Four alternative fuels to undergo testing

WASHINGTON, D.C – The FAA has selected four unleaded fuels for the first phase of testing at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center. The goal is for government and industry to work together to have a new unleaded fuel that reduces lead emissions for general aviation by 2018.

Shell and TOTAL, with one fuel each, and Swift Fuels, with two fuels, will now work with the FAA on phase-one testing, which will begin this fall and conclude in fall 2015.

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FAA receives unleaded fuels proposals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The FAA reports it has received 10 replacement fuel proposals from producers Afton Chemical Company, Avgas LLC, Shell, Swift Fuels and a consortium of BP, TOTAL and Hjelmco, for further evaluation in the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI), an industry-government initiative designed to help the general aviation industry transition to an unleaded aviation gasoline.

The FAA will now assess the viability of the candidate fuels to determine which fuels may be part of the first phase of laboratory testing at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center. The goal is for government and industry to work together to have a new unleaded fuel by 2018, according to FAA officials.

“We’re committed to getting harmful lead out of general aviation fuel,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This work will benefit the environment and provide a safe and available fuel for our general aviation community.”

There are approximately 167,000 general aviation aircraft in the United States that rely on 100LL aviation gasoline for safe operation. It is the only remaining transportation fuel in the United States that contains the addition of lead, a toxic substance, to create the very high octane levels needed for high-performance aircraft.

PAFI was established to facilitate the development and deployment of a new unleaded aviation gasoline with the least impact on the existing piston-engine aircraft fleet. PAFI will play a key role in the testing and deployment of an unleaded fuel across the existing general aviation fleet, FAA officials note.

Congress authorized $6 million for the fiscal year 2014 budget to support the PAFI test program at the FAA Technical Center.

“The FAA, the general aviation community and the Environmental Protection Agency are focused on this issue, and we look forward to collaborating with fuel producers to make an unleaded aviation gasoline available for the general aviation fleet,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

On June 10, 2013, the FAA asked fuel producers to submit proposals for replacement fuels by July 1, 2014. The goal is to identify, select, and provide fleetwide certification for fuels determined to have the lowest impact on the general aviation fleet.

The FAA will analyze the candidate fuels in terms of their impact on the existing fleet, the production and distribution infrastructure, their impact on the environment, their toxicology and the cost of aircraft operations.

By Sept. 1, 2014, the FAA will select several of the fuels for phase-one laboratory and rig testing. Based on the results of the phase one testing, the FAA anticipates that two or three fuels will be selected for phase-two engine and aircraft testing. That testing will generate standardized qualification and certification data for candidate fuels, along with property and performance data.

For more information:  FAA.gov 

Pointless poll or marketing ploy?

In the May 15, 2014 EAA Hotline email there was an interesting article in the Member Benefit Spotlight section. It reported the results of a Fuel Survey purportedly taken in March by the Experimental Aircraft Association with 13,000 replies by members. The findings were rather interesting: 87% of members are using primarily 100LL and 12% are using autogas.

As I digested this finding, a pertinent question came to mind: If 12% of members are tenacious enough to use mogas when only 3% of our airports carry mogas, why didn’t EAA ask the membership: “How many members would use mogas if it was as available at the 3,000+ airports that carry 100LL?”

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Confusion surrounds Motor octane rating

Earlier this year I gave several state IA renewal seminars. I always enjoy these because I get to greet many old friends and find out what is going on in the industry. I also get a lot of excellent information from people who are actually doing the work, along with some great questions.

One of the questions was a version of one I receive at almost every session: “Why can a Rotax with 9:1 compression ratio run knock free on 91 R+M/2 auto gas and a 8:1 compression ratio Lycoming need 100LL with an R+M/2 of around 104+?”

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There you go again

On Jan. 19 your bloggers posted a rebuttal to an article in EAA’s Sport Aviation titled “Avfuel Takes on Fuel Challenges” by J. Mac McClellan that deals with the never-ending saga of a replacement for leaded avgas. We did our best to correct the fallacies in the article. Judging from the numerous positive comments we received, most of you agree with the facts that we presented.

In the immortal words of then-candidate Ronald Reagan during the 1980 debate with president Carter, “There you go again.” Incredibly, the February issue of Sport Aviation included a new article (“Fueling the Future of GA” on page 10) that contained even more misleading statements on aviation fuel that demand correction.

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