Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee Holds First Meeting

The first meeting of the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) was held on March 16 - 17, 2011 in Washington D.C. It was attended by the 20 members of the committee comprised of representatives from FAA, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), equipment manufacturers, fuel producers, fuel distributors, and owners/operators. The FAA sponsor, Peter White, Acting Manager of the FAA's Engine and Propeller Directorate, led the meeting. The Director of the FAA's Aircraft Certification Service, Dorenda Baker, attended the kick-off meeting and expressed her support for this effort. This ARC provides key stakeholders in the general aviation and avgas community with a forum to work toward a suitable unleaded avgas.

This committee has been tasked to develop an industry-government organizational concept and plan to enable the deployment of a suitable unleaded avgas to ensure the long-term viability of piston-powered aircraft. Once developed, it is anticipated that industry and government will collaborate to implement the concept and plan to facilitate and promote the development, qualification, certification, and deployment of candidate unleaded fuels. The committee will not develop or identify a new unleaded fuel.

The committee spent a significant amount of time discussing key avgas subjects to ensure all members had a common understanding of the current situation. The committee established an overall work plan enabling them to accomplish the tasks outlined in the charter.

The committee agreed the organizational concept and plan toward an unleaded avgas needs to be guided by key principles to ensure uncompromised airworthiness, technical feasibility, economic reasonableness, and environmental responsibility.

In addition, EPA provided a presentation to the committee which helped dispel concerns regarding the imminent banning of lead in avgas. They also expressed their desire to work with FAA and industry to address this issue. In particular, the committee felt that two slides (PDF) from the EPA's presentation were important messages that should be shared with the GA community.

The committee established a very aggressive schedule to perform their assigned tasks. They scheduled several conference calls and will hold two more meetings in May and July of this year. Support of this schedule will require a significant dedication of time and resources by the members, which is greatly appreciated by FAA.

The FAA will periodically report on the progress of this committee over the next several months and looks forward to continuing to support an effort important to the GA community.