Avgas Q&A: Seeking clarity out of confusion

December 14, 2010

There are many components to an unleaded avgas solution. In order to understand the components, it’s important to understand the entirety of the issue and keep the discussion in context. It is a tremendously complex issue in which changing one piece of the puzzle has consequences—potentially good, but also potentially devastating—throughout the rest of the puzzle.

Is work on the avgas issue moving too slowly?

No. Finding a solution to the avgas question is like solving a Rubik’s Cube. The solution has to work for refiners, distributors, FBOs, and of course, aircraft owners and pilots. It also has to address environmental, economic, and safety-of-flight concerns. Moving too quickly risks leaving some of the sides of the cube unsolved.

Because of the complexity of the issue, it is imperative that the government and the industry continue to progress toward an end-to-end unleaded solution that addresses concerns raised by petitioners to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about lead emissions from piston aviation engines.

Failure to continue to progress risks potential court actions against the EPA, which could ultimately take the process out of the hands of pilots, engineers, and industry representatives. The courts might then impose timelines, forcing the industry to make decisions without the benefit of a technical or economic process. An arbitrarily set timeline could force the industry into making decisions without the benefit of complete information resulting in a wrong decision that would impact the industry for years.