September 14, 2012 – In response to a letter from the industry members of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition urging funding for an unleaded avgas program, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the formation of a new Fuels Program Office. The office will be responsible for “providing technical expertise and strategic direction in the planning, management, and coordination of activities related to aviation fuels.” This is the next important step in establishing an unleaded avgas transition program that will evaluate the viability of candidate fuels and generate the data needed for fleet wide aircraft certification and development of a commercial fuel specification.
The letter went on to describe the organizational steps already underway by the FAA, many of which stemmed from the final recommendations made by the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (UAT ARC). This includes the hiring of a transition consultant to work with industry to establish a Piston Aviation Fuel Initiative steering group.
The general aviation industry members of the GA Avgas Coalition include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). The heads of these associations issued the following statement:
“The FAA’s direct involvement and participation in this process is critical to ensuring a fleet-wide transition to an unleaded avgas that will maintain consumer confidence and ensure the least impact on the existing fleet. The establishment of the new Fuels Program Office will ensure an efficient use of both government and industry resources and will provide a more comprehensive pathway and timeline to an unleaded fuel.”