April 27, 2016 Edition

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Biofuel airplane trip
includes WR stop

Ross McCurdy of Smithfield, R.I., adds fuel to the airplane he and his son, Aedan, flew 5,000 miles using aviation biofuel made from Camelina plant seed oil.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Gretchen Hunt

The Walnut Ridge Regional Airport was one of the stops that Ross McCurdy and his 12-year-old son, Aedan, made last week while completing a 5,000-mile coast-to-coast trip in a biofuel airplane.

McCurdy is a science teacher at Ponaganset High School in Rhode Island, and the trip started at the North Central State Airport in Rhode Island on April 16.

The fuel used to power the aircraft is made from renewable Camelina plant seed oil and had to be shipped ahead to the different destinations, including Walnut Ridge, for refueling.

The fuel is a 50-50 blend of the camelina plant seed oil and petroleum Jet A.

"This fuel could be used in any aircraft that uses jet fuel," McCurdy said.

McCurdy previously conducted a cross-country trip in 2008 using biodiesel in a 1997 GMC pickup. He made that trip with three students, but said this trip has been made even more special by getting to make it with his son.

"He's been a super help," he said.

The four-passenger, single engine Cessna 182 landed at the Walnut Ridge Airport on April 17 and departed April 18. It ultimately ended up at the Santa Monica Airport in California before making the return trip.

When arriving back at Rhode Island on Monday, McCurdy posted, "This has been an amazing flight, and it was great to meet so many people interested in aviation and renewable energy."

More information can be found at www.bioplane.us.

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