Ross McCurdy (center) with son Aedean and EAA member Betty Darst
On April 25, 2016, EEA member Ross McCurdy completed the first transcontinental flight using aviation biofuel in a certified light aircraft. Flying 5000 nautical miles coast to coast on a 10 day round trip, Ross and his 12-year-old son Aeden, flew from Rhode Island to Santa Monica, California and back to Rhode Island. Ross, a high school science teacher accomplished this on his spring break.
The flight began on April 16, stopping in Dayton on Wilbur Wright’s 149th birthday. For this first leg of their flight, EAA Chapter 48’s aviation community based at Moraine Airpark in Dayton provided a grand reception with a cookout complete with vintage aircraft rides for Ross McCurdy and his 12-year-old son Aedean. EAA member Brad Templin hosted them overnight at his airport home. They were presented with an Aviation Trail "Wilbear" (see "Trail Sites" on main menu) which traveled with them for the rest of their trip. Stopping again at the Moraine Airpark on the return refueling flight on April 24, they were met by EAA Chapter 48’s President Tim Christman. For this last night of their 10-day trip the chapter’s hospitality included an overnight hotel stay.
They flew a retrofitted Cessna 182 from the Paramus Flying Club in New Jersey – using a 50/50 blend of Jet-A fuel and renewable Camelina plant seed oil to power the 5,000-nautical mile coast-to-coast round trip. The fuel was secured thru a partnership with Wright Patterson Air Force Research Laboratories. The flight was the first transcontinental journey performed with biofuel in both directions.