By: Melissa Randall


Ponaganset High School teacher Ross McCurdy is taking his science lessons to new heights, literally.

“I've been working on this for years. I'm really excited about this,” McCurdy told ABC6 News on Wednesday.

Next month the private pilot from Smithfield will be flying a small airplane from North Central Airport in Rhode Island all the way to Santa Monica, California. What’s special about this trip is that McCurdy will be using fuel made from Camelina plant seed oil. The 2,500 nautical mile trip will be the very first trans– continental flight of its kind!

“There have been a few flights with experimental planes, but this one is using a drop in fuel that we can put in our diesel plane or we could put in a jumbo jet. It's completely legal and certified,” explained McCurdy.

The main goal of the adventure is to highlight the advantages of biofuels which come from renewable sources.

“One of the biggest things is they produce less carbon dioxide so life cycle– over 50% less carbon dioxide, which is a green house gas, which can lead to global warming,” said McCurdy.

Members of the Paramus Flying Club, which owns the plane, will be joining McCurdy for parts of the flight. McCurdy's 12-year-old son will also be tagging along for the ride. Aedan share’s his Dad’s passion for science and flying, but for him, this once in a lifetime trip is all about the chance to bond with his biggest role model.

“There will be one part of the trip which I’m really excited for where it's just going to be me and my dad. So it’s going to be like that for 3 days and I’m really going to enjoy that I think,” said Aedan.

The plane the McCurdy boys are showed ABC6 News when we visited them isn't the exact one they'll be using on the journey, but it is close. The actual plane being flown is a Cessna 182.

Once up in the air they'll be able to cover about 600 miles per day before having to stop to refuel. It should take them about 3 to 4 days to complete the trip. The McCurdy’s will take off April 16th, weather permitting, of course. They plan to return from California on April 22nd, which is earth day.

To learn more about the project visit McCurdy’s website:

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