Phase 1 testing begins on unleaded avgas

Phase 1 testing of four possible replacements for 100LL begins this month at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City.

The four unleaded fuels — one from Shell, one from TOTAL, and two from Swift Fuels — will undergo laboratory and rig testing to analyze a number of factors, including materials compatibility issues with aircraft components, such as fuel bladders, fuel gauges, pumps and more.

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Shell Aviation: A decade of research continues

Last December, Shell Aviation revealed that it was the first major oil company to develop a lead-free replacement for 100LL.

The lead-free formulation is the result of 10 years of “exhaustive R&D,” according to company officials.

While some worry that large companies will forsake GA as it is such as small segment of the fuels market, Shell officials say that’s not true for them.

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Expect third class medical reform in 2015

AOPA Petition

At the last Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) regional fly-in of the year, pilots clamored to sign a giant petition calling for reform of the third class medical.

It’s a scene that’s been played out at all the AOPA events throughout the year, association officials say, reporting that more than 10,000 signatures have been garnered since the petition first appeared at SUN ’n FUN. The panel that was at McKinnon St. Simons Island Airport (KSSI) in Georgia was the 10th panel.

“It’s been really popular,” said Steve Hedges, AOPA’s spokesman.

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Continental launches CamGuard evaluation

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Continental Motors has teamed with Aircraft Specialties Lubricants (ASL) to evaluate the benefits of CamGuard, an aviation oil additive manufactured by ASL.

The program will evaluate CamGuard in engines overhauled or repaired by Continental Motor Services at the former Mattituck facility in Fairhope, Ala.

While CamGuard has been on the market for quite a while, Continental officials said it was time to “demonstrate the merits of pairing the latest lubricant technology with current engine technology, resulting in less maintenance, lower overall operating cost and greater longevity.”

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Teen celebrates 16th birthday with 14 solo flights

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Forget a Sweet Sixteen party. Wyatt Angel of Mount Airy, N.C., spent his 16th birthday doing something way more fun — flying 11 airplanes solo at the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport (KMWK), then making his way to the Piedmont Soaring Society in nearby Farmington, where he soloed three gliders.

He hopes his birthday celebration will win him a spot in the world record books.

Soloing 14 aircraft on the first day he was legally allowed to solo was something Wyatt had been planning for a long time.
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A type club for backcountry pilots

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New to backcountry flying and want a great place to find out how to get started? Or are you a veteran backcountry pilot looking for like-minded souls?

Whichever you may be, you are in luck. There’s a meeting place on the web that was created just for you: BackcountryPilot.org. Started in 2004 by software developer and backcountry pilot Zane Jacobson, the website features news, stories, tips, and a forum for pilots to share information.
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STC in the works for G100UL

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While the government begins its testing of four potential 100LL replacements, George Braly and Tim Roehl of General Aviation Modifications Inc. in Oklahoma just finished up yet another test of their unleaded 100-octane avgas — G100UL — at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

The fuel underwent flight testing and engine block testing in one of the school’s carbureted 172s.

“No issues were found,” Roehl reports. “We just lack a couple of other tests to complete our first STC on the 172.”

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The state of the state

While there’s no doubt the FAA has a lot of control over general aviation, what’s happening closer to home may be — ultimately — more important. Having a City Council or a state government that’s a fan of general aviation can make all the difference in the world.

Just ask Christopher Willenborg, administrator of the aeronautics division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and chairman of the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO).

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The future of fuel

“We have to stop loving the problem and just fix it.” Those words, spoken by Lycoming’s Michael Kraft at the 2010 AirVenture, may sum up best the quest to find an unleaded replacement for 100LL.

Ostensibly, the industry has been working since the early 1990s towards finding a solution, but efforts didn’t really get serious until a few years ago. [Read more…]