FAA Chimes In On Ethanol In Fuel

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The FAA has issued a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB) explaining the hazards posed to aircraft operation with automotive fuels that contain alcohol. EAA and other aviation groups have been warning about the increased use of ethanol in fuels. The alcohol is a substitute for chemical oxygenates MTBE and ETBE that have been linked to environmental concerns. But while ethanol may be safer for the environment, itís toxic to airplane engines and the FAA says that if you canít find alcohol-free mogas for your STCíd aircraft engine, youíll have to switch back to 100LL. Alcohol increases the risk of vapor lock and can also introduce water into the fuel system as it cools at higher altitudes. Itís also corrosive to rubber seals used in aircraft fuel systems and reduces the amount of power available from the fuel. Although oil companies are required to prominently label their fuels that contain alcohol, if thereís any doubt about its presence, the SAIB includes a simple test that anyone can perform to determine if there is alcohol in fuel.