February 2013 Issue

Unleaded Fuel—Why Not an Incentive?

We’ve been watching and reporting on the progress toward a functional unleaded replacement for 100LL avgas for nearly 30 years. Boiled down, that replacement will have to do three things: 1) meet detonation margins, 2) meet material compatibility requirements—not attack any of the components of existing aircraft fuel systems and the fuel transport and storage, and 3) meet economic realities. That is, sell for a price near that of 100LL. The FAA and private industry have been working the replacement fuel issue for about three decades, spending millions on studies in an attempt to find a fuel that would work. Although the economics are unproven, there are now at least two potential replacement fuels in the U.S. SwiftFuel 100SF has undergone ground testing and has done some flight testing, although not yet on an FAA-approved flight testing program.

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