Autogas expert Harry Zeisloft dies

The sad news of the death of Harry Zeisloft reached us this week. As reported by the EAA, “Harry Zeisloft, who was one of EAA’s longest-serving board members and an integral part of EAA’s effort to create the auto fuel Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), passed away Sunday, April 1, in Mesa, Arizona. He was 93.”

Zeisloft served on the EAA board of directors for 40 years — from 1957 to 1997 — and also served on the EAA Aviation Foundation board from 1972 until 1996.

Todd Petersen, whose company Petersen Aviation owns most of the autogas STCs, commented  on his own experiences with Zeisloft: “More than any other single individual, Harry Zeisloft is the man responsible for not just the first auto gas STC but due to that effort, for the rest that followed. Of the personalities I’ve met, the old timers I’ve had the privilege of listening to, Harry was perhaps the most forward thinking of them all. He recognized early on how useful auto gas STCs would be. He also knew when someone was making a mountain out of a mole hill, and he wasn’t afraid to point that out. Congratulations Harry — on a life lived well, and long.”

The late Jack Cox, former head of publishing at the EAA, once described to me Mr. Zeisloft’s dogged effort, along with Jack and others, to overcome the FAA’s tough requirements in gaining the first autogas STCs back in 1982. The fuel’s excellent track record since then is a real tribute to his pioneering work.

With the future of leaded avgas now in doubt, and the only generally available, FAA-approved lead-free aviation fuel being autogas, Harry’s legacy will be greater than he probably ever expected. Smooth sailing out West, Mr. Zeisloft.

The GAfuels Blog is written by two private pilots concerned about the future availability of fuels for piston-engine aircraft: Dean Billing, Sisters, Ore., a pilot, homebuilder and expert on autogas and ethanol, and Kent Misegades, Cary, N.C., an aerospace engineer, aviation sales rep for U-Fuel, and president of EAA1114.



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