Groups Act On Potential Leaded-Fuel Rulemaking

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A grass-roots movement by aircraft type groups is brewing to get the word out about the threat of the EPA's proposed rulemaking that could lead to new regulations regarding the use of leaded aviation fuel. Jonathan Sisk, president of the Malibu Mirage Owners and Pilots Association (MMOPA), wrote a letter to AVweb (published in today's AVmail), trying to enlist Piper PA-46 owner operators to mount a campaign to raise awareness. According to Sisk, "What is clear is that while lower-performance engines will run fine on 94UL, higher performance engines such as those used in the PA46 Malibu, Matrix, and Mirage will not." Sisk believes that fuels of less than 100 octane affect the PA-46 fleet's performance "instantly and adversely" and "in a dramatic way." He is calling on pilots to spread awareness of "the critical nature of this threat," and encouraging them to write to groups like ASTM, FAA, DOT, EPA and AOPA. Other groups are apparently getting into the fray too and Tom Turner, executive director of the American Bonanza Society, told AVweb there will be more developments in the coming week. Meanwhile, alphabet groups are asking for more time to comment on the EPA's rule.

A coalition made up mostly of general aviation advocacy groups and petroleum-product interests has asked for the extension (PDF) to comment. The groups, which include AOPA, EAA, GAMA, NATA and NBAA, are seeking a 120-day extension to the proposed rule's 60-day comment period. Titled "Lead Emissions from Piston-Engine Aircraft Using Leaded Aviation Gasoline," the rule recognizes that the elimination of leaded avgas would present logistical and technical challenges. The coalition is seeking extra time to perform an impact assessment and address "these complex issues" in a manner that may "facilitate the process for safely removing lead from avgas."