Plane & Pilot
Saturday, October 1, 2005

Avgas Alternatives

Is there a solution to skyrocketing fuel prices?

Why a motor tube, you may ask? Why not run the rubber band right between the seats and down to the tail? If you asked, then you’ve obviously never seen a rubber model that’s over-wound when the rubber band lets go. I certainly wouldn’t want a couple hundred pounds of Pirelli’s best flailing around in the cockpit. Besides, picture a Bonanza with a gigantic, knotted rubber band running between the passengers. Our professional image would slip a little in that situation.

I wonder how many rubber bands (or corncobs) it takes to generate 180 hp? My calculator doesn’t know how to figure that out.

So, is there an answer for expensive avgas? Not at our level. We’re at the mercy of the fuel companies and the world economy in general. The best that we can do is run smaller motors and get really good at leaning our machines. Plus, it should be an absolute rule that we never look at the price on the pump. If we don’t know what something costs, it always seems less expensive.

Budd Davisson is an accomplished aviation writer and photographer, CFII & A, aircraft owner and builder. He has authored two books and lectured at the Smithsonian and NASA’s Langley Research Center. Check out his Website at


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