FAA avgas research funding 'critical'

March 20, 2012

The FAA is a critical participant in continuing research to develop an unleaded aviation fuel, said the presidents of five aviation associations in a letter urging congressional support for funding in the agency’s fiscal 2013 budget.

The March 15 letter signed by AOPA President Craig Fuller and four other association leaders urged support for a $1.995-million funding level; that would continue progress toward the “complex transition” of the general aviation piston aircraft fleet to an unleaded fuel.

“FAA involvement is absolutely critical to identify and transition the general aviation piston fleet to a new unleaded avgas,” the association executives wrote to House Appropriations Committee members. “This activity is also needed to ensure technical and safety cooperation with EPA as it considers regulatory action to address lead emissions from general aviation under the Clean Air Act. In fact, last week an environmental group filed a lawsuit against EPA to force them to make an endangerment finding and to issue regulations limiting lead emissions.”

Also signing the letter were Experimental Aircraft Association President Rod Hightower; General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Pete Bunce; National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen; and National Air Transportation Association President Jim Coyne.

They also urged committee support for the work of the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee chartered by the FAA in January 2011 to study the avgas issue and provide recommendations. That work has been completed, and the panel’s report is expected to be released soon.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.