Afton, Wyoming-based Aviat Aircraft brought a surprising new version of its popular backcountry two-seater, the Husky, to AirVenture this week. The new Husky CNG, a version of Aviat’s Husky A1-C, has been fitted with an additional fuel tank, contained in a belly pod underneath the fuselage, carrying compressed natural gas (CNG) that has been used to fuel the 200 hp Lycoming that powers the tailwheel airplane. With a simple switch in the cockpit, the pilot can choose between running the engine on the standard 100LL fuel or the CNG.
The concept airplane, which will be on display outside the Innovations Pavillion at the AirVenture show grounds in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, this week, was developed together with the Aviation Foundation of America (AFA) out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. AFA president Greg Herrick claims the advantages of CNG fuel include “fuel cost savings, cleaner burning fuel and no lead emissions.” At 138, the octane rating of CNG is also higher than 100LL, which results in a higher power output and lower exhaust gas and cylinder head temperatures.
The CNG used in the Husky is the same renewable natural gas used in homes and offices. CNG filling equipment is expected to be available next year at a cost of about $500 for a small unit.
At this stage, the airplane is strictly a proof-of-concept according to Aviat’s president Stu Horn. As far as certification goes, “we don’t know enough about it to understand what is necessary,” Horn told Flying. He is, however, planning on taking the idea to Oklahoma to find out whether FAA certification of the concept is viable. “The performance and ease of operation have exceeded our expectations,” Horn said.
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