March 17, 2015

Download the joint association letter (PDF)

The Honorable Susan Collins
413 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC, 20510

Dear Chairman Collins:

On behalf of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, and National Business Aviation Association, we write to thank you for your past support of the collaborative government and industry initiative to develop and deploy an unleaded avgas replacement for the current 100 octane low lead fuel. As you begin work on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations legislation, we respectfully request that you provide $7,000,000 in funding for the FAA’s NextGen – Alternative Fuels for General Aviation (GA) program.

The purpose of this endeavor is to address the complex transition of the existing GA piston fleet, comprised of more than 200,000 aircraft, to an unleaded fuel. The support of your Subcommittee to this effort in previous years has been used to further the research necessary to launch and conduct the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI), a robust program of testing and evaluations to identify suitable fuel replacements. Investment in this program this year and continuing through FY 2018 is essential to ensuring that the transition effectively balances environmental improvement with aviation safety, technical challenges, and economic impact.

Today, four candidate fuels are being evaluated through qualification and properties testing and PAFI is diligently analyzing potentially viable fuel(s) that will move on to full scale engine and aircraft field testing. Funding the program at $7,000,000 will continue this progress and enable FAA to continue to conduct safety assessments and performance tests of candidate fuels, conduct comparison of fuel material compatibility with key airplane and fuel system components, and provide toxicological evaluation in order to identify the most viable replacement. While this amount is larger than the President’s FY16 budget request, additional funding would be used to fund additional costs incurred for full scale engine/aircraft testing that is necessary given the findings of initial research conducted on the candidate fuels. The goal of this PAFI work is to identify and achieve the necessary FAA approvals and authorizations to enable the vast majority of the piston fleet of aircraft to operate on an unleaded fuel.

On behalf of the aforementioned organizations, which represent operators that utilize piston aircraft as well as those that manufacture, service, and maintain them, we look forward to working with you to facilitate this initiative. Thank you for your time, consideration, and past support which is critical to the safety and economic sustainability of the general aviation community.


Mark R. Baker
President and CEO
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

Jack Pelton
Chairman of the Board
Experimental Aircraft Association

Peter J. Bunce
President and CEO
General Aviation Manufacturers Association

Matthew S. Zuccaro
President and CEO
Helicopter Association International

Andrew D. Moore
President and CEO
National Agricultural Aviation Association

Thomas L. Hendricks
President and CEO
National Air Transportation Association

Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association