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Aviation associations, FAA pledge continued support of development of unleaded avgas

In a packed forum at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on July 27, the leaders of AOPA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association joined the FAA to address the commitment, and challenges, to bringing a drop-in unleaded avgas solution to market that will meet safely the needs of the entire GA fleet.

Left to right: EAA Chairman of the Board and CEO Jack Pelton, AOPA President Mark Baker, FAA Aircraft Certification Service Executive Director Earl Lawrence, and GAMA Chairman and CEO Pete Bunce discuss the need for the development of a fleetwide drop-in replacement for leaded avgas. Photo by Eric Blinderman.

“We need to collaborate to identify and test fuels; work with supply chain companies like refiners, distributors, and transportation businesses; and also address state issues,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “There are several of the nation’s 5,000 public-use airports that may soon face a real hurdle in getting the current fuel. People and governments want to shut off the supply of 100LL—today. That’s what we mean by urgent.”

Baker joined EAA chairman and CEO Jack Pelton, who moderated the panel, GAMA chairman and CEO Pete Bunce, and FAA Aircraft Certification Service Executive Director Earl Lawrence for the forum discussion.

“We need to find a way to address this issue for the entire GA fleet—warbirds, experimental, everyone,” said Bunce. “We don’t have the capacity to have multiple fuel options on the field.”

“With just one manufacturer of lead left, located in Britain, at some point leaded fuel will be unavailable and we as an industry need to get in front of that and do something about it,” said Pelton.

EAA AirVenture attendees participate in a low-lead fuel replacement panel discussion. Photo by David Tulis.

The panelists and audience also took the opportunity to recognize and congratulate George Braly and General Aviation Modifications Inc. (GAMI), which announced earlier in the day that it had received two supplemental type certificates authorizing the use of its G100UL high-octane unleaded avgas. AOPA, EAA, and GAMA also released a joint statement in support of GAMI’s STCs, but stressed that further evaluation and testing is needed to determine the fuel’s full potential and what it has to offer the general aviation community.

“We’ve been doing STCs for alternative fuels for a rather long time,” Lawrence added. “We’ve always supported the development of an unleaded fuel, but our focus is on safety and there is a lot to deal with when a fuel is proposed. This is not just a chemistry issue.”

Several audience questions addressed timing and when GA pilots and aircraft owners may see an unleaded fuel option on the field.

“We are committed as individuals and associations to get past this issue as soon as we can,” Baker stated. “If this was easy, it would have been done already.”

Alyssa J. Miller

Eric Blinderman

Senior Director of Communications
Eric Blinderman is AOPA’s Senior Director of Communications. Eric joined AOPA in 2020 after several years at leading marketing/communications agencies in New York and is looking forward to putting his newly minted private pilot certificate to work.
Topics: Advocacy, EAA AirVenture, Alternative Fuels

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