July 3, 2011
The Federal Aviation Administration this week named the organizations that will have seats on its unleaded avgas transition aviation rulemaking committee, or ARC. The ARC is tasked to investigate the current issues relating to the transition to an unleaded fuel, and recommend the tasks necessary to investigate and resolve these issues.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and four other members of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition will serve on the ARC.
"The chartering of the rulemaking committee and naming of its members is clear evidence that the FAA is stepping into a leadership role on the issue – a role that is vital if we’re going to succeed in finding an unleaded alternative," said Rob Hackman, AOPA’s vice president of regulatory affairs and liaison to the GA Avgas Coalition. "The agency will have to certify current and future aircraft engines to operate on any new fuel and has pulled together a group that can identify the issues that need to be addressed, from production to distribution to operations to environmental impact."
As outlined in the charter, the ARC exists under the auspices of the FAA’s Engine and Propeller Directorate. In addition to AOPA, the GA Avgas Coalition is represented on the ARC by the American Petroleum Institute, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and the National Air Transportation Association. The Clean 100 Coalition, representing users of aircraft with high compression engines, will have a seat. Cessna, Cirrus, Teledyne Continental, and Textron Lycoming will represent airframe and engine manufacturers. Shell, ExxonMobil, General Aviation Modifications, Inc. (GAMI), and Swift fuels will represent refiners and alternative fuel developers. The Environmental Protection Agency, The FAA’s Emissions Division of the Office of Environment and Energy, and the Friends of the Earth will represent environmental interests.
Under the charter, the ARC is expected to issue a report by the end of July that provides recommendations for a collaborative industry-government initiative to "facilitate the development and deployment of an unleaded avgas with the least impact on the existing piston-engine aircraft fleet." The head of the Engine and Propeller Directorate has the option to extend the charter by an additional six months.
MVP Aero is developing a $189,000 light sport amphibious seaplane that doubles as a camper and is expected to fly in 18 months, with deliveries in 2017.
The FAA will miss a deadline to reform aircraft certification by two years, the agency told the House Aviation Subcommittee during a July 23 hearing.
AOPA is testing whether aircraft ownership can be more affordable than many people believe with the development of “Reimagined Aircraft.”
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