Swift Fuels is once again creating a buzz in the general aviation world with the announcement that it will produce 94 MON avgas. The unleaded fuel alternative will work in light sport aircraft that have Rotax engines, aircraft that have a supplemental type certificate for autogas, and airplanes that can run on avgas (engine rated 94 motor-octane-number or lower).
Swift Fuels and Petersen Aviation worked together on a new avgas STC that will allow the fuel to be used in the Cessna Skyhawk (172R and -S models), Cutlass, Cardinal, and Skylane; Piper Aztec, Comanche, Cherokee, and Seminole; Beechcraft Musketeer, Travel Air, and Duchess; Lycoming-powered Maules; and Mooney models A through D and G. The new STC covers 288 distinct airframes, and Swift said it expects to add 1,000 more in a few weeks once the FAA completes the paperwork. Pilots can purchase the STC through the Swift Fuels avgas STC website. (Light sport aircraft with Rotax engines and aircraft with an autogas STC can start using the fuel as soon as it is available.)
Swift worked with Lycoming’s Service Instruction 1070 to get the engine type certificate information and match it to airframe certifications to ensure they covered as many aircraft as possible. The 94 MON avgas has a higher octane than autogas, has low vapor pressure year-round like other avgas, and is low in gum-forming compounds so it is safe to store for long periods of time.
Swift Fuels CEO Chris D’Acosta said the company has a 200,000-gallon fuel blending facility so that the fuel will be ready to ship to distributors and fixed-base operators. Swift could not comment on what the price of the fuel would be because that is set by the individual FBOs.
“Pilots from all over the country are knocking on our door,” D’Acosta said. Swift employees are talking to pilots and FBOs during AirVenture to gather data on where to offer the fuel initially. The company has been looking at five or six states around Indiana as the initial market but is also talking to people from around the country.
“We’ve been able to collect real-world feedback from pilots and FBOs,” said Karl Post, president of The Hayzlett Group. Swift will take the feedback gathered at AirVenture, compile it, and analyze it to “lay out a course of action” for distributing the fuel, D’Acosta said.
D’Acosta was careful to explain that while the company plans to expand production and distribution nationwide in 2016, they won’t be able to get the fuel to everyone’s home airport until a more efficient means of distribution is available. D’Acosta said Swift hopes to work with all of the main distributors, including Avfuel, World Fuel Services, Eastern Aviation Fuels, Epic, and Phillips 66.
Swift has been talking to FBOs from around the country and said that many have alternative tanks available for the fuel. D’Acosta added that Swift could also help FBOs get an alternative tank.
D’Acosta said that Swift is still committed to finding a replacement for 100LL avgas and its two fuels currently undergoing testing through the FAA’s Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative. “We have a huge vested interest” in a 100LL avgas replacement, he said. The 94 MON avgas just helps fill the gap for airplanes that couldn’t get an autogas STC but don’t need to run on 100 MON avgas.
In advance of EAA AirVenture, Swift Fuels distributed its 94 MON avgas to a few airports. Two airports in Indiana and one in Michigan are offering the fuel, targeting those flying to and from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for AirVenture.
G&N Aircraft at Griffith-Merrillville Airport in Griffith, Indian, is selling the fuel for $4 per gallon; Anderson Municipal-Darlington Field Airport in Anderson, Indiana, is selling the 94 MON avgas for $4.25 per gallon; and Brooks Field Airport in Marshall, Michigan, is offering it for $4.15 per gallon.