September 2, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
Air racer and airshow performer Smokey Young says he will attempt a closed-course speed record Sept. 11 in Palm Springs, Calif., using Swift fuel, promoted as an alternative to 100LL.
Young will use his Formula 1 race plane to beat the current record of 238 mph in the category of aircraft weighing 300 to 500 kilograms (661 pounds to 1,102 pounds). The current record was established in 2004.
If successful, it would be the first record in its class to be set with a fuel derived from creating hydrocarbons from bio-mass. The fuel is now produced in testing quantities for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Cessna Aircraft Co., Lycoming, and AvFuel. AvFuel is testing it in gasoline tankers. Embry-Riddle hopes to use the fuel under a supplemental type certificate (STC) in its fleet of Cessna 172 aircraft. It will start the STC application process in October.
Young will use the fuel in airshows and to set additional records at public events. Other airshow performers have also used their celebrity status to promote alternative fuels. Greg Poe used his airshow performances to put the spotlight on ethanol as an alternative fuel. Other than ethanol, Poe also uses his public recognition to talk with kids and get them to focus on the positive things in their lives that helps them reach their full potential. He has reached 5,000 young people.
Swift Enterprises, located in West Lafayette, Ind., promises 100SF (Swift Fuel) releases more energy than 100LL, increases range, and reduces pollutants. (See “ Grass for gas” in the September 2009 AOPA Pilot.)
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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