With vehicle fuel prices surging across the country, pilots are also feeling the pain at the airport pump, with the price for a gallon of avgas averaging more than $6 in every region, as reported by the website 100LL.com. According to statistics reported by AirNav.com, average prices for Jet-A remain about 50 cents lower, while mogas is a whopping $1.50 less than avgas.
Being well into the second half-century of my life, I vividly recall how, in 1973, the OPEC oil embargo, knee-jerk government-imposed price controls and the subsequent shortage of gasoline wreaked havoc on our nation’s economy. On my 16th birthday of that year, Nov. 6, I soloed an airplane for the first time at the late, great Kentucky Flying Service on Bowman Field, Louisville, Ky., where I happily slaved each weekend as a line boy to earn the $20 required for an hour and a half of dual in a C150.
Although the hourly rates for flying remained fairly stable over the next year, the cost of gas needed to get to the airport started cutting into my meager funds, stressed further when I discovered girls. With the appearance of the first “Hep-er-Sef” self-service gas stations, bringing significant cost savings, things started looking up for this plane-crazy teenager.
GAfuels readers won’t be surprised by the conclusions of a new study from MIT graduate student Kamala I. Shetty: Higher fuel prices lead to less flying. The study, “CURRENT AND HISTORICAL TRENDS IN GENERAL AVIATION IN THE UNITED STATES,” included a survey of pilots on their past and future flying habits and what affects this.
Ethanol producers have found themselves under more pressure than ever in recent months, with numerous efforts afoot to grant waivers or even repeal the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) production mandates encompassed in the EISA 2007 Act that have resulted in the nearly complete adulteration of our nation’s fuel supply in recent years. The latest drought in corn-producing states is contributing to the rise in gas prices at the pump and a war of words between leaders of corn-producing states and those where its use as feed for livestock is pinching profits and adding more woes onto the already fragile budgets of many American households.
News reached your bloggers in recent days of four more airports that now offer lead-free, ethanol-free mogas:
- Hendricks County Airport – Gordon Graham Field (2R2), Indianapolis, IN
- Mifflintown Airport (P34), Mifflintown, PA
- Clarke County Airport (23M), Quitman, MS
- Putnam County Airport (4I7), Greencastle, IN
The dust has literally settled in Oshkosh, and there was a good deal of it on the first days of AirVenture 2012 when high temperatures and winds turned the headquarters of U2OSH — Unleaded to Oshkosh — into a blast furnace. A last minute mix-up (EAA had double-booked our space with Beechcraft) forced a move onto Celebration Way, which turned out to be a good location, directly on the main route of travel between the exhibit’s entrance and Phillips66 square. Many members of the Aviation Fuel Club found us and registered for the event, receiving a special decal and T-shirt commemorating the 30th anniversary of the FAA’s approval of the first autogas STC during Oshkosh 1982.
Last September I reported on our efforts to complete a rare Stits SA-7D Skycoupe project first begun in the early 1960s. Our group of homebuilders in central North Carolina set a few basic goals to achieve by the end of the year: Form a club; recover all flying surfaces; and return the plane’s Lycoming O-290-D engine to operation.
Thanks to strong interest among area builders, we achieved our initial goals, and a few others we had not planned. [Read more...]
The June 2012 issue of the Cessna Pilots Association Magazine featured an article from Jim Cavanagh titled “Get the Lead Out!” The third part in a series, it dealt with alternatives to 100LL. While it includes a good review of efforts to find an unleaded 100-octane replacement, we felt the need to weigh in on the comments regarding autogas. We asked Todd Petersen, owner of Petersen Aviation, for his thoughts:
Among the myths that one occasionally hears regarding autogas (aka mogas) is that it is of poor quality compared to avgas. We asked Todd L. Petersen, owner of more than 100 auto gas STCs, to comment on the changes he’s seen in gasoline quality in the three decades since the FAA approved the first autogas STC in 1982: