High School Teacher Completes Record-Setting Fuel-Efficiency Flight

Rhode Island-based pilot completes 848-mile trip on 56 gallons of fuel.

Biofuel Cessna 182
Ross McCurdy's biofuel-powered Cessna 182.Ross McCurdy

Ross McCurdy is at it again.

The Rhode Island-based high school teacher who last year completed the first coast-to-coast trip in a biofuel-powered small aircraft has completed a record-setting fuel-efficiency flight.

In a Cessna 182 with an SMA diesel engine, McCurdy and a fellow pilot rounded off an 848-mile course on just 56 gallons of fuel.

McCurdy took off from Caldwell, New Jersey, and made stops in Buffalo, New York, and Portland, Maine, before heading back to Caldwell. With a fuel efficiency of 15.1 nautical miles per gallon, the trip was completed in about nine hours.

The 182 was fueled with a 50-50 mix of jet aviation fuel and biofuel. McCurdy says that although the fuel burns with approximately the same efficiency as aviation fuel, the SMA diesel engine is 30 to 40 percent more efficient.