TsAGI proposes using gas motor fuel for small aircraft
28 October 2015
In October, the scientists of TsAGI, CIAM and InterAviaGaz JSC experimentally proved the possibility of using gas motor fuel for small aircraft and includes aviation condensed (propane-butane) fuel - ACF. Similar studies have shown positive results for gas-turbine engines.
For ground tests the experts used a demonstration four-cylinder air-cooled piston engine. Most small-size aircraft are equipped with such power plants.
Some design changes have been introduced to the engine construction allowing it to maintain its operating characteristics when using ACF. TsAGI’s expert in this area, Vyacheslav Zaitsev, gave some explanations: "During the test the engine was started without any problem and it continued to operate properly in all modes. To prove the efficiency of our proposed fuel if compared to aviation gasoline (avgas) we, together with our colleagues, have planed another series of experiments."
In the future, the experts plan to design a flying demonstrator on the basis of an existing aircraft with a piston engine. These tests should confirm the possibility of modifying current similar aircraft with the dual-fuel option. This will increase the economic efficiency of business, aero-medical, patrol, and agricultural aircraft which now use expensive avgas. According to Vyacheslav Zaitsev, the dual-fuel engine option will be effective from the commercial point of view, especially in the conditions of the Far North and similar areas. These are the regions where the gas that is to be used for ACF production is abundant.
Andrey Shustov, the Head of TsAGI’s department of aerospace equipment development prospects, shared his opinion: "The introduction of the gas motor fuel into aeronautical equipment will put regional domestic helicopters and airplanes into a category unique within their class. They will provide minimal fuel costs, compared with their foreign analogues. ACF will also significantly improve the emission performance characteristics of the engine, thus reducing air pollution by combustion products."