The FAA’s Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (UAT-ARC), a group made up of aviation and oil industry representatives that is searching for an unleaded replacement for 100LL, met again this past December. Thanks to Lee Buechler of the Clean 100 Octane Coalition, minutes from this meeting are now available online. Two excerpts from these minutes are especially interesting:
There is confusion over the term “drop-in” fuel. It means one thing to the ARC, and another to pilots. The ARC definition means nothing changes in the production and distribution chains, as well as in the operating environment. Nothing. Pilots think of “drop-in” in purely an operating sense, without consideration for other matters. From the ARC point of view there will not be a “drop-in” fuel. From the pilot’s point of view there may be – for some, perhaps most, aircraft.
As GAfuels readers know, autogas, with nearly the same specific density as 100LL (weight/gallon), represents a true drop-in replacement for avgas that is capable of powering 70%-80% of the entire piston-engine aircraft fleet with little more than a paper STC in most instances.
As a side matter, those in attendance discussed the Center for Environmental Health litigation against avgas distributors in California. It was agreed that this matter probably represents a larger, and more immediate threat, to general aviation than anything else currently at play and that far too little information has been shared from AOPA, EAA and others.
Lead-free, ethanol-free autogas represents the only affordable, FAA-approved alternative to 100LL that is available today. Thanks to the efforts of the Aviation Fuel Club, it is making a comeback at airports, even in the state of California, home to the CEH.
The GAfuels Blog is written by two private pilots concerned about the future availability of fuels for piston-engine aircraft: Dean Billing, Sisters, Ore., an expert on autogas and ethanol, and Kent Misegades, Cary, N.C., an aerospace engineer, aviation sales rep for U-Fuel, and president of EAA1114.