Experimental Experience of Cold Starting a Spark Ignition UAV Engine Using Low Volatility Fuel
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present results of practical experience of cold starting a gasoline engine on low volatility fuel suitable for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) deployment. Design/methodology/approach – Experimental research and development is carried out via dynamometer testing of systems capable of achieving cold start of a spark ignition UAV engine on kerosene JET A-1 fuel. Findings – Repeatable cold starts have been satisfactorily achieved at ambient temperatures of 5°C. The approximate threshold for warm engine restart has also been established. Practical implications – For safety and supply logistical reasons, the elimination of the use of gasoline fuel offers major advantages not only for UAVs but also for other internal combustion engine-powered equipment to be operated in military theatres of operation. For gasoline crankcase-scavenged two-stroke cycle engines, this presents development challenges in terms of modification of the lubrication strategy, achieving acceptable performance characteristics and the ability to successfully secure repeatable engine cold start. Originality/value – The majority of UAVs still operate on gasoline-based fuels. Successful modification to allow low volatility fuel operation would address single fuel policy objectives.