Shell has developed a lead-free replacement for 100LL avgas that will now begin going through the regulatory approvals process at the FAA and EASA, as well as the American Society for Testing and Materials. The company’s new formulation comes after 10 years of “exhaustive” research and development, as well as successful initial testing carried out in the last two months by Lycoming and Piper Aircraft. Its new fuel meets all key avgas properties and has an octane exceeding 100.
While the name on the side of the refueling truck might say Air BP, BR Aviation or Shell, what’s inside it at any airport in Brazil all comes from the same source. All discussions of aviation fuel in the country must start with Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras), the national oil refiner of Brazil and the official supplier of Jet-A and avgas. Petrobras produces approximately 70 percent of the Jet-A used in the country and imports the remainder in its effort to supply the three major distributors.
Aviat Aircraft of Afton, Wyo., and Minneapolis-based Aviation Foundation of America introduced a dual fuel, piston-powered aircraft that operates on either compressed natural gas (CNG) or aviation gasoline (avgas) this week at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. The proof-of-concept aircraft fuel system is installed on a standard Aviat Husky A1-C fitted with a CNG belly tank.
Engineered Propulsion Systems (EPS) is preparing two recently purchased Cirrus SR22s as flying testbeds for its clean-sheet design Vision 350 diesel aero engine. One of the airplanes is located at EPS’s New Richmond, Wis. headquarters, while the other is being prepared for flight testing in a hangar at the Mojave airport in California. The engine is on display outside the Innovation Pavilion at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, mounted to an SR22 firewall.
On July 28, the day before the opening of this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show, EAA chairman Jack Pelton and Mac McClellan, director of publications, flew a specially refurbished Cessna Skyhawk from Fond du Lac, Wis., to Oshkosh. The Skyhawk has been turned into a “RedHawk Training Aircraft” in a new venture by simulator manufacturer Redbird Simulations and its flight training division Redbird Skyport. AirVenture visitors can see the RedHawk at the exhibit near the main gate.
The General Aviation Avgas Coalition, which includes NBAA and GAMA, praised the FAA’s announcement to formally request sample unleaded fuels for testing as possible replacements for 100LL aviation gasoline.
On July 1, 2015, Santa Monica Airport in southern California may be a completely different airfield, if the city of Santa Monica has its way. On that date, the city wants to end all fuel sales, not renew any aviation-related leases and cut 2,000 feet from the airport’s 4,973-foot runway.
Aircraft operations in Indiana are about to become more affordable after state legislators approved a slate of aviation tax exemptions and restructurings. The measures, adopted at the urging of the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) and other aviation groups, remove state sales tax on jet fuel and 100LL avgas and restructure the previously existing excise tax on aviation fuel to a fixed total state tax rate.
A day after revealing its intention to obtain approval to operate its R44 and R22 piston engine helicopters on unleaded fuel (see article on page 10), Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. C23) shared its strategy for doing so. CEO Kurt Robinson and engineering vice president Pete Riedl spelled out the steps required and the technical issues involved.
The aviation industry is slowly headed toward development of an unleaded replacement fuel for avgas-burning piston-powered aircraft, and a recent move by the FAA is an encouraging sign that progress will continue. The FAA recently agreed to open a new Fuels Program Office, according to NATA, that will provide “technical expertise and strategic direction in the planning, management and coordination of activities related to aviation fuels.”
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