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Leading the way in general aviation: SMA’s piston engine powers a world record-setting flight


July 22, 2016

Safran business unit SMA's piston engine has played a vital role in another aviation milestone, powering a Cessna 182 on its way to setting the first Aeroplane Efficiency World Record in a C-1-c-class aircraft – as sanctioned by the National Aeronautic Association and Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.

This month’s record-setting flight utilized SMA’s SR305-230-series powerplant as a retrofit on the Cessna 182, which is from the Paramus Flying Club in New Jersey. At the controls were pilots Ross McCurdy, a science teacher from Rhode Island, and SMA Engines Vice President Thierry Saint Loup.

The flight – which used a 50/50 blend of Jet-A fuel and renewable Camelina plant seed oil – took off and landed at New Jersey’s Caldwell Airport on July 12. The 848-nm triangular course was completed in 9.1 hours, resulting in an efficiency of 15.1 nm per gallon and setting a word record in its class (pending standard review process). 

To determine the amount of fuel used and the efficiency attained, the aircraft was weighed prior to and after the flight. A total of 56 gallons of aviation biofuel blend was used during the voyage. 

The July 12 flight was completed near maximum gross weight in a standard, Federal Aviation Administration-certified configuration without any modification – which otherwise would have placed the aircraft in the “experimental” category. 

SMA's four-cylinder SR305-230-series engines address the issue of increasingly scarce and expensive aviation gasoline for reciprocating piston engine aircraft (also known as Avgas) for the general aviation community. They also provide a 30-40 percent reduction in fuel consumption when compared to powerplants that use leaded Avgas – resulting in significantly longer range, endurance or payload, and increasing the aircraft’s overall versatility.