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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedPanel discussion today on the future of aviation fuels
By David Sakrison, EAA AirVenture Today

July 27, 2009 - Oshkosh, WisconsinThe days are numbered for leaded aviation fuel. Federal environmental regulations, market forces, and a shrinking infrastructure for refining, transporting, and storing leaded fuels could send 100LL (100-octane leaded fuel) the way of the dinosaurs. A significant portion of the general aviation (GA) aircraft fleet is powered by engines that depend on high-octane leaded fuel. Engine manufacturers, aeronautical engineers, petroleum engineers, and the FAA have been working together for years to figure out how to keep those aircraft flying on lead-free fuels.

This morning at 11:30, officials from EAA, the FAA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and the American Society for Testing and Materials will lead a panel discussion on the future of aviation fuels, in Pavilion 10 at the Honda Forums Plaza, north of the OSH control tower.

It’s a complicated issue, explained Doug Macnair, EAA vice president for government relations. To begin with, unleaded fuel needs a higher octane rating to achieve the same engine performance as leaded fuel. New engine technology that features electronic controls might narrow the performance gap between leaded and unleaded fuels for some engines. But it will still be a major challenge to achieve unleaded octane ratings that will match the performance of high-octane leaded fuels in real-world operating conditions.

The impending disappearance of leaded fuels affects high-performance, high-compression engines that require the anti-knock protection the lead provides. Much of the GA fleet operates on midand low-compression engines that can burn unleaded alcohol-free gasoline. But the growing use of ethanol in auto gas requires the development of an unleaded aviation-grade gasoline that will satisfy the needs of as much of the general aviation fleet as possible.

EAA research and government advocacy led the way in winning FAA approval for the use of unleaded automotive fuel in aircraft with low-compression engines. EAA will continue to support and participate in the search for the next generation of unleaded high-octane aviation fuels. It is part of EAA’s commitment to Stand Up for GA, to make living the dream of flight more affordable and more accessible, and to preserve the freedoms and privileges of personal flight.

Visit the Welcome Center at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh or go online to www.EAA.org to find easy and effective ways that you can Stand Up for GA.

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