airports. Airworthy is going to face exactly the same monumental headwind that mogas faces today, and the mythical 100 octane drop in replacement will face tomorrow (while in transition), there is no infrastructure for it.

  3. Mark says

    Special formulated……patent pending……..WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? the STC from Petersen says meet D4814 standard, and ethanol 0. RVP standards can be dealt with in the spring, if they have to be at all now a days. Get any honest distributor to get a load to your own tank (farmers have done it for years) and specify NO BOB stock, exact octane you want, and 0 ethanol (tell them over and over again why, that your life depends on 0 ethanol). What is so patent pending about that? The problem is most folks don’t have a tank (or bulk barrels like in this photo shot). There in is the real problem, how to get bulk conveniently to the consumer. Now if you guys can figure that out, you do get a medal.

  4. DANIEL STYBR says

    So, finally an alternative to $6 100LL. Finally, someone is leading the parade. So, what will this avgas cost? Are we waiting around for $7 avgas?

  5. Richard Auger says

    This mogas use is nothing new. My cousin and I built a Wagaro that flew on nothing else but mogas since 1990 and he is now flying is new RV 9 for over a year and has sinced cross Canada and parts of the U.S. still on mogas. This is the way to go!

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