Resolution 1473, passed by the House of Representatives in “Recognizing the value of recreational aviation” and as reported in General Aviation News on Sept. 16 , is rather amusing. On the one hand you would think that there is this widespread support for general aviation, particularly recreational aviation, in our Congress. However every one of those congressmen who was named as supporting recreational aviation, who was in Congress in 2007, also voted for H.R. 6 (2007), which is causing a great deal of economic damage in GA today. I doubt that any of them know it.
What is H.R. 6, you ask? It is more commonly known as the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007). I wonder if any of those congressmen has ever read the 310 pages of that act and, more specifically, the 30 pages of the Renewable Fuel Standard in Sections 201 – 248. Had they read those sections they would probably have thought that this RFS is for bio-diesel, E85 and flex-fuel automobile production, because that is all that is discussed in those sections. E10 is never mentioned and the act is not a mandatory E10 law. Yet the unintended consequences of that act will force 10% ethanol to be blended into all of the gasoline in the U.S. by 2012.
So the primary question you should be asking these representatives, especially if one is your congressional representative, and every other congress critter on the General Aviation Caucus, is “Do you realize that auto gasoline is an approved aviation fuel?” Well, do you? And what are you going to do to make sure that it continues to be available for use in recreational aviation that you claim to support?
If these congressmen want to really support recreational aviation, they should immediately support a bill to prohibit the blending of ethanol in all premium unleaded gasoline produced in the U.S. E10 is not a renewable fuel. Renewable fuel is defined commonly as E85 or at least E65 and above in the winter time. Every thing else is gasoline and our gasoline supply is being adulterated by the unintended consequences of EISA 2007 and if something isn’t done about it soon, the aviation industry, marine industry and public safety industry is going to suffer considerable economic damage. It is already happening. General aviation has a pitiable number of airports that sell Mogas on the field, but since May of this year we have lost more than 10 of those airports because they can’t find a supplier of ethanol free gasoline anymore.
I am the founder of the Ethanol Free Premium Coalition. I just received a very interesting email from a pilot in Kentucky. He has a Glasair III with an automotive engine conversion in it. Turns out the tanks built into his wings are vinyl ester resin just like the rest of the airplane. (This is the same construction method widely used in the marine industry.) He can’t use ethanol blended Mogas, as it will physically destroy his tanks, just as it has done widely in boats. Turns out he can’t use 100LL either, because the TEL ruins the closed loop oxygen sensor in his engine conversion. He is clearly the poster child of all of things that are going wrong in the aviation fuel industry today.
It would be helpful if the GA caucus and the aviation alphabets awoke from their warm fuzzy sound bite slumber and did something to actually support recreational aviation. They could start by ensuring a supply of ethanol-free Mogas and supporting infrastructure upgrades for additional fuel tanks/pumps on our public use airports. I urge pilots to contact their representatives, state and congressional, and the aviation alphabet groups to actually do something other than posturing and creating committees to study the problems. There is a fuel solution today that is available for 80% of GA — it is called Mogas. And it doesn’t have lead in it!
P.S. I will send one item from either the flyunleaded store or the Commit Lift store to anyone who contacts their state or congressional representative and actually finds one that knows that auto gasoline is an approved aviation fuel. You can pick any item from either of the stores. The politician just has to verify that you are the first pilot or aviation friendly person that has asked them the question. I reserve the right to call the politician and verify that you were the first person to contact them and ask the question. You have until Nov. 10 to find a real GA educated politician. And this way I get to talk to a politician and find out what they are doing to really support GA and get ethanol free Mogas on our airports; you just have to find them. (I don’t honestly believe that there are any out there, quite frankly.)
Submitted by Dean Billing
The GAfuels Blog is written by two private pilots concerned about the future availability of fuels for piston-engine aircraft: Dean Billing, Sisters, Ore., an expert on autogas and ethanol, and Kent Misegades, Cary, N.C., an aerospace engineer and aviation journalist.
For a list of airports that have ethanol-free fuel and those no longer pumping it, compiled by the authors, follow this link.