“This is an accomplishment that adds to TCM’s catalog of aviation firsts, such as the introduction of a horizontally opposed cylinder configuration, fuel injection, turbo charging, and electronic engine controls, or FADEC,” stated Rhett Ross, president of Teledyne Continental Motors. “TCM is committed to leading the industry toward a common 100LL alternative fuel that minimizes cost to aircraft owners,” Ross said.
“This is another big step in our sustainability initiative at Hawker Beechcraft and something that will delight general aviation pilots,” said Ed Petkus, Hawker Beechcraft’s vice president for product development and engineering. “This partnership with TCM exemplifies the leadership of our companies and our commitment to supporting the technologies necessary to find an alternative to 100LL. I am confident our customers and the entire aviation industry will benefit from our joint efforts.”
TCM began investigating unleaded fuel alternatives to 100LL aviation gas early in 2007, Ross said. Efforts included participation in the Coordinated Research Council, analysis of various commercial fuel options, and extensive fuel tests on engines in the company’s dynamometer test cells. Prior to conducting its first flight, the company chose as its flight test fuel “the one most likely to be submitted for certification and standardization as a piston aviation fuel,” Ross said, but he did not identify it or the engine it ran in.
The demonstration flight, performed by TCM pilot and engineer Keith Chatten and engine performance analyst Tim Kenney, occurred in a production G1000-equipped Model 36 Bonanza. The flight profile tested all aspects of flight including takeoff, climb, maximum power cruise, low power cruise, descent and landing. The airplane was equipped with data recording devices to provide data for post flight analysis.
With the first flights complete, TCM will begin the certification process of several engine models to meet the needs for existing and future aircraft, Ross said.