I just read Mr. Visser’s article about ethanol and airplanes (Ethanol and airplanes: A good mix? May 19 issue). I agree that ethanol blended gas may not be the best choice for aircraft use.
However, as an ex-farmer and now an aircraft mechanic, I have a slight argument about the general use of ethanol blended gas. In the early 1980s we started running 10% ethanol blended gas on our farm. It ran in everything on our farm, even our 1953 John Deere “G” tractor and I never experienced any engine problems. The only engine problem that I could attribute to gas was in my brand new 1986 pickup. The injectors would clog and I had to run a cleaning agent mixed in the gas every time I filled up. It never mattered where I filled up or whether the gas was blended or not.
Because I was born and raised in North Dakota the water suspension properties of an Ethanol blend kept us from adding “HEET,” a gas line antifreeze, in our gas during the winter.
I am not disputing Mr. Visser. He has a bunch more experience than I do dealing with fuels. I just have never had any problem with a 10% ethanol blended gas, even in the oldest tractor that I had. That tractor still runs today and I would run an ethanol blend all the time if I could. From what I have heard there are states that only sell a 10% ethanol blended gas. I fully understand that we will most likely never be able to run 100% ethanol in anything but highly modified engines, but I think that an ethanol blended gas is a great way to relieve some dependance on oil. Then we will not be trying to fly the New Cessna Prius Hybrid aircraft.