Unleaded Avgas transition final report now available

Unleaded Avgas transition final report now available

28-Jun-2012 Source: FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is committed to developing a fiscally responsible action plan to meet the agency’s goal of making an unleaded fuel available for most of the general aviation fleet to replace 100 octane low-lead (100LL) by 2018.

The Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (UAT ARC) submitted a final report to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which recommended options on how the agency can better understand the challenges of transitioning the piston engine-powered aircraft fleet to unleaded avgas. The FAA is now considering the recommendations. The final report can be found here in Part One (PDF) and Part Two (PDF).

The report summarizes the key issues the GA industry faces in the development and deployment of an unleaded avgas. A “drop-in” unleaded replacement fuel that can be seamlessly deployed for the existing fleet of aircraft is not currently available and may not be technically feasible. The industry needs a program to conduct fleet-wide evaluation, certification and deployment of replacement avgas. Since the current fuel, 100LL avgas, is widely available, there are no market driven reasons to introduce a new fuel.

The UAT ARC’s five key recommendations are:

  1. Implement a fuel development roadmap for avgas readiness levels that identifies milestones in the aviation gasoline development process.
  2. Establish centralized testing of candidate unleaded fuels which would generate standardized qualification and certification data.
  3. Establish a solicitation and selection process for candidate unleaded aviation gasolines for the centralized testing program.
  4. Establish a centralized certification office to support unleaded aviation gasoline projects.
  5. Establish a collaborative industry- government initiative called the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI) to implement the UAT ARC recommendations to facilitate the development and deployment of an unleaded avgas with the least impact on the existing piston-engine aircraft fleet.

These key recommendations are intended to incentivize and facilitate a candidate unleaded avgas’ progress through the certification process. The report also includes 14 additional recommendations to support the development and deployment of unleaded aviation gasolines. In addition, it includes an implementation plan that describes specific tasks, associated costs and timing over three stages of unleaded avgas development: preparatory, project, and deployment. The tasks include both industry and FAA activities along with annual estimated costs for each. Participation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an essential element of the overall plan.

As the FAA develops the action plan, the agency will continue its review of the report and is taking the initial steps to implement some of the recommendations within the constraints of the current budget authorization. The FAA has started the initial R&D work at the FAA Technical Center and also hired a transition consultant to start forming PAFI, the industry-government collaborative organization.

The FAA recognizes the dedication of the UAT ARC members and looks forward to collaborating with its industry partners and the EPA to ensure the continued availability of aviation gasoline for the GA fleet of aircraft.

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