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.