The questions over how to replace 100LL avgas and what the impact will be on the approximately 167,000 aircraft that depend on it continue. The FAA is now in the process of reviewing nine potential replacement fuels from several companies that have submitted proposals to the government agency. The companies are Afton Chemical Company, Avgas LLC, Shell, Swift Fuels and a BP, Total and Hjelmco consortium.
The FAA will now determine which of the fuels will be selected for phase-one laboratory and rig testing. Selections will be made by September 1. Initial evaluations will include toxicology, cost of aircraft operations, distribution infrastructure, and the impact on the environment and the existing fleet of aircraft that would use the new fuel.
The Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI), which was allotted a $6 million budget in 2014 by Congress, will play a key role in the testing and deployment of the new fuel. After the phase-one testing, the FAA anticipates that two or three fuels will move on to engine and aircraft testing. By 2018, the FAA hopes to transition to an unleaded fuel that will have minimal impact on the GA fleet.
“The FAA, the general aviation community and the Environmental Protection Agency are focused on this issue, and we look forward to collaborating with fuel producers to make an unleaded aviation gasoline available for the general aviation fleet,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.