Alternative fuels like ethanol for both cars and aircraft are once again in the news in recent years but few people may realize that the debate over whether ethanol should be used as a fuel for aircraft is in fact, old news. Recently, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) posted an article entitled “Will Alcohol Mixtures Rule?” that appeared in a June 1935 issue of Popular Aviation magazine. The article expressed concerns about the corrosive effects of alcohol based fuels and blends upon aircraft parts, the potential for price volatility due to fluctuating commodity prices and the various lobbyists and industry groups trying to influence the political decision making process. In other words, the same concerns that are expressed today – roughly 75 years later (to read more about these concerns, check out the General Aviation News’ GAFuels blog).
The 1935 article and debate is well worth reading for anyone one interested in alternative fuels for aircraft or the debate about their use.