The general aviation industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have a shared goal to rid lead from all aviation fuel used for piston-powered aircraft no later than 2030. The FAA and industry have come together under the EAGLE (Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions) banner to see this mission realized.
The GA industry has been preparing for the proposed EPA finding, which is a multi-step regulatory process, and has aligned the goals of EAGLE to meet the challenges of transitioning to an unleaded future without compromising the economic and broader public benefits of general aviation.
It’s important to note that today’s EPA announcement in no way bans or mitigates the use or sale of 100-low lead (100LL) fuel at any of the nation’s more than 5,000 public-use airports. The general aviation industry and the FAA remain committed to a safe and smart unleaded transition. Any ban of 100LL for piston-powered aircraft before an unleaded alternative is widely available poses a serious safety risk to pilots, carries economic consequences to thousands of local communities, and is a violation of current federal rules and regulations.
To date, the FAA has approved a 100-octane unleaded fuel developed by General Aviation Modifications, Inc., in Oklahoma, for nearly all general aviation piston aircraft engines and airframes. Steps are now being taken by GAMI to move this fuel through the commercialization process.
In addition, Swift Fuels, LLC, an Indiana-based company, is also making significant progress on its 100-octane unleaded fuel solution and anticipates approval by the FAA in 2023. Swift Fuels has already received approval for its 94UL fuel, which is in use today for aircraft engines that can fly on this lower octane fuel.
Moreover, progress is being made on unleaded fuels currently being evaluated by the FAA in its Piston Aviation Fuel Initiative program. Partnerships between Afton Chemical/Phillips 66 and Lyondell/VP Racing have each developed high-octane fuels as potential replacements for 100LL. Congress has provided more than $40 million for this testing and evaluation effort.
The general aviation fleet of more than 220,000 aircraft consists of those used for recreational and business purposes, and also provides airlift assistance in times of natural disasters, evacuations, movement of combat injured veterans, medical supplies and personnel where needed, and more. The industry directly supports over 1.2 million jobs and contributes more than $247 billion in economic output.
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