FAA launches full-scale testing of unleaded aviation fuels
The US Federal Aviation Administration has selected two unleaded aviation fuels, developed by Shell and Swift Fuels, for Phase 2 full-scale testing in aero engines and aircraft. ‘The selection is based on the least impact to the existing fleet following the results of rigorous Phase 1 laboratory and rig testing of fuel properties and compatibility with aircraft materials and components, as well as an assessment of predicted costs and environmental factors,’ says the FAA.
Testing will begin this summer at the FAA’S William J Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, supported by engine and aircraft manufacturers and commercial operators, and is expected to conclude in 2018. Test results will be the basis for the FAA to issue a fleet-wide authorisation for GA aircraft that can use the fuels.
“The selection of these two fuels shows the FAA is making continued progress toward the goal of identifying a viable unleaded aviation gasoline option for general aviation operators by 2018,” says GAMA President and Chief Executive Officer Pete Bunce. “This is critical to the future of general aviation. A successful transition from leaded to unleaded avgas will mean the continued safety and utility of the fleet, a reduced environmental impact, and lower economic transition costs for our industry.”
Some 167,000 aircraft in the US and around 230,000 aircraft worldwide rely primarily on 100LL (low-lead) avgas, which is the only remaining transportation fuel in the US that contains tetraethyl lead, added to create the high octane levels required by high-performance aircraft engines. More than 100 activities, twice as many as in 2015, unfolded in Africa, America, Europe and Oceania during the sixth annual Women of Aviation Worldwide Week in March. Aimed at ‘encouraging aviation vocations within the female population and improving gender balance in the air and space industry’ it offers girls and women who are not familiar with the industry a chance to experience various aviation activities hands-on and learn about the reality of various careers from a woman’s perspective.
Among activities was a ‘Pink Paper Planes Day’ celebrated here by a French contingent.