Alexandria, VA, September 8, 2014 – NATA President and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks praised three companies – Shell, Swift Fuels, and TOTAL – for developing the unleaded aviation fuels selected today by the FAA for further testing as potential alternatives to leaded avgas. Laboratory and rig testing will begin this fall and continue for one year at the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center.
“The Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI), comprised of aviation industry representatives, petroleum experts, and the FAA has made significant progress towards developing a safe and affordable alternative to leaded avgas in advance of the FAA’s 2018 deadline,” said Hendricks. “We are excited to see how these fuels perform in the next phases of testing and hopeful one or more will emerge as a safe, environmentally sound alternative to leaded avgas."
NATA serves as a member of the PAFI Steering Group. The fuels selected today will be tested in a laboratory setting before determining how many will continue to the next phase, which will include full scale testing in engines and aircraft.
There are approximately 167,000 aircraft in the United States and a total of 230,000 worldwide that primarily rely on the currently available 100 low-lead avgas for safe operation. It is the only remaining transportation fuel in the U.S. that contains added tetraethyl lead (TEL) needed to create the very high octane levels required by high-performance aircraft engines. Operations with inadequate octane can result in engine failures.