Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee Recent Activity

Since our last report in May, the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (UAT-ARC) has held four more meetings and participated in the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Aviation Summit in mid-September 2011.

The meetings were three-day sessions held in July, September, October and November. The committee members have been diligently working on refining their recommendations for an industry-government collaborative approach to facilitating and advancing the approval and deployment of a replacement unleaded aviation gasoline. The work has progressed to the point where a draft report has been developed and they are now editing and re-drafting the specific sections of that report. The report will include a detailed description of tasks, costs and schedules of key work items that need to be performed by both industry and the FAA to accomplish the stated goal.

Several members supported a dedicated seminar at the AOPA Aviation Summit convention in Hartford, CT, on September 22. The seminar provided an opportunity for the UAT-ARC members to brief the AOPA members on the status and activities of this committee. The presentation from the seminar, which can be accessed on the AOPA website (PDF), provides a high-level overview of some of the subjects that will be addressed in the final report such as:

  • Insight into some of the key concepts/recommendations: 1) coordinated and centralized FAA certification, 2) specification development support, 3) development of supporting tools and processes, and 4) creation of a tracking scheme to monitor the progress of candidate fuels called "Avgas Readiness Levels".
  • Overview of the interrelationship between the EPA and FAA relative to emissions regulations. If environmental concerns were to lead to a future regulatory action, that the EPA and FAA are required by the Clean Air Act to work together to ensure that any potential requirement does not compromise safety or increase noise.
  • The tasks and implementation plans needed to account for the difference between drop-in fuels and non-drop-in fuels. Development and deployment of non-drop-in fuels is much more challenging because all aspects of aircraft operation, infrastructure, and fuel production must be considered to accomplish a successful transition.

The committee plans to hold one more meeting in mid-January 2012, and to have its final recommendations shortly thereafter. The FAA looks forward to providing a detailed update of the ARC recommendations after that meeting.