Industry groups call for unleaded avgas funding

August 8, 2012

Funding of $5.5 million in FY2014 to support a comprehensive unleaded avgas program would allow the FAA to implement key elements of an advisory group’s recent recommendations, industry groups told the FAA and Department of Transportation in early August.

General aviation groups involved in charting a path for the development and deployment of prospective unleaded fuels requested the funding in a letter to FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta Aug.1, reiterating the request in an Aug. 3 letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. AOPA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the National Air Transportation Association, and the National Business Aviation Association said the program should include centralized policies, procedures, and testing to support safety qualification and fleetwide certification approval of potential unleaded 100LL replacements.

“Support by the FAA, and ultimately the Department of Transportation and the Administration, in the FY14 budget request will be essential to making certain that this transition is done in a way that effectively balances environmental improvement with aviation safety, technical challenges, and economic impact,” they told Huerta in the letter. The groups will continue to advocate for the funding on Capitol Hill as Congress considers the Department of Transportation’s budget request.

The requested funding goes beyond previous funding of $2 million for research and development, but is significantly less than the recommended funding for the year in a report of the government-industry Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee. The groups said their request reflects a fiscally responsible program “based on a reduced scope of activities to include the key elements that require direct FAA involvement.” It would support the first year of a five-year program designed to meet the FAA’s goal of identifying an unleaded avgas replacement that meets the needs of the majority of the piston-engine fleet by 2018, they added.

Leaders from the groups discussed the avgas issue with Huerta at EAA AirVenture in July; the associations have been providing industry input and working with the FAA and EPA through involvement in the GA Avgas Coalition and the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee.