Canada, FAA Cooperate On Fuel Research

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A couple of months after making the first-ever flight of a jet aircraft on 100-percent biofuel, Canada's National Research Council is applying the knowledge it gained in that effort to help the FAA find a drop-in replacement for 100LL. The NRC will conduct a comprehensive series of experiments and evaluations of five potential avgas substitutes at the government-run facilities in Ottawa. NRC director of flight operations Tim Leslie said in a podcast interview that NRC had planned to do the research independently but it has now agreed to cooperate with the FAA's effort in a fundamental way.

Like the FAA, NRC decided to test the alternative fuels in high-powered Lycoming engines, which power the majority of the aircraft that need 100 LL. At the request of the FAA, NRC will instead use Continental engines in the tests and the cooperative effort will cover almost all of the engines that might be affected. The exception is radial engines still used commercially by some operators and in warbirds. NRC will test five 100 LL alternatives, including Swift and Gami fuels along with 94 UL and very low-lead gasoline. It will also include a Canadian entry from the same company that produced the jet fuel Leslie burned in the NRC's Falcon business jet. Meanwhile, the NRC and its partners in the jet-fuel experiment are celebrating a tip of the hat from Popular Science magazine. It named the biofuel flight as one of the top 25 scientific achievements in 2012. It was the only aviation-related effort to make the list.