March 2010 Issue
Avgas Replacement: Chicken, Meet Egg
Compared to piston aviation fuels research, mushroom farming is a daylight operation. Thatís not to say the fuel work is secretive, itís just that it goes on more or less constantly, but nothing meaningful seems to come of it. At least you can have the mushrooms on your salad. Against this backdrop of apparent non-action comes yet another entrant into the 100LL replacement sweepstakes, this one called G100UL. This new fuel comes at the problem from far out in left field from a company known more for burning fuel than creating it: General Aviation Modifications, Inc., the Ada, Oklahoma, mod house that shook up the hidebound world of aircraft engine research with its radical ideas on lean-of-peak operation and an almost religious conviction that turbonormalized engines are better than turbocharged engines. With G100UL, GAMI is again running against the grain and, to a degree, challenging the accepted notion that before a new fuel can be widely tested, it has to be certified. But, says GAMIís George Braly, thatís backwards. Thereís no point in reducing entire forests to pulp to certify a fuel if refineries arenít interested in or canít build the stuff profitably, thus GAMIís idea is to field its new developmental fuel to a select fleet under an STC while simultaneously pursuing regulatory approval. To a degree, that will test the economics, too, since production will have to rise to at least the pilot-plant level to supply a small fleet experiment.
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