Avgas transition group presses forward

Charter extended for continuing efforts

June 29, 2011

Initial steps toward finding an alternative to leaded avgas moved forward in a recent meeting of the FAA’s Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC).

The government-industry group, which includes AOPA and other representatives of the user community, equipment manufacturers, fuel producers and distributers, along with the FAA and Environmental Protection Agency, is tasked with investigating the issues related to the transition to an unleaded fuel and offering recommendations on how to proceed. It took steps toward establishing a framework and implementation plan for the transition in discussions during the group’s second meeting, which the FAA posted June 21 on its aviation gasoline issue Web page. The agency said it extended the ARC’s charter, set to end July 31, another six months in recognition of the importance of the effort.

“The committee members built upon the results from the first meeting and subsequent discussions, and focused their time refining the key avgas issues and associated tasks intended to address those issues,” the FAA said. “In support of this effort, the group formulated an underlying conceptual structure around which to organize the issues and tasks. This effort formed the building blocks for the industry-government group that will evolve from this committee.”

ARC members discussed formation of a new industry-government group and framework to “stimulate and facilitate the overall unleaded avgas transition effort.” The group will “facilitate, promote, and track the development, qualification, certification, and deployment of candidate unleaded fuels.” The group also discussed how to evaluate and track those fuels by establishing project gates or readiness levels for the developmental process, from concept through distribution and use, the FAA said. The committee also worked on defining what supporting facilities, tools, methods, and procedures could accelerate the process, and discussed potential legal challenges related to leaded fuel that “highlight the urgency of the committee’s task.”

The Unleaded Avgas Transition ARC will meet again in mid-July before giving a public presentation at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., at the end of the month, the FAA said.