Swift Enterprises' unleaded aviation gasoline successfully tested in radial engine
October 25, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.; GRANGEVILLE, Idaho; and ROANOKE, Texas - A company based in the Purdue Research Park has completed an informal round of testing of its high-octane, unleaded, sustainable aviation gasoline in an unmodified World War II-era radial engine.
More than 100 gallons of Swift Enterprises' 100SF powered an unmodified Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine during three days of testing conducted at Anderson Aeromotive Inc. in Grangeville, Idaho. Test results showed that 100SF produced a higher detonation onset threshold than 100LL. The engine was operated at 115-145 octane takeoff power settings and there were no indications of engine knock.
Ron Adams, performance lead at Swift Enterprises, said the tests were conducted to evaluate 100SF's ability to meet the needs of pilots who fly critical missions using large radial engines.
"Some remote communities in Alaska and other areas of the world are inaccessible by ground transportation, and they depend on aircraft powered by large radial engines to bring essential supplies," he said. "To date, these engines posed a significant barrier for any alternative aviation fuel because they demand high-octane gasoline to produce their design horsepower. We wanted proof that 100SF can shatter that barrier."
Dave Ormond of Anderson Aeromotive Inc. stands next to a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engine in a testing station in Grangeville, Idaho. The unmodified engine was used to test high-octane, unleaded, sustainable aviation gasoline developed by Swift Enterprises Ltd. (Swift Enterprises photo/Ron Adams)
The tests were conducted by FAA Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics Dave Ormond, who also holds inspection authorization, and John Lambert. Anderson Aeromotive is operated by Ray Anderson and Bob Nielsen, who have more than 70 combined years of radial engine experience. Anderson explained why he and his colleagues agreed to test the gasoline.
"The need to replace our present leaded avgas with an environmentally friendly alternative is obvious," he said. "We are happy to cooperate in this effort to continue to evaluate 100SF, and we look forward to the next round of testing."
Adams said Norman Koerner, president of TriCap International Inc., was the catalyst needed to make the testing possible.
"Norm is an invaluable asset - an international MD-11 captain, and FAA-certificated A&P mechanic with subject-matter expertise in the field of warbirds and the engines that power them," Adams said. "He approached us some years ago with the commitment to test 100SF and has been unrelenting in identifying, organizing and scheduling all the participants in these tests. We owe Tri-Cap International and Anderson Aeromotive a tremendous debt of thanks."
Koerner has had a longtime interest in flying aircraft with large radial engines and knew the leaded fuel needed to operate them was under scrutiny.
"Learning that Swift Enterprises and Anderson Aeromotive shared this concern, it was natural to arrange the initial testing that has now proven that 100SF is most definitely a candidate for further testing," he said.
100SF will undergo another, more intense and formal round of radial engine testing in 2012 as funding becomes available. Tri-Cap International will be the lead, but the date and location are yet to be confirmed.
"The next phase, which will include further detonation, ADI and pressure carburetor work, will pave the way for commercial operators of legacy aircraft - who burn more than 10 percent of the avgas used in the United States - to continue providing their essential service," Koerner said. "Additionally, 100SF will be able to power the heritage aircraft that are indispensible in preserving the history of World War II. I think it's the right thing to do, so let's 'keep 'em flying!'"
About Swift Enterprises Ltd.
Established in 2001, Swift Enterprises works with novel chemicals as new components in energy conversion devices. Swift brings a combination of military, academic and private enterprise experience to the practical research and development of propulsion, ordnance and power technologies. In the mid-1980s, the company's founders worked at Edwards Air Force Base in California, where they conducted research on rockets and rocket fuel for the government. Swift Enterprises has completed research for Lockheed-Martin Astronautics, DARPA, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy.
About Anderson Aeromotive Inc.
Anderson Aeromotive is an FAA-certified repair station specializing in the overhaul of large radial engines and is the world's largest overhauler of cylinders for Pratt & Whitney and Curtiss-Wright engines. Their facility covers 55,000 square feet of storage for engines, consumable parts and engine subparts on eight acres of land. Anderson Aeromotive currently employs more than 30 mechanics, and overhauls or repairs approximately 50 engines per year.
About Tri-Cap International Inc.
Tri-Cap International is a Texas-based company that specializes in serving the community of high-performance, piston-powered aircraft. Tri-Cap provides consulting and management services for aircraft modification and updates, including avionics. Their expertise includes dealing with FAA documentation and approvals. Specializing in the Douglas A-26 and DC-3, as well as the Lockheed PV-2, Tri-Cap has accomplished many FAA field-approved modifications and is experienced in the STC approval process. The company currently holds the STC for installation of the Century 41 autopilot in the Douglas A-26.
About Purdue Research Park
The Purdue Research Park has the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country in four locations across Indiana. The park network is home to about 200 companies that employ 4,000 people and are located in West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany.
Purdue Research Park contact:
Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, email@example.com
Ron Adams, 765-464-8336, ext. 39, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ray Anderson, 209-983-3435, email@example.com
Norm Koerner, 817-430-6286, firstname.lastname@example.org