Sept. 10, 2014

NBAA welcomed the FAA’s decision to begin initial testing this fall of four unleaded aviation fuels at the agency’s William J. Hughes Technical Center near Atlantic City, NJ. The laboratory tests will evaluate two fuels developed by Swift Fuels, one by Shell and one by TOTAL. The tests are expected to be completed by the fall of 2015.

The fuels being tested were suggested by the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI), which is a joint industry-government effort to facilitate the development and deployment of unleaded aviation fuels for piston-engine general aviation (GA) aircraft. NBAA is a member of the PAFI Steering Committee, along with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, American Petroleum Institute, Experimental Aircraft Association, FAA, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and National Air Transportation Association.

“NBAA has long supported the development of alternative fuels through the PAFI coalition, and we welcome the news of progress in developing these new fuels,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We are grateful to all the organizations that have helped advance the process, while ensuring that the needs of the aviation industry are addressed.”

After initial-phase lab testing, fuels identified as technically feasible and production-viable replacements for 100 low-lead (100LL) aviation gasoline are slated to advance to phase-two full-scale engine and aircraft testing in 2016. The FAA expects to deploy of one or more unleaded 100LL alternatives fleetwide by the end of 2018.

NBAA recently commended the U.S. House Appropriations Committee for approving $6 million in funding to support this alternative-fuel research as part of the larger fiscal year 2015 funding package for the Department of Transportation and other government agencies. Should that funding be approved, it would provide the financial resources necessary for the FAA to advance to full-scale testing.

Review, “NBAA Commends U.S. House Committee for Fueling General Aviation’s Future.”

Approximately 167,000 GA aircraft in the United States utilize 100LL, which is the only remaining transportation fuel in the United States containing tetraethyl lead. Tetraethyl lead is required to achieve high-octane levels for aviation use.