Swift Biomass Fuel Speed Record Attempt

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Air Force veteran Richard Young will attempt, this Sept. 11, to establish a closed-course speed record using unleaded fuel developed by Swift Enterprises. Young will be flying his one-of-a-kind Western Air Racing Special, which is a "purpose built closed course pylon racer" that he flew at Reno in 2007, 2008, and 2009, according to his website. The current and applicable closed-course speed record for a piston-engine aircraft weighing between 300 and 500 kilograms was set in 2004 at 238 mph, according to Young. That aircraft burned conventional leaded avgas. Young hopes to run the course at 260 mph in his aircraft burning Swift's product and "verify the performance characteristics of clean burning bio fuel" at the same time. That could be difficult to do in one 62.1 mile stint flown at 260 mph (or about 15 minutes), but we'll be watching for whatever information the attempt produces.

Swift Enterprises' aviation fuel product is produced from biomass and the company says it is working toward FAA certification. The company says it could be capable of large-scale production within six months, but many regulatory, performance and certification questions remain. Swift announced on Aug. 24 that its fuel had completed a first long-distance flight when it powered the left engine of an Embry-Riddle Piper Seminole from Daytona Beach to Oshkosh and back. The company says the aircraft exhibited lower fuel consumption per volume in the Swift-fed engine than the 100LL-fed engine on the aircraft's right side. Swift's ultimate goal is to produce its biomass-derived fuel product as a drop-in replacement for 100LL.