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CESSNA 150H – N23107

In March of 1980, Paul Poberezny wrote in his monthly SPORT AVIATION column, “The Homebuilders Corner,” that the lack of alternative fuels, the cost of aviation fuel and increasingly the lack of availability of fuel were cause for great alarm in the aviation community. He devoted his entire editorial to explaining the factors that were causing the crisis and then in genuine Paul Poberezny style, he offered his leadership to help solve those issues.

EAA had been conducting auto fuel tests on its own aircraft for some years. Using the WagAero CUBy powered with a 90 hp Continental engine, the 220 hp EAA Spirit of St. Louis replica, and the Bellanca Pro powered with a 180 hp fuel injected Lycoming, EAA flew a total of 700 hours on automotive fuel without difficulty. Altitudes ranged from sea level to 22,000 feet and all three aircraft were certified in the experimental category.

Further testing was desperately needed to realize the use of auto fuel in aircraft, but funds were non-existent. At that time, the EAA Board of Directors stepped forward and approved a $30,000 grant toward the research and adaptability of automotive fuel in aircraft. At the same time, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Foundation contributed an additional $25,000 towards the project. It was around that time that EAA received an anonymous donation of a Cessna 150H which would become the first official EAA Auto Fuel Test plane.

Under the leadership of engineer Harry Zeisloft and chief pilot Jim Barton, the auto fuel testing program was off and running. Jim was a newly retired American Airlines DC-10 pilot and Harry had recently retired as Chief Engineer of Research and Development at the A.C. Spark Plug Division of General Motors. With limited funds, EAA kept leading the way in the use of auto fuel in aircraft.

On the night of August 5, 1982, a six-year effort by EAA to obtain a Supplemental Type Certificate for the use of unleaded automotive gasoline in standard aircraft came to a successful conclusion. FAA Administrator J. Lynn Helms took advantage of a scheduled address to the EAA membership in the Theatre in the Woods at Oshkosh ’82 to present the STC to EAA President Paul H. Poberezny.

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