Wednesday, 17 March 2010

What goes up...keeps going up

I hear rumours that fuel prices are about to take a significant leap upwards. This, when the average price is around £1.65 a litre, is cause for concern, at least if you operate a thirsty aeroplane. Prudent fuel planning for me means 50l/hr or £83 per hour if you prefer. That's OK if I'm using the aeroplane as a business tool, and it's acceptable, if painful, if it's to go somewhere nice, but I can't justify it if I'm just flying for the sake of it.

There are of course things that can be done, even with the C182 - I can fly it in what I like to think of as Mousquetaire mode - this involves throttling way back, winding down the rpm and leaning aggressively - the power is so low that there's no chance of damage from running over-lean; when set up like this the aeroplane performs, and more importantly consumes, like a Mousquetaire in normal cruise.

Other options are more radical and involve buying and selling aeroplanes, or perhaps even fitting a diesel engine - there's an STC to retrofit the SMA diesel to the C182, but a few years ago (back in January 2006 to be precise) the price of the conversion through CSE, the SMA dealer at the time, was €90,000, and you can buy a lot of avgas, even at today's prices, for that.
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