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:
Piper Aircraft announced today that they are working with Airworthy Autogas to test the company’s new aviation-grade mogas in its latest Lycoming-powered aircraft. As described in this press release issued today, “Piper Aircraft Inc. has completed flight tests of a Piper Archer powered by 93 octane premium unleaded automotive gasoline. Piper worked with Airworthy AutoGas LLC, Phoenix, Ariz., to prove the concept in a test flight regime conducted from the company’s Vero Beach manufacturing campus.”
In moves that are largely symbolic, Florida and Maine recently passed laws aimed at providing more ethanol-free options at the pump.
Last week your bloggers received news that Chevron appears to be departing the avgas distribution business. We called Hank Maierhoffer, manager of the Plantation Airpark in Sylvania, Ga., (JYL) who confirmed that his avgas supplier, Chevron, is ending sales of avgas and has covered up his Chevron sign.
Further evidence that consumers demand an ethanol-free alternative has been provided in recent weeks by actions at both state and federal levels. As reported by this blog on Feb. 20, Florida State Representative Matt Gaetz has led an effort to repeal his state’s mandates on the use of ethanol blends in vehicles.
As was the case when I reported from the great AERO Friedrichshafen show last year, judging from the latest generation of engines and aircraft on display this year, Europeans have put the issue of leaded avgas behind them. Once again, all of the new engines on display operate on lead-free, ethanol-free mogas or Jet-A, either in diesel pistons or small turbines. What’s more, smaller diesel engines are starting to emerge, great news for light aircraft designers.
Despite the recent rise in prices for aviation fuel and what we consumers pay at the gas station, news contained in this recent RIGZONE article paints a sunny picture for increased U.S. reserves and ultimately lower prices.
When we might see lower fuel prices at our airports is anyone’s guess, [Read more…]