On April 28th the EPA released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the phaseout of 100LL. Since then a number of the alphabet groups have joined together to form the Future Avgas Strategy and Transition (FAST) plan to recommend a long-term solution to the problem. Everyone agrees that the transition to a no-lead fuel, but there is no replacement available today. The FAST group has won an extension to the comment period, and is working to buy some time until a replacement fuel can be found. The real problem comes from legacy engines that require high octane avgas in order for their engines to operate properly. The group has not allowed any grass to grow under their feet, and has banded together an industry group which has met with the FAA Administrator urging a public-private partnership to work on the replacement issue.
There is no doubt but what general aviation and the petroleum industry have to work towards a future without lead in the fuel. The group feels that the FAA is in the best position to manage the numerous technical, logistical and safety issues involved, and to help find the best possible solution for fuel providers and general aviation. “We can find a solution that works for all of piston-powered general aviation if we have all the stakeholders around the table,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “It’s an industry-wide problem, and it has to be an industry-wide solution.” FAST has identified these areas for the new fuel to meet:
- Aircraft compatibility;
- Materials compatibility;
- Safety and performance;
- Health and environmental factors;
- Production and distribution of the new fuel;
- The economic impact of the new fuel.