The U.S. House Appropriations Committee last week approved funding to support continued research into the transition to unleaded avgas for piston-engine aircraft.
According to a report on the National Business Aviation Association website, the appropriation was part of the larger fiscal year 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill, which was approved on a 28-21 vote, and now heads to the full House.
The committee approved $6 million to fund the transition from today’s leaded aviation gasoline (100LL) to an unleaded aviation gasoline now being researched. When it receives final approval, the funds should take the research all the way to deployment of the new avgas.
Acting on Clean Air Act requirements, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun the process of establishing standards that will allow only the use of unleaded avgas in the future. NBAA officials note the association is part of the GA Avgas Coalition calling for a transition plan that balances safety, cost, availability and ease of production with environmental concerns.
The development of an unleaded avgas is a collaborative effort between the EPA, the FAA and industry stakeholders to develop an unleaded avgas. NBAA also is a member of GA’s Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative, which is working to identify a drop-in replacement for 100LL, an option that would not require extensive modification of existing piston aircraft power plants in the fleet.
“The government and our industry are committed to finding a safe, workable solution at the earliest possible date,” NBAA’s Chief Operating Officer Steve Brown noted. “Congress has repeatedly funded research into alternative fuels, many of which are bio-based and would not contain lead. Also, they have specifically funded research into drop-in alternatives and new fuel blends, some of which are slated to enter the testing phase in June.”