As media reports about blending ethanol with gasoline continue to swirl, pilots have been contacting AOPA's Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA) for clarification.
"Members are concerned that ethanol is being added to avgas, which could adversely affect engine operation," said Woody Cahall, AOPA vice president of aviation services.
"Ethanol is not being added to avgas. However, some older aircraft that used 80-octane avgas have converted to using automotive fuel by supplemental type certificate (STC). Use of automotive fuel with ethanol is not permitted for use in these aircraft."
That's because the STC for autogas specifically prohibits using ethanol blends because the ethanol might damage some components of the fuel system. And use of ethanol could also invalidate the aircraft owner's insurance.
Meanwhile, AOPA has been doggedly working on the political front to make sure that suitable fuel remains available for aircraft owners flying with an autogas STC.
Several states have passed or are considering laws requiring that ethanol be blended into gasoline sold in the state. In each case so far, AOPA has successfully lobbied for amendments or changes to the laws so that autogas without ethanol could still be sold to meet the needs of aircraft owners.
May 8, 2006