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FAA calls on producers to help create new unleaded fuel

By Hpanchal on June 11, 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration asked the world's fuel producers to submit proposals for fuel options that would help the aviation industry transition to an unleaded fuel.

The FAA is looking to develop a new unleaded fuel by 2018 that would minimize the effect of replacing 100 octane low-lead fuel for most of the general aviation fleet.

"General aviation is vital to the U.S. economy and is an important form of transportation for many Americans," transportation secretary Ray LaHood said. "We need to work with industry to develop an unleaded fuel that advances aviation safety and improves the environment."

The FAA will assess the candidate fuels in terms of their effect on the existing fleet, their production and distribution infrastructure, their effect on the environment and toxicology and economic considerations.

Fuel producers should submit data packages by July 1. The FAA will choose up to 10 suppliers by Sept. 1 to participate in phase one lab testing at William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J.

The FAA will select as many as two fuels from phase one for phase two engine and aircraft testing. 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 FAA knows the general aviation community and the Environmental Protection Agency are focused on this issue, and we look forward to collaborating with fuel producers to make an unleaded avgas available for the general aviation fleet," FAA administrator Michael Huerta said.

Candidate fuel testing will be funded by the government and industry contributions.

To date, the FAA has tested more than 279 fuel formulations in an attempt to find a solution that would require no aircraft or engine modifications.