Researchers at Purdue University in Indiana have agreed to work with Swift Enterprises to test the company’s unleaded aviation fuel, the university said this week. Recent tests at Purdue used six aviation piston engines including a Lycoming TIO-540-J2BD, the highest-octane-demand engine currently manufactured, and a 65-octane Ranger L-440 built in 1933, which is one of the lowest-octane-demand engines in use. “SwiftFuel appears promising as a replacement for 100LL general aviation fuel,” said David Stanley, principal investigator for the research project. The fuel is also being tested in a Beechcraft Duchess light twin aircraft used as an airborne laboratory by the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.
The Duchess testing included two days of flying under similar atmospheric conditions, which allowed for a good head-to-head comparison of SwiftFuel and 100LL under actual flight conditions, according to the Purdue news release. Paul Shepson, head of Purdue’s chemistry department, said the tests compared the fuels’ performance, acceleration and operational differences on the ground and in the air. “SwiftFuel performed very well during the tests,” he said. “I was unable to discern any significant difference in performance between SwiftFuel and 100LL during the in-flight tests.” Swift Enterprises and Purdue have agreed to continue the research project through at least April 2012.
AVweb’s Paul Bertorelli spoke with Swift’s David Perme about the fuel last summer; click here for that podcast.