What oil should you use?

Many pilots want to know what oil to use and where to get it.

To answer these questions accurately, I sent a questionnaire to the four main oil companies that supply lubricants to the general aviation industry. I received nice replies from Shell and Phillips, a note from BP that said the company was changing personnel and that they would get back to me, and an e-mail from Exxon that said that everything is on its website (ExxonMobil.com).

[Read more...]

Six tips to cut your flying expenses

Frugal flying may be some sort of oxymoron, but there are a number of things pilots can do to minimize expenses.

The first and foremost is to maintain your engine and keep it on spec. A fouled spark plug or retarded mag timing can increase your fuel consumption significantly.

[Read more...]

A new fuel takes flight

On Dec. 17, 2007, the United States Air Force flew a C-17 Globemaster III from McChord Air Force Base in Washington to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey on a 50/50 blend of synthetic fuel and JP-8, a traditional hydrocarbon jet fuel.

[Read more...]

Own a certified airplane? Just say no to ethanol

In my Nov. 23 column, “”What effect does ethanol have on airplanes?””, I tried to answer the question of what to do if you end up accidentally getting some auto gas that contains ethanol in your airplane. I had intended this to be information for people who tried to use non-ethanol containing auto gas, but unintentionally got fuel with ethanol.

[Read more...]

What effect does ethanol have on airplanes?

“”What is the effect of having mixed 10% ethanol with avgas and/or ethanol-free mogas on two or three occasions?”” asks reader Ken Rice. “”The place where I bought ethanol-free mogas lied to us about the change to 10% ethanol. I only found out about it when I asked the tanker driver.””

[Read more...]