Request for opinions

For several years, I followed progress of the FAA’s search for a No-Lead avgas replacement for our current low-lead fuel. (It makes me feel old as I remember cutting my teeth in a world with three separate octane choices of leaded avgas.) There have been many articles about this subject (some linked below). The most recent article concerns the EPA’s determination that lead contained in avgas emissions constitutes a public danger.

Earlier this year, the FAA authorized the fleet-wide use of a no-lead fuel created by a company called GAMI (not to be confused with the aircraft manufacturers association, GAMA). To use this particular gas requires the purchase of an STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) by aircraft owners but there are no actual aircraft modifications other than added aircraft decals and a new supplement section added to the aircraft manual.

The avgas supplier, AvFuel, has voiced interest in this fuel formulation but there has been some push-back from other suppliers affiliated with various oil companies. There are, of course, monetary reasons why different suppliers take stances and it is possible this is a reason why the EPA is moving ahead now with their determination - perhaps forcing the issue.

Anyway, there are many political issues that will be hashed out over time and there is nothing pending in the immediate future, but what I’m interested in hearing from you are your thoughts concerning the possible future requirement to shift to a no-lead avgas fuel at our airport. Once one becomes available, should we foot drag as long as possible or step up to be the first on the block to offer it or somewhere in between?

While I am currently just running for a commissioner position (and I totally realize I might not be elected and I don’t mean to sound presumptuous) but at some point the pilots will want to form opinions on this issue. Sometime it will come to the forefront.

Rich Goodhart

(If the links below don’t behave normally, you can copy and paste into your browser.)