The devil is in the details with unleaded avgas

In the 1970s, the automotive world switched from leaded to unleaded fuels and the oil companies did a lot of research on knocking and how to prevent it. One of the big projects involved octane requirement increase (ORI).

In this program, cars were rated for octane requirement when new and then every 2,000 miles. The octane requirement increased until it leveled off at about 20,000 miles. [Read more…]

Taxing the lead out of 100LL

California was the first state to attempt to remove the lead from 100LL by lawsuit. Unfortunately, the result of the unsuccessful CEH lawsuit only increased the cost of 100LL in the state.

Now, along comes Oregon, which wants to tax the lead out of 100LL. I have a feeling this method will appeal to other states, so prepare to see it find traction in your state legislature. [Read more…]

Result Of CEH lawsuit settlement: Were there any?

Fly Unleaded map

Late in 2011, a little known environmental organization, perhaps totally unknown in aviation circles, Center For Environmental Health (CEH) filed a lawsuit against “30 companies that sell and/or distribute lead-containing aviation gas (avgas) at 23 California airports, calling on the companies to provide safer alternative fuels.”

At the time, there was some fanfare in the aviation press about the lawsuit and it has been news off and on for three years. (Go ahead, Google: CEH leaded avgas I dare you).

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

Search for 100LL replacement raises many questions

When I started to write this post on unleaded avgas, I sat down to read about the upcoming evaluation program for four candidate fuels. The more I read the more questions it raised.

For instance, why does Swift Fuels have two candidates?

But the biggest question concerned the percentage of the piston aviation fleet that the new candidate fuels will satisfy. A few questions arise, like which engines are the most critical, under what conditions will they knock, which airframe, propeller, operating conditions are most critical, and on and on.

[Read more…]