Alexandria, VA, June 10, 2013 – The General Aviation Avgas Coalition praised the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) announcement today to formally request sample unleaded fuels for testing as possible replacements to the 100 low-lead (100LL) aviation gasoline (avgas) that general aviation aircraft use today.
The General Aviation Avgas Coalition, comprised of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), American Petroleum Institute (API), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), noted that the FAA's move to begin reviewing possible fuels is a significant step in the search for an unleaded aviation gasoline that will perform adequately in all types of general aviation piston aircraft.
While the aviation industry has long acknowledged that an unleaded avgas is desirable, finding a workable unleaded replacement has proven difficult. Most significant is the reality that any replacement fuel will not be a "drop-in" solution. This will drive the recertification of the entire fleet of existing piston aircraft. As a result, the FAA program will assess the viability of candidate fuels in terms of impact upon the existing fleet, production and distribution infrastructure, environment and toxicology, and economic considerations.
In 2012, an industry-government committee called the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (UAT ARC) developed a "Fuel Development Roadmap" to structure the search for a suitable replacement to 100LL. One of the recommendations called for an FAA Fuels Program Office, which was established in 2012.
The Fuels Program Office is leading the effort to produce fuel property and performance data that will be used by the fuel industry and regulatory agencies to evaluate unleaded gas replacement for eventual fleet-wide deployment. Additionally, the fiscal year 2014 FAA budget includes $5.6 million in funding to centralize avgas alternative assessment and testing. The work will be conducted at the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center and determine standardized qualification and certification data for candidate unleaded fuels to ensure the safety of the existing aircraft fleet.
"Today's announcement is the result of both industry and government recognizing the need to work together to craft long-term, economically viable solutions. FAA's participation and leadership in establishing this testing program is vital as we work to bring about an unleaded future for our industry. While challenges to that future still exist, they are best overcome when industry and government work as partners," said NATA President and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks.
NATA, the voice of aviation business, is the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.