‘Ethanol Kicks Gas’

Poe takes Fagen plane to new heights
By Holly Jessen | January 17, 2011

As Greg Poe flies above, aggressively flipping and stalling his MX2 two-seater airplane, air show attendees get a strong message about the power of renewable fuels. “It becomes apparent that I have a lot of confidence in the airplane,” he tells EPM.

Poe has spent 18 years on the national air show circuit, the past five with sponsorship by Fagen Inc., promoting ethanol. He considers it an honor, helping people understand that there’s an alternative fuel they should take a look at using themselves, he says.

That message reaches a lot of people. In 2010, more than 3.6 million people attended 22 domestic air shows in 18 states and one show in Roatan, Honduras. But the exposure doesn’t end there. Everywhere he goes, Poe’s plane is featured in major newspaper and magazine articles and on national television. In all, Poe’s team estimates that more than 30 million people were exposed to the ethanol-positive message in the past year—and that’s a conservative estimate. For example, his ability to withstand high amounts of g-force was featured on national television in a 15-minute program called “Stan Lee’s Superhumans.” The show had about 1.2 million viewers when it aired originally and reruns about once a month.

Poe wasn’t always as confident in ethanol as he is today. When he first started testing the fuel, he was very cautious, flying with two fuel tanks and switching to ethanol once airborne. He then watched the gauges very carefully to make sure there were no problems. He was surprised to find that the plane actually runs better on ethanol, running cooler with more horsepower and without fouling the spark plugs as aviation fuel does. Besides that, Poe can feel the difference in a smoother ride with ethanol. 

This year, Poe plans to get an MXS, a single seater plane, which he will use for air shows. He’ll use the MX2 for promotional rides, he says.

In addition to performing in air shows, Poe has spoken to more than 10,000 children through the Elevate Your Life program. He comes into the community early and gives a presentation at schools, youth groups or other venues. Motivated by the fact that he lost his son to drug abuse, Poe wants to reach children with a message of setting goals, following dreams and taking a positive path in life.