McCurdy, Ross Aviator

Ross McCurdy of Smithfield and his 12-year-old son Aedan will be embarking on a transcontinental flight in a Cessna 182.

Former Attleboro resident Ross McCurdy and a fellow pilot have completed a record-setting fuel efficiency flight using a small plane equipped with a biofuel-burning diesel engine.

McCurdy, a high school teacher in Rhode Island, and Thierry Staint Loup, an executive with SMA Engines in Texas, took off from New Jersey Tuesday and completed an 848-mile triangular course in just over nine hours.

According to a news release, the craft completed the trip using 56 gallons of fuel.

That resulted in a fuel efficiency of  15.1 nautical miles per gallon, establishing a world record in its class sanctioned by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

The Cessna 182 was weighed before taking off from Essex County Caldwell Airport and again after landing to determine the amount of fuel used.

During the trip, the plane travelled  from Caldwell, N.J., to Buffalo, N.Y., then to Portland, Maine, and back to Caldwell.

The plane used a 50-50 mix of jet aviation fuel and biofuel derived from plant seeds.

The fuel burns with relatively the same efficiency as aviation fuel, McCurdy said, but the plane’s SMA diesel engine is 30 percent to 40 percent more efficient than an equivalent gasoline-fueled engine.

Diesel engines are gaining popularity among small-aircraft owners, McCurdy said.

Last April, McCurdy and his son Aedan completed the first coast-to-coast trip in a biofuel-powered small aircraft.

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