Originally Posted by nomocom
Actually that isn't correct, unless you are simply expressing an opinion. Especially since we are on a experimental aircraft forum, how about we talk without using so many absolutes? It would be officially correct to say, "Do not use ethanol in a certified aircraft". Even then, that would be a generalization since some aircraft in Brazil are approved for ethanol and there are a few aircraft here in the US that have an STC for ethanol :-) But, in any case, +99% of the certified aircraft in the US are not.
Experimental aircraft. Do not use unless you've worked through the changes that need to be made to the aircraft. Vansairforce has some good threads on what builders have done to adapt their experimental airplanes to ethanol blends. One can read up on how ethanol and methanol is used for ADI (anti detonation injection). Reno air racers today and the powerful old radials, some of them had ADI. Also, check out the Vanguards and Greg Poe for boxer aircraft engines running just fine on ethanol. Sure, you have to make some changes, but don't we have some room for that in experimental aviation?
And Kent replied.....
Yes, of course owners of Experimentals can do what they want, but few I know would take the risk with the fuel or lubricants in their engines. ADI uses water/methanol (not ethanol) mixture that is contained in a separate tank and sprayed directly into the fuel charge; this has nothing to do with ethanol in gasoline. Poe's engine ran on 100LL for most flying and an ethanol blend during airshows. If you don't mind draining your fuel system of an ethanol blend after every flight as he did, and as the 100% ethanol users in Brazil do, then I suppose this is OK in an Experimental, assuming every component that ethanol might touch in the engine and fuel system can tolerate it. Note that Greg Poe flew for Fagen Inc., the country's largest builder of ethanol plants, so of course they would claim that there are no issues with ethanol, which is very far from the truth.
Remember too that ethanol will start destroying components even with one single batch of fuel. Switching back to pure E0 fuel will not reverse the damage already done. There is also no denying that ethanol has only 70% of the BTUs per gallon as gasoline does, so using any amount of it will lead to lower power and less range, in addition to a myriad other issues that are very well documented. What pilot would knowingly use a fuel guaranteed to lower the power that his engine would use? That's what you have with an ethanol blend.
For a good idea how ethanol blends damage millions of engines, read the statements for any given state in this survey:
Yes, the Rotax engine is approved for E10, but talk to any Rotax repairman (like my son) and they will recommend only the use of premium, ethanol-free fuel as the best. Jabiru's were approved for E10, but the company rescinded that approval for its aircraft after experiencing serious damage to the fuel system caused by phase separation and the resulting highly corrosive water/ethanol mixture that sits in a fuel tank.
Airplanes with their open-vented fuel systems, kept in operation for 40-50 years, are not comparable to cars. Just because E10 might work in the latest generation of cars (but is still inferior to ethanol-free fuel) does not imply that it is safe to use in any airplanes. Apples and oranges.
Instead of risking their lives and property, pilots should put their effort into working with their state legislature, congressman, the EPA and others to ban the use of ethanol in premium fuel, as Mississippi State Senator Michael Watson has proposed in his state. Call too on the leaders of the EAA and AOPA to do the same. Using any amounts of ethanol in an aircraft engine is comparable to Russian Roulette, in my opinion, which is based on three years of studying and reporting on the subject, experience with my own aircraft engine (that was destroyed by the accidental use of E10), and thousands of comments from others who engines have been damaged or destroyed by ethanol blends.
EAA #520919, Homebuilder, Vintage, Aerobatics
President, EAA1114, Apex, NC www.eaa1114.org
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