Avgas Search: Damage Control

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Over the past week, a curious sort of news coverage has emerged. AOPA aired a video with Craig Fuller explaining the difficulties in finding a replacement for 100LL. The industry's FAST fuel group—really a committee of associations such as AOPA, EAA, GAMA and so forth—held a couple of Webinar briefings, one of which I attended today.

Neither of these had any news value and were essentially summaries of what most of us already know about the avgas search. "We're working hard, it's very difficult…no solution yet" and so on. So why did these things appear this week? Consider it part damage control and part counterinsurgency, to borrow a phrase from the current vernacular.

The insurgency is coming in the form of a rapidly coalescing coalition of industry and owner groups whose expensive airplanes are at risk and who have had enough of industry inaction on fuels. They've made it clear that they'll find a direct line to the FAA, or any other agency, to move the fuels problem on to a solution. So the sudden appearance of briefings and videos is a sort of "don't worry, we're on it" response for the freckled-necked masses who might get wind of the rebel force.

This is all coming to a head now because Lycoming's Michael Kraft did something unique in the aviation industry: He spoke in plain, harsh terms and explained that the industry as a whole has been essentially asleep and will be nearly extinct if it doesn't, at minimum, come up with a highly visible path to a new fuel within months to a year. Continental's variation on the same theme was to launch its own 94UL initiative to at least force the issue. Kraft said two weeks ago that when owners understand what's going on here, they are going to demand action. Doublespeak mumblings out of groups like FAST complicate this, as does the lapdog aviation press that basically reports what they say as news without critical examination. (I plead guilty of being in this sorry bunch, but the judge says I may be ready for work release.)

In that context, the industry's "continuing studies" aren't going to cut it for Kraft, Continental or the Clean 100-Octane Coalition. What the coalition's momentum most needs now is a couple of other plain-speaking heavy hitters who aren't the least bit shy about busting up Power Point drivel to get to the point. Jack Pelton from Cessna comes to mind, and so does Peter Maurer at Diamond. They need to throttle up to full song. They need to pay attention.

If this outside-the-box approach gains traction, it could either bypass the FAST committee's plodding pace or propel it into forward motion suitable to the task at hand. The latter would be better, because the FAST group has strong expertise and experience. From the outside looking in, what it could most benefit from is plain-spoken, strong leadership with an eye focused more on a fuel that works, and less on playing Ninja-level paddycake with regulatory apparatchiks.

As they learn more about this fuels search business, the 100-octane coalition seems to be undergoing a bit of culture shock. These guys are self-made entrepreneurs who invent things, sell things and basically live by their wits. The Search For a New Fuels empire has been at it for 20 years and has produced essentially nothing but bullet-point briefings, proposals and meetings…a lot of meetings.

One reason for this is slavish adherence to process, and to that grand document of avgas specification, ASTM D910—a simple little sheet that describes what avgas must do, and what it needs to have in it. Great thing. But also the Rosetta Stone of failure, because all of CRC's and FAST's efforts have been hung up on meeting D910, which was written precisely for leaded avgas. That guarantees that only leaded avgas will meet it. In other words, as an intellectual problem solving exercise, they have gotten it exactly backwards for 20 years. The problem is the holy altar upon which the solution is being sacrificed.

What the 100-Octane Coalition would like to do is scrap D910 in favor of a 100-octane gas that, you know, actually works, burns and doesn't detonate. Then write a new spec around that. Oh, and don't take two years doing it, either. As part of this, they want the FAA to stop blocking efforts to approve fuels for test purposes via STC. The Coalition also thinks that the new fuel will have to come from the entrepreneurial sector, not the oil companies and certainly not CRC or FAST, which exist only to evaluate and jolly along the approval process.

With that thought in mind, five months after it came out of the ground with what it claims to be the answer to this problem, GAMI's G100UL has still not been seriously evaluated by any of the primary entities involved in this struggle. (OK, one: GAMA.) No test cell visits, no flight trials. That is just bizarre and also symptomatic of the bumbling effort to find a new fuel.

It's not my job to sell G100UL. I don't know if it's the right stuff or not. But I do know one thing: If I were a member of FAST or CRC, I'd have my ass on an airplane to Ada, Oklahoma to find out.

SATURDAY ADDITION

It suddenly occurred to me that I should put my money where my mouth is. So I will personally pay the travel expenses for any one member of the CRC or FAST groups to visit GAMI's test cell in Ada, Oklahoma, including the hotel and dinner. If you'd like to keep this secret so that no one finds out you're actually doing genuine investigation on a claimed viable 100LL replacement, I'll honor that.

Any takers can contact me privately via e-mail. [Ed. Note: Click on Paul's name in the byline to send him an e-mail.]

Comments (37)

Finally! Thank you Paul! I've been sitting here for weeks reading about the impending doom from the demise of 100LL, when just a few months ago GAMI announced they had it figured out. If I remember, you quoted one of the GAMI guys as saying something like, "Congratulations, you're now flying with the avgas of the future."

Now I'm not saying they hung the moon, but the Braly Bunch has certainly made more of change in aviation in the last decade than anyone I can think of. And if these guys say they have a solution, then dammit, the industry owes it to them to at least take them seriously.

Posted by: John Ewald | June 25, 2010 11:25 AM    Report this comment

I totally agree. It is time to see outside the box and come to the realization that the Oil Industry Apparatus is not interested in change, particularly less if they do not have a patent to it. I noticed that Swift 100 was not mentioned in this article. 100SF is being evaluated and flying at ERAU in Daytona Bch, FL, has a "Fuel Test" status at the ASTM and has been tested by the FAA at their William J. Hughes Technical Center with beyond impressive results. We, as consumers, are the ones with the power to change things and we, the people, demand from our elected representatives TO REPRESENT US in that change. My 2 cts...

Posted by: Gunther Rincon | June 25, 2010 11:30 AM    Report this comment

I should have been clearer. What I've said here applies equally to Swift, but Swift emerged three years ago and is just now getting into fleet testing, having obtained a preliminary ASTM approval. Most of the principles in the fuel projects have seen the data and taken it seriously, as they should.

G100UL appeared earlier this year and GAMI wants to pursue an STC fleet trial project in parallel with its ATSM application. The FAA is blocking this, even though it has approved many fuel STCs in the past. ASTM approval will take at least two to three years, which the industry simply doesn't have.

Swift's approval will come sooner than that because they started sooner. But they have to attract capital, ramp up and build infrastructure. This will also take time.

Neither company has to actually deliver fuel in two years. What's needed is a clear path--marketwise and regulatory wise--so we can remove the doubt that anything is going to appear and restore confidence in future fuel for buyers and owners.

The FAA is working against this and, to a degree, so are the industry organizations because they won't challenge the FAA on the STC. Or at least they won't say as much.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | June 25, 2010 12:54 PM    Report this comment

I recently attended a seminar put on by a major engine overhaul facility and they're still trashing lean-of-peak and mogas. If anything hasn't changed, it's that GAMI isn't taken too seriously - especially by the big names in the business. If an STC isn't going to happen for political reasons, maybe GAMI should move an aircraft over to the experimental category and start racking up as many hours as they can of the stuff. We'll find out real quick if it's gonna work or not.

Posted by: Josh Johnson | June 25, 2010 5:33 PM    Report this comment

>>If an STC isn't going to happen for political reasons, maybe GAMI should move an aircraft over to the experimental category and start racking up as many hours as they can of the stuff. We'll find out real quick if it's gonna work or not.<<

That has been going on since February in a very public, rigorous test of a single SR22. But it's not enough. You need wider, longer term fleet trials in order to engender the confidence in this fuel to get it into the supply chain,if it ever gets that far.

The most immediate issue is that the people who are telling us how hard this is going to be have not (a) been to Ada to see the cell data or (b) flown with the stuff, although all have been invited. This is simply an outrage.

GAMI is a small company with as sophisticated a test cell as you will find on the planet. It has a track record. It could have the solution to this problem. Or maybe it doesn't.

But how you could possibly know without investigating it? Or the MO to just continue to describe the problem and ignore proposed solutions?

Ditto with Swift, by the way. Wonder if it could use some industry help in rounding up capital? (Not the actual money; the method.)

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | June 25, 2010 7:00 PM    Report this comment

And by the way, there are more than 800 Cirrus SR22TN's out there mandated to run lean of peak. The operating history has been excellent and the owners are thrilled with them.

Any person with a brain who looks at all the data could not doubt the efficacy of lean of peak operation, The data is incontrovertible. Anyone who doubts this is just an idiot.

Now one might legitimately decide to run rich for power reasons, or perhaps smoothness or maybe because they just enjoy wasting gas and money. But to argue at this late date that lean of peak is harmful is to inhabit the world of the uneducated. Some engine shop owners are still there.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | June 26, 2010 5:56 AM    Report this comment

Paul- I'm with you on the lean of peak issue (or mogas for that matter) It has always amazed me the conservatism of pilots, aircraft owners, engine manufacturers, etc - hence the reason we're flying 1930's technology engines with magnetos. You can't even buy a weedeater without an electronic ignition today!

Posted by: Josh Johnson | June 26, 2010 7:49 AM    Report this comment

Excellent, Paul!

There is a "Stockholm Syndrome" going on with some of the aviation groups and the FAA, and it's time the alphabet groups figure out that the FAA *IS* the threat, as well as being the conduit through which the solution must be shoved.

Time to start shoving and stop trying to please the captors.

Posted by: Tom Gresham | June 27, 2010 8:48 AM    Report this comment

Paul, I am glad you have a passion for aviation as few others. I share this passion that is rooted in the idea that intellect and assiduous application can achieve miracles, much as the Wright brothers brought to the world from a bicycle shop in Dayton, OH. George Braly also exemplifies this application of intellect and the government apparatus of the FAA and their fear of product liability trial lawyers seeking to line their pockets under the guise of "protecting" consumers frustrate this application of genuine American invention. I love my high-compression engine that pushes my V-tail Bonanza past the 200 knot range and am not happy about the position of Continental and the FAA that less is more.

I am putting my money where my heart is and joining the efforts to ensure a healthy future of aviation where innovation and science can foster the hope and freedom of the common man to enjoy the skies at a decent speed and cost.

Posted by: Kelly McBride | June 27, 2010 2:26 PM    Report this comment

I don't think there's a conspiracy among the "oil industry apparatus", it's more likely there reluctance is motivated by a wary respect of the enviromentalist lobby.

Why fight a big battle over a very small portion of the market that's already a target for "elitist" manipulators.

I wish the influential people Paul mentioned would weigh in against their illogical approach. Second, I understand there still is no definitive study establishing just what level of lead is actually detrimental to public health. Virtually everything in nature, including water, is detrimental - in the right concentration.

Why prosecute a cure for an "ill" that the threshold level of contamination has yet to be confirmed detrimental?

Posted by: Marc Bourget | June 28, 2010 7:49 AM    Report this comment

I don't believe there's a conspiracy alive either, not in the oil companies, not in the alphabets nor in the FAA. What I see is simply institutional inertia, bureaucratic intransigence and a crying lack of clear-eyed, semi-gutsy leadership to overcome the two.

Another shortcoming: a real reluctance to engage with private companies, evaluate their proposals and then express the kind of opinions that form the basis of leadership.

And we're not talking the Normandy landings here, so the courage-in-leadership requirement isn't all that great.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | June 28, 2010 8:18 AM    Report this comment

I would like to personally thank Lee Buechler for forming the Clean100-OctaneCoalition (http://www.100octaneformyplane.com/), setting up a website with his own money and time, lighting a fire under the type aircraft clubs to get involved, contacting AVWeb, the AOPA leadership and other entities, doing the legwork to discover who is involved, who is important, who needs to get involved. This sudden impetus to finally get the ball rolling may not have happened without his push. Thanks, Lee.

Posted by: Elliott Schiffman | June 28, 2010 9:01 AM    Report this comment

Mr Kraft must need engine sales. After all, why should Lycoming bless any fuel for the existing fleet, and risk the liability for a fuel related engine failure for any of the new fuels developed?? Not certifying his engines for any of the new fuels guarantees that he has a built in demand for the replacement of ALL Lycoming engines if a new fuel is ever agreed upon.

Posted by: Art Ahrens | June 28, 2010 9:13 AM    Report this comment

Marc said, "Second, I understand there still is no definitive study establishing just what level of lead is actually detrimental to public health." Studying lead levels won't make any difference if the single manufacturer of TEL decides to stop making it. EAA Vice President of Government Relations Doug Macnair put it in perspective on this podcast: http://www.airventure.org/radio/clips/EAA-365/2010/INT-DougMacnair-100LL.mp3 If you don't want to take time to listen, I'll summarize the one key point. By the end of 2012 most of the 3rd world will stop using leaded gasoline in cars. The demand for TEL is constantly declining. Would you stay in a business where the demand for your product constantly declines? Wait a minute, were talking about GA here aren't we, no different.

Posted by: Dean Billing | June 28, 2010 10:08 AM    Report this comment

Marc- I strongly recommend against using the argument that the lead in 100LL is of no or inconsequential risk to public health in support of the status quo. That argument was lost in the last century. In fact, there is no safe level of lead in children or adults, as demonstrated in study after study. I agree that it is not likely that epidemilologic or toxicologic studies can prove that 100LL currently poses a significant threat to public health. Still, the momentum to remove all sources of lead from the environment is so deeply engrained in federal, state and local statute and as a fundamental value in the environmental advocacy community cannot be overcome at this late date. Our future as owner/pilots of piston engines now fueled with 100LL lies in high octane, ethanol- and lead-free gasoline or a viable lead-free substitute. And we will need a cost-effective system to manufacture, distribute, store and pump it into our aircraft. Don't waste you energy :) on keeping TEL in the mix.

Posted by: Dan Vandermeer | June 28, 2010 10:16 AM    Report this comment

There's an old saying that "the only person who likes change is a wet baby" and the machinations over the potential demise of 100LL Avgas certainly serve to demonstrate its truth.

It is heartening to see the general aviation community finally applying some imagination and initiative to the issue rather than simply sitting by while many environmentalists, federal administrators and some GA equipment suppliers continue to take steps that have only one significant beneficiary, the segment of the oil industry that supplies our tiny niche market.

Kudos to the 100-Octane Coalition. We need more of the same kind of initiative on other issues impacting aviation like the ADS-B mandate, the move toward total dependence on GPS, continuing expansion of controlled airspace, the erosion of GA infrastructure and the list goes on.

Bill H.

Posted by: William Harper | June 28, 2010 10:28 AM    Report this comment

Paul, Not that 'misery loves company', why can't we use the Nascar racing fuels that are produced by at least 5 co.s? Why isn't the EPA adding these fuels to their NPRM ? Sunoco has 6 traditional grades of leaded fuels , from 110 octane , to 116 octane, and 7 grades of unleaded fuel, from 94+ to 104 octane. [ link http://www.sunocoinc.com/site/Consumer/RaceFuels/TraditionalFuels/ ] Two questions come to mind. Why is auto racing still allow to use leaded fuels while aviation is being required to use unleaded fuel . Why can't aviation use the available high octane, unleaded fuel available for racing ? Sunoco 260 GTX is unleaded 98 octane and no Oxygenate and looks like it meets ASTM-D910. It may be that the sum of Nascar and the off-road racing do not use nearly the amount of fuel we use in GA., but the fuels exist now, and are widely distributed.

JimH.

Posted by: James Hughes | June 28, 2010 1:04 PM    Report this comment

James... following a weekend at Infineon Raceway in California, I asked the same question. Produce more and the price will come down... But the FAA refuses to believe that auto technology has progressed beyond 1930 while, for the most, part GA has not.

BTW, I thought we were mandated to get a plastic pilots' license upon which was mandated to be my passport or DL picture. The FAA can't even handle that, so how will they handle 100ul, 406 ELTs, and ADS-b out... Answer is they won't... just deny our flying without something which doesn't exist because of them.

Posted by: David Spencer | June 28, 2010 2:51 PM    Report this comment

Can't answer this question at the moment. But I do recall reading the NASCAR was pledging to switch to unleaded fuels sometime this year or next. Googling is reveals stories that they have already switch to UL.

If they have, they need some serious octane. Wouldn't surprise me if they're using ethers by special arrangement.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | June 28, 2010 3:38 PM    Report this comment

Paul... The SunoCo pumps had ul fuel from 97 to 116 octane. Price was from $4 n'change to $10.00. I think 100ul was $4.35 whereas I've paid over $6.00 for 100ll. Cars were from vintage 1920s to Porsche 905, F1, 427 Cobras, Ferrari, NASCAR. Engines were from putter-cats to 500+hp. No one was complaining about price nor were there any enviro-weenies with picket signs.

Seems to me that 100ul is already available, but government has to expand the 1930s knowledge base of the FAA, EPA and alphabet aviation groups.

Start pumping and testing that 116 octane stuff and I'd gladly pay $10.00/gal. rather than buy a new engine for $100,000.00. This is a real embarrassment for aviation.

Posted by: David Spencer | June 28, 2010 5:26 PM    Report this comment

The Coalition is a nice jump start to getting more airtime on this issue and they are to be commended. I signed the expression of support for whatever that's worth.

If the Coalition wants to address the GAMI STC issue, they should start an electronic petition to bey sent to the FAA to approve an STC for GAMI. If the petition has enough signatures, then it should also be signed by all the umbrella groups that are members of the Coalition.

If the petition is fully supported, then one would assume that AOPA and EAA would also should support the petition in writing as well as through their government interface network (that we support through our charitable contributions for just such an occasion as this)...

It's fairly absurd that the FAA has not engaged on this, unless they have more at stake with Swift Fuels since they've invested time with Swift already at their NJ facility? Or is there someone at a lower level in the FAA that has predetermined the answer here and doesn't want another solution complicating his answer.

Either way, in this year of "vote the incumbents out", it would be nice to present the FAA with a well supported petition that they would be forced to publicly respond to one way or another. Given there will be many more hurdles for any solution to pass before they become tangible, it is only prudent to evaluate and assist as many substantive, creative solutions as possible.

Posted by: Daniel Pace | June 28, 2010 7:39 PM    Report this comment

A large proportion of the GA fleet would run well or even better on lower octane, lead free fuel. This requires STCs but another option might be to reintroduce lower octane AVGAS with much lower lead levels. If this were made available at airports along side the 100LL, the amount of lead used by GA could be significantly decreased. I, for one, would gladly use a lead free or lower lead fuel if it was available. This gives the potential to negotiate a staged reduction of lead usage which buys time for more research and testing. I've read somewhere about an old system where TEL is automatically mixed in at the pump as required so different octane levels are available from a single pump. This might reduce the infrastructure cost of providing multiple fuels although possibly introduces quality control issues.

Posted by: John Hagtharp | June 29, 2010 1:04 AM    Report this comment

What part of, Innospec will probably stop making TEL before the EPA outlaws it, do you people not understand? This is the kind of company it is: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20100625-709360.html Probably not the kind of company you want to depend on for making the only additive in the world used to make economic 100 octane avgas.

Posted by: Dean Billing | June 29, 2010 1:24 AM    Report this comment

If the only source of TEL dries up, there is obviously a more immediate problem. Without looking deeper into the issues, I wonder whether another supplier would spring up given the attractive demand / supply equation.

Looking into interim reduced lead options would only be a problem if the search for lead free alternatives ceased.

As for the bribery charges, it's not something I judge a company on. I've lived in places where if you want to do business, you pay bribes. The only difference is some companies get caught and others don't but this is another topic altogether...

Posted by: John Hagtharp | June 29, 2010 2:04 AM    Report this comment

I agree. Can't tar the company with the behavior of one employee. It's not like this unmasks a company policy. We buy a lot of oil from countries far less savory than this.

As for the TEL, the single-source argument may be credible or not. It's impossible to know for sure because some people in the industry say there would be no problem getting all the TEL you need by contract manufacturing in China. The larger question is, would anyone want to? I'm told we're talking about a nickle's worth of material per gallon of avgas.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | June 29, 2010 4:54 AM    Report this comment

While GAMI has many loyal customers, what they did was (IMHO) present themselves in a manner to tick off people at LyCon such that they're not taken seriously.

Again, my opinion, but the whole LOP ops is nothing but a band-aid on what is a sub-optimum design of the Conti cylinder fin. Fin spacing (7 fins/inch on the Conti vs. 6 fins/in on the Lyc) not only lowers Reynolds number of the airflow between fins (consequently lowers airflow thus lowering cooling) but also reduces fin thickness at the base of the fin (and as any thermal engineer will tell you, thermal conductivity through a fin is all about the base area-to-length ratio of the fin.) So thinner fins packed together tighter than the Lyc's, the airflow is cut down and the fin thermal efficency suffers, hence the cylinder sees higher operating temps. So GAMI says, gee, lower the power and the cylinder runs cooler. What a surprise. Yawn. (Well, and you do get the benefit of lower lead in the oil from blowby, so that's OK.)

Side note, my Lyc O-360 in the Cutlass RG at 50 ROP never gets above 360F in cruise on a hot day. GAMI screams "You MUST run LOP!!" Uh, but it runs rough. GAMI Screams "Use carb heat!!" And introduce unfiltered air when I can see the dirt in the air where I fly?!?!? Nah.

So it's possible GAMI's own marketing approach over LOP ops may have damaged their credibillity. Their 100UL may be the greatest since TEL but if they have a history of not being taken seriously, what good is it?

Posted by: David Rosing | June 29, 2010 9:42 AM    Report this comment

Can't comment on the cylinder fin design, but I do know lean of peak was only secondarily about cooling. It's mostly about economy and efficiency. Would you rather run at 17.3 GPH and give up 7 knots, or run at 23 GPH for the higher speed? You can do either.

If you survey the 800 or so SR22 owners, they seem pretty adamant about the former. Maybe they spent the money they saved on gas on Kool-Aid.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | June 29, 2010 10:03 AM    Report this comment

David, not pertinent to this thread, but I don't think GAMI suggests LOP for carb'd motors. I think they recommend LOP with GAMI injectors and a multi-cylinder engine analyzer.

I could be wrong, but that is the only way I would run LOP anyway. Done right, it doesn't run rough until you get way lean. I do this in my T-34 IO520 (as do many Bonanza owners) and get ~9 gph LOP vs 15 ~gph. Yes, going slower, but I don't need to save 10 minuts on a typical flight.

More pertinent to the thread. There will be NO TEL in avgas in the future because of political and environmental reasons period. Regardless of what NASCAR or others do.

With regard to G100Ul, the FAA is only asking GAMI to do the same thing Swift has done; get a preliminary approval from ASTM then STC's will follow.

Posted by: Edd Weninger | June 29, 2010 12:14 PM    Report this comment

Aviation thy name is arrogance... why recreate the wheel?

Posted by: David Spencer | June 29, 2010 12:23 PM    Report this comment

Paul and Edd,

Maybe my memory is failing, but I thought LOP was investigated by the GAMI guys as a way to solve the premature (~900 hour) top overhauls needed on the turbo'd and turbonormalized Bo's with IO-520's and IO-550's that were seeing more than 400 to 440 degree cylinder head temps in cruise. They found the LOP ops reduced cylinder temps and the engines lasted to TBO. But I thought that was the major impetus to initiate their tests. Saving money was another benefit a few years later when gas went to $7 a gallon.

And yes, on the AOPA forum board I was strongly urged by Walter Atkinson to run LOP in my O-360 with carb heat on (albeit cracked open enough just to make it run smooth, but that still lets in unfiltered air into the engine and I ain't gonna do that.) So in my case it didn't make sense to waste the money on their seminar, so I was never able to ask them about the crux of the problem, namely the Conti's cooling fin design.

But you can call 'em and ask.

Posted by: David Rosing | June 29, 2010 4:06 PM    Report this comment

Don't need to call 'em up. I've got all this stuff in my archives: Here's a quote:

"GAMI’s initial research on Continental engines confirmed what many owners and mechanics suspected but didn’t clearly understand. Inconsistent fuel/air ratios to each cylinder cause wide variations in cylinder head and exhaust gas temperatures which translates to considerable loss of efficiency."

That's where GAMIjectors came from. What followed was the LOP investigations that resulted in more efficiency. It's fair to say it was a dual purpose, chicken-egg kind of thing on the temperatures. One followed and the other and vice versa.

Walter and I have talked about the carb heat thing LOP for carb engines. I think it's a curiosity more than anything. I have tried it with mixed results. Not worth it, to me.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | June 29, 2010 4:34 PM    Report this comment

The comments from John Hagtharp are very good. This is what we started with in Sweden 29 years ago. An unleaded low and later midrange octane AVGAS while maintaining the 100 LL. Yes this requires an extra tank at the airport - but this was posible in Sweden and certainly this is possible in the US -- just if the industy wants it. I understand the EPA has proposed such a solution - correct me if I am wrong -- not touching the 100 LL but the industry has refused. By doing so the aircraft that do not need the 100 LL could move to the unleaded version and thus reduce the lead amount in the air. Also as I understand it the way the EPA thinks national air quality standard is actually only a problem at major airports for the GA and where there already are several 100 LL refuelling tanks. At such locations you don,t even need new tanks just an arrangement among fuel retailers who will take the unleaded volume. On this line it all peters down to if refiners want to make an unleaded AVGAS and as we do in Sweden - we make the basic Hjelmco 91/96UL first of traditional good AVGAS components - then me add the lead etc and get the 100 LL. It is all very easy logistically to handle. In Sweden we have approx 3000 aircraft at 200 airports and Sweden is about 1000 miles long and about 300 miles wide and Hjelmco Oil has managed with good profitability to run such a network for 29 years. Why cannot the industry in the US solve problems others can do at other locations in the world?

Posted by: Unknown | July 1, 2010 9:55 AM    Report this comment

Paul, Way back in my engineering designs of high power motor drives, we mounted the TO-3 transistors on finned aluminum heat sinks to keep the temps below 90 degC. We used black anodized heat sinks to get a 30% improvement in thermal transfer efficiency over bare alum.. Has anyone done research on black anodizing the heads on a Lyc or Conty.? This is '70s technology, only 30 yrs newer than our engines.!

JimH.

Posted by: James Hughes | July 1, 2010 10:08 AM    Report this comment

Paul,

I have no idea what’s in swift fuel or George's stuff. However, I bet if it was called a bio-fuel or some other renewable nonsense if would be fast tracked by the cowardly government employees.

TEL is not a pollutant. I know that is a sin to say and we probably have lost that battle without firing an effective shot. The EPA themselves have determined that not all LEAD containing chemical compounds are a threat to humans. Lead was removed from fuel for one reason and it was not lead pollution. It was removed so that GM’s (the same people that brought you TEL) catalytic converters would work properly. The environmental issue the EPA is most worried about is getting TEL in the mogas supply and killing the catalytic converter effectiveness in reducing unburned hydrocarbons. They are using the lead “card” to get their way.

By the way those that want to bash LOP operations might want to download the Curtis Wright document from the GAMI website if it is still available. It shows what a major engine company thought of LOP operations

Posted by: Dick Merrill | July 2, 2010 8:42 AM    Report this comment

Mr. Merrill, You are almost correct on at least one point- "...we probably have lost the battle..." In fact that battle was lost. Indeed it was lost by those who argued that TEL is not a pollutant in the face of overwhelming evidence that TEL is a pollutant. The scientific (toxicologic, epidemiologic, and animal) data consistently demonstrate that environmental lead is a neurotoxin at exceedingly low levels. Further, low level of environmental lead when ingested and/or inhaled by children has been shown is many studies to reduce average IQ levels in children. And even further, the blood lead levels in children have been demonstrated to track the elimination of lead in mogas, just as the elimination of lead from paint was shown to reduce the incidence of childhood lead poisoning. As I said in an earlier post, we need to stop carping about the decision to eliminate lead from avgas and find a substitute fuel. The battle ahead is to assure that the substitute is approved by the engine manufacturers and regulatory agencies and a system to deliver it to our aircraft is put in place. This is not impossible. Re-read Mr Hjelmberg's post above regarding the fuel available in Sweden. And consider joining the coalition dedicated to assuring that there remains a portion of the gasoline blend stock without ethanol here in the States. Go to www.e0pc.com for more information.

Posted by: Dan Vandermeer | July 2, 2010 9:48 AM    Report this comment

We still have the best government money can buy. The FAA itself is not the problem. It is thoseleaning on the FAA to block an outsider from the solution. Lobbyists who spend a lot of money are likely already putting pressure on the President and Congress to pressure LaHood. Babbitt does not work in a vacuum.

Posted by: Elliott Schiffman | August 14, 2010 1:40 AM    Report this comment

We still have the best government money can buy. The FAA itself is not the problem. It is thoseleaning on the FAA to block an outsider from the solution. Lobbyists who spend a lot of money are likely already putting pressure on the President and Congress to pressure LaHood. Babbitt does not work in a vacuum.

Posted by: Elliott Schiffman | August 14, 2010 1:40 AM    Report this comment

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