AOPA encourages use of unleaded fuel

Warter aviation fuel

The UK Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is promoting the use of unleaded fuels as part of a multi-prong approach to the issue of a possible ban on leaded avgas in Europe.

Malcolm Bird, a director of AOPA UK, told FLYER, “This is something that AOPA has been working on with the DfT and involving the LAA and many others. We are keen to see a sensible transition away from the use of lead in aviation fuel.”

FLYER reported earlier this week that the EU is on the brink of banning Tetraethyllead (TEL) which adds lead to avgas to create 100LL fuel.

Malcolm continued, “As far as we can tell, the EU has now listed TEL as a substance of concern. In its undiluted form it will be banned from the implementation date and so trucking TEL to blending sites in Europe will have to stop, exemptions are not favoured.

“Once 100LL is blended, the TEL concentration is sufficiently diluted to pass under the regulation limit. So we will be in the situation that 100LL from outside of Europe can be imported and transported but the undiluted constituent cannot be. So 100LL will have to be blended outside of Europe and imported.

“In the meantime many aircraft could use existing unleaded aviation fuel and in the main would benefit from doing [with] less maintenance issues.

“The problem is that most pilots/owners do not know whether their aircraft can run on the unleaded fuel. We have been pushing the CAA to add this information to G-INFO so it is easy to look up.”

AOPA UK has come up with a five-point plan:

  1. Make unleaded aviation fuel more generally available and at an attractive price. Gain DfT support to encourage airfield installations, national fuel distribution and a temporary tax break.
  2. Make it easy for pilots to know whether their aircraft can use unleaded aviation fuel, eg placards by fuel filler caps and new information added to G-INFO to facilitate lookup.
  3. Encourage people buying new aircraft to only consider models that are clearly capable of running on unleaded fuel.
  4. Pursue the authorisation of a higher octane unleaded fuel for those aircraft not able to run on the current unleaded variants. A leading European contender is under trials and should be prioritised.
  5. Encourage the introduction of electric aircraft charging facilities widely at airfields.


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