Pilots in the Pacific Northwest are enjoying lower-cost fuel and reduced lead problems ever since Arlington Flight Services at the Arlington Municipal Airport (AWO) added aviation-grade, 92 AKI mogas earlier this month. As many know, this airport hosts the annual Arlington Fly-In each July, one of the largest sport aviation events in the country. The availability of mogas at next year’s event is sure to encourage more to attend.
In AVweb’s recent article on the acquisition of Thielert by AVIC, the parent company of Continental Motors, Rhett Ross, CEO of Continental, expressed the reality that your bloggers have reported on for the past several years: ” … Continental said it wanted multiple solutions to accommodate both a global market and a U.S. market that steadfastly refuses to decide on fuel preferences in a world market that already has: Jet A and mogas.”
Despite the positive reaction to our ‘Unleaded to Oshkosh‘ event from 2012, lower-cost, lead-free mogas will still not be available at AirVenture 2013. As we reported in 2011, there are multiple nearby options for those who prefer the fuel. Below is a list of 10 airports within a 75-mile radius of KOSH where mogas is offered for sale.
As described in our March 10 article, it is generally accepted that fuel companies hit the so-called blending wall this past winter, a situation where EPA blending mandates cannot be fulfilled, even if every drop of gasoline contains 10% ethanol by volume. This has unleashed the unintended consequence of RIN (Renewable Identification Number) speculation, as described in this article from the oil industry newsletter Platts.
My co-author, Kent Misegades, recently wrote an article about the confusion of some in airport management about allowing mogas operations on an airport. Sad to say, it isn’t just a few airport managers. There is widespread ignorance about mogas use in aviation that permeates the FAA bureaucracy, the aviation alphabets, aviation media, state aviation departments and especially the auto gasoline industry.
Recently we heard from an exasperated reader from a major general aviation airport in southeastern Texas. Like many of his fellow recreational pilots in the Lone Star state, he had asked his new airport manager for help getting mogas onto the airfield as a means to lower the cost of flying. He had even gone to the effort to find a surplus fuel tank and a supplier of aviation-grade mogas (ethanol-free, 91+ AKI). The response from the airport’s manager is sadly typical of the confusion that remains prevalent in aviation. I have paraphrased this below: