Biofuel-powered speed record confirmed

February 10, 2011

Richard "Smokey" Young set a world closed-course speed record in September flying an airplane powered by biomass-derived SwiftFuel, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale has confirmed.

The record flight took place in Thermal, Calif., using Young’s Western Air Racing Special Formula One racer. Flying from the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport to the Salton Sea and back at an average speed of at 389.57 kilometers/hour (242.7 mph), Young broke the previous record of 382.87 km/hr over a closed circuit of 100 km, set in 2004. Young said he is convinced general aviation needs to move in the direction of “green” fuel.

"This record flight helped verify the performance characteristics of clean-burning Swift 100SF and signals our race team's commitment to exploring eco-friendly alternatives to the current blends of aviation gasoline," he said. "We hope to continue this program by establishing other speed records and through the exclusive use of biofuel in airshow performances."

SwiftFuel, developed by Swift Enterprises Ltd., is an unleaded fuel that can be derived from biomass; Swift is developing the fuel as a high-octane unleaded alternative to 100LL. It powered Young’s Continental C-90 engine for the record, which was in the category of piston-powered landplanes of a takeoff weight 300 to 500 kg, without payload.

Tradition Aviation, which also hosted flight testing and provided hangar space at the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport, sponsored the flight.