Stakeholder Committee Recommends Collaborative Industry-Government Initiative to Facilitate Unleaded Avgas Transition

FAA report charts a roadmap that identifies the essential elements that need to be addressed to make this happen in a way that maintains safety and the role government should take to minimize the total cost.


Washington, DC, June 27, 2012 – Today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published the final report and recommendations from the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (UAT ARC), a collaborative industry-government task force of key stakeholders representing aircraft and engine manufacturers, fuel producers and distributors, operator groups, aviation associations, FAA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This group studied the challenges associated with this transition and made recommendations necessary to facilitate the development and deployment of an unleaded fuel with the least impact on the existing piston-engine aircraft fleet. The transition to an unleaded fuel to replace 100LL may still be years away, but this report charts a roadmap that identifies the essential elements that need to be addressed to make this happen in a way that maintains safety and the role government should take to minimize the total cost. 

The UAT ARC found that a “drop-in” unleaded replacement fuel that can be seamlessly deployed for the existing fleet of aircraft is not available and that alternative fuels require significant assessment to ensure safety. In addition, to date there is not a market driven reason to move to a replacement fuel due to the limited size and specialty nature of avgas, combined with the safety, liability and expense involved with a complex approval and deployment process. After its own review, the FAA “found the information and recommendations contained in the report to be very helpful in understanding the challenges of transitioning the piston engine-powered fleet to an unleaded avgas.”

The UAT ARC provided several recommendations and detailed action plans necessary to facilitate the development and fleet-wide deployment of an unleaded avgas. The key recommendations include:

  • Implementation of a “Fuel Development Roadmap” that identifies specific milestones in the avgas development process and information needed to support assessment of the viability of candidate fuels in terms of impact on aircraft and production infrastructure and economic considerations. 
  • Centralized testing of candidate unleaded fuels at the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center funded by government and industry in-kind contributions to generate qualification and certification data.
  • Establishment of a collaborative industry-government initiative, referred to as the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI) to coordinate implementation of the UAT ARC recommendations to develop and deploy an unleaded AVGAS with the least impact on the existing piston-engine aircraft fleet.

If recommendations are fully implemented and funded, up to 10 unleaded aviation gasoline candidates could be evaluated. Within five years, the process would generate qualification and certification data to support fleet-wide certification of the most promising candidates. The actual transition to an unleaded avgas depends directly upon the level of impact upon the existing fleet and fuel production infrastructure. Therefore, the ARC recommendation includes up to six years for additional assessment and testing that may be necessary to facilitate a transition such as implementing approvals across the entire fleet, certification of modifications and changes to fuel production infrastructure.  

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