Hard science needed in avgas issue, not politics and fads

LETTER TO THE EDITOR from TOM MULLER, Poland Spring, Maine

I was impressed with Michael Kraft’s thoughtful article on the replacement for 100LL (Guest Editorial: Beware the “sound bite solution: There are no easy answers to the complex avgas issue). Several aviation writers seem to be assuming that because 94UL is already on the market in Europe, that it is the de facto winner of the search for a 100LL replacement. Europe is not the USA and the last thing we should do in aviation is to adopt a standard just because Europe uses it. We have more airplanes, particularly low-cost older airplanes, a wider variety of types and, in all likelihood, more hours flown per aircraft than in Europe. I suspect that 94UL will cost more and deliver less performance.

We need to look at all the alternatives, particularly the homegrown Swift fuel, which promises better performance, lower cost per gallon and no aircraft modifications.

The final decision should be based on hard science and hard economics (the life cycle costing kind), not on fads or politics. I am pleased to see that Lycoming supports an objective evaluation and hope the oil companies will do the same.


  1. says

    There is no “hard science” about Swift fuel. As you admit it is just a promise at this point. If you look at their web site it is less than a promise, they give very little information and what they do give is very dated and many of the FAQs are false and misleading. While they have delivered some sample fuel to the FAA, Continental and Lycoming, there is no guarantee that their process is commercially scalable or viable, yet GA is betting the farm on it to replace 100 LL.

    Sometime this year the ASTM spec for 94UL will be approved but there is no place to put it. It will die just like 82UL for lack of infrastructure on our airport.

    There is nothing scientific about waiting around for and unproven, pie in the sky process in the hopes that it will work before TEL is banned or the only producer in the world stops making it because it isn’t economically viable any more. Either one of those outcomes is for sure but Swift fuel is not.

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