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Auto Gas for More Piston Powered Engines

by John M. White |

Lycoming is seeking approval for its workhorse line of piston engines, the 0-360 and IO-360 engines, to use unleaded automotive gasoline for this line of standard compression ratio engines. The approval sought will not require any modifications or changes to the engines, nor will it require any special additives or modifications to the engine. The general manager for Lycoming Engines, Ian Walsh, stated that the process is "... essentially a paperwork drill to make this happen." He expects the FAA will approve the plan by this fall but owner pilots can not start use auto gas until their aircraft is also certified to use auto gas. The aircraft manufacturers must take this action which, again, is simply a paperwork process, but Lycoming did not know how long it would take for the aircraft manufacturers to accomplish this. However, the auto gas approval would only be for a very specific type of unleaded automobile gas, not just any auto gas. Walsh said that this particular auto gas, unleaded 93 AKI automotive gas, is not difficult to find, but pilots need to make sure they are getting the correct blend, not just any old auto gas. This fuel is generally cheaper than avgas and would provide an acceptable alternative to avgas. This series of Lycoming engines is found on many Cessnas, Mooneys, Diamonds and many more aircraft. In a related stroy Diamond Aviation is offering free fuel, insurance and training for a year for purchasers of a new Diamond DA40 XLS aircraft. Economic concerns and swiftly rising fuel costs have had a major impact on the sale of piston powered aircraft sales and Diamond is fighting back. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

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