WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has asked the world’s fuel producers to submit proposals for fuel options that would help the general aviation industry make a transition to an unleaded fuel. The FAA is committed to the development of a new unleaded fuel by 2018 that would minimize the impact of replacing 100 octane, low-lead fuel for most general aviation aircraft.
The FAA will assess the viability of candidate fuels in terms of their impact on the existing fleet, their production and distribution infrastructure, their impact on the environment and toxicology, and economic considerations.
The FAA is asking fuel producers to submit by July 1, 2014, data packages for candidate replacement unleaded fuel formulations for evaluation by the FAA. By Sept. 1, 2014, the FAA will select up to 10 suppliers to participate in phase one laboratory testing at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center. The FAA will select as many as two fuels from phase one for phase two engine and aircraft testing. That testing will generate standardized qualification and certification data for candidate fuels, along with property and performance data. Over the next five years, the FAA will ask fuel producers to submit 100 gallons of fuel for phase one testing and 10,000 gallons of fuel for phase two testing.
The President’s 2014 budget includes $5.6 million in research and development funding for the William J. Hughes Technical Center to conduct the fuels evaluation testing. The government and in-kind industry contributions, in a multi-year program, will fund candidate fuel testing.
To date FAA has tested over 279 fuel formulations in an attempt to find a “drop-in” solution, which would require no aircraft or engine modifications. A “drop-in” unleaded replacement fuel is unavailable and may not be technically feasible. That is why an industry-government initiative called the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI) will facilitate the development and deployment of a new unleaded avgas with the least impact on the existing piston-engine aircraft fleet. The FAA and industry-group leaders recently formed the PAFI Steering Group (PSG), to facilitate, coordinate, expedite, promote and oversee the PAFI.
For more information on the FAA’s efforts on avgas, go to www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/avgas.