SANTA CLARA COUNTY, California — Leaded aviation fuel is no longer available at Reid-Hillview Airport in East San José and San Martin Airport.
A Jan. 6, 2022, press release from the county noted that only unleaded fuel will be sold at the airfields.
The County Board of Supervisors voted to stop leaded fuel sales in August, following the release of a study that linked ongoing use of leaded aviation gas with elevated lead exposure for the 13,000 children living near Reid-Hillview Airport, the press release noted.
“The county-commissioned study found that if leaded emissions (and the related adverse impact on IQ and cognition) ended, children living near the airport would realize a gain of $11 million to $25 million in lifetime earnings,” country officials said in the press release.
The move makes Reid-Hillview and San Martin likely the first airports in the nation to stop carrying 100LL, county officials added.
“We are thrilled to be a vanguard for the move to unleaded aviation fuel,” said County Board of Supervisors President Mike Wasserman. “The future of general aviation airports will not be tainted by toxic lead fumes, and we look forward to seeing more and more airfields across the nation make the switch to unleaded aviation gas.”
County officials add that while 100LL fuel sales have been banned at the two airports, pilots who are still flying with leaded fuel can continue to fly into the airports.
Four airfield operators that provide services to pilots at Reid-Hillview have entered into contracts with the county that restrict fuel sales to unleaded only. A limited amount of leaded fuel that remains in one of the fuel tanks at Reid-Hillview will be used by flight school aircraft until it is depleted later this month, and it will not be replenished, country officials said.
The county issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) in December to ensure pilots nationwide are notified of the change in fuel availability at Reid-Hillview and San Martin Airports. The notification will remain in the FAA NOTAM system for the next year.
The unleaded fuel available at Reid-Hillview and San Martin is 94 octane and is FAA-certified as safe for use in approximately 68% of the piston-powered aircraft that use the Reid-Hillview and San Martin airports, county officials added.
In late December 2021, the FAA advised the county that it has begun an investigation into the ban of 100LL, as well as other “ongoing safety issues” at the airports.