$10 Million Approved For Unleaded Avgas Evaluation


Congress has approved $10 million for testing and evaluation of unleaded high octane aviation fuels and all sectors currently involved in the effort can qualify for funding. According to AOPA, President Joe Biden signed the bill that funds the executive branch for the coming year on Dec. 29. “The bill also recognizes the collaborative industry-government effort to move general aviation to a fleetwide drop-in, lead-free fuel solution no later than 2030 by including $10 million for additional unleaded fuel testing and evaluation,” AOPA said in a news release.

AOPA is one of the lead proponents of the Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions (EAGLE) initiative to find a drop-in universal replacement for 100LL that will lead to a FAA fleet authorization, and EAGLE will be in line for some of that money. But those pursuing a new fuel by way of Supplementary Type Certificate, as GAMI’s G100UL achieved last September, can also get a slice of the funding. Swift Fuels is eyeing an STC for its 100R in 2023, according to AOPA. “These funds may also be used to further advance research, development, and innovation to support both of these paths, leading to a possible update to FAA certification guidance.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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    • Thinking about it some more … I have a GREAT idea. Why not go back to 80/87 red stuff for those airplanes that can use it. The amount of lead that was in that fuel was less than a quarter of what’s in 100LL. That’d lessen the impact of lead emissions. (Not that I believe it’s an issue at all).

    • C’mon, Larry, did you really think that the government could just let George Braley win without “helping” the process along? They have to make it look like it was really their idea. But I agree, send a million to GAMI for good measure. Lord knows they have certainly earned it!

      • I was at George’s Airventure 2022 forum. He showed up late saying that he’d been in a conference where he FINALLY got full STC approval for G100UL. The cynicism and disgust in his voice was evident. How sad that getting the FAA off their proverbial butts often requires congressional direction via laws and the very loud clamor of their customers embarrassing them into action.

        I’m about 1/4″ from quitting AOPA over its support of EAGLE. How many more times are we gonna have to deal with all this poopus maximus before they wave their magic twangers?

        As Einstein said, “Bureaucracy is the death of all any achievement.”

  1. Frankly there isn’t a replacement fuel even close to the composition that will be necessary for use as a ‘drop-in replacement’ for all aircraft/helicopters in all operating conditions globally….. People need to stop fixating on the narrow range of operations/types (fixed and rotary) that seem to be mentioned over and over and over with some key important combinations of engine type/operating environment/use, being overlooked. I predict that we are looking at least until 2030 before a suitable fuel is formulated and PROPERLY AND FULLY TESTED IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES and in ALL possibly engine/airframe combinations in a robust way, as this is more critical than most people realise…..

    • Whoever told you that is wrong. You can intermix G100UL and mogas just like 100LL.

      As per GAMI: “Comingling of G00UL Avgas and other gasolines approved for use in your aircraft is specifically authorized in the limitations section of the STCs.”

      • I think you will find it in the STC if you can view it. I believe the STC is SE01996WI, but really having a tough time finding (internet search) the complete full STC that references mogas.

  2. Spend all $10M getting G100UL into the market as quickly as possible. After the FAA’s unconscionable stonewalling, it’s high time to get this fuel out and available.

    • There’s a very good reason why the EAGLE initiative is proceeding…. and it’s technically based and not at all political. One day you’ll no doubt see why the process is as it is. There is NO proven ‘drop in’ replacement available at this stage.

      This is a long way from resolved, and people need to stop focusing on the ‘easy cases’ because there are some very ‘hard cases’ (engine/airframe/operational conditions) that are the ones that are making a proper ‘drop-in’ safe fuel that doesn’t have potentially disastrous engine durability outcomes, a real big challenge.

      I believe that it’s unwise to claim or believe that any of the current unleaded offerings will work in all operational circumstances in all machines in the global fleet (this isn’t just a USA thing you know). It’s far more complex than almost everybody understands! I have around 100,000 hours REAL WORLD ‘in the air’ testing data from the past 5 years (inc 2000+ destroyed cylinders – and I’m NOT in the USA) and which the cause of their failure would mean that your optimism on ANY of the unleaded proposals so far would be questionable to say the least. Of course my data isn’t going to be shared here!

      au revoir (that means I’ll make no further comments – at all).

      • Be specific – you have a lot to say with out saying anything. Where is your test data, what engine, what conditions. You are just spouting nonsense

        • No, I’m not….. ‘spouting nonsense’ as you rather unscientifically put it.

          I’ve been in the technical side of aviation fuel business for over 30 years. It’s several engines (from both major manufacturers) but why would I give a heads up to competitors (and to you)… I won’t, no matter what you ask!!! Go ask GAMI, Shell, Swift etc things such as information on all the various formulations used for the different engine testing and how many different ones they used before providing the final data… and if the same fuel was used for all the engines and all the data released…. bet you that they will be not willing to disclose even 5% of what they have there… and given the secrecy around all of this you won’t even be able to judge that!! What I can say is that on the formulations released, there is NO UNLEADED AVGAS SO FAR RELEASED that is proven to be safe in ALL GA engines in ALL operation regimes. If you studied all the formulations carefully and identified the major difference (apart from the obvious absence of lead), between them and avgas that works across the industry, you’d have a chance of identifying where the problem is. Farewell!

  3. It would appear that we already have a drop in replacement with G100UL for essentially all aircraft that need high octane. But lets take another approach. Various government regulatory agencies have systematically outlawed or otherwise terminated the use of certain industry standard engines such as two-cycle Detroit diesels, most two stroke gasoline engines, most non-tier 4 diesel engines, and mandated alcohol blended fuels that are precluded for use in various engines including many marine engines. So as with other industries why not just say too bad, replace with a compliant power plant or quit using it. I am sure there are many countries where such restrictions do not apply where aircraft are in demand. Just one more example of how aviation should move forward like other entities have been forced to do.

    • Lawnmower engines are $100, airplane engines are $40,000 and up. I guess you’re not an airplane owner.
      Other than that, jet-a would make an attractive alternative to avgas. I’d like to see more new models with diesel engines, which would slowly filter into the used market.

      • Diesel aircraft engines are not all they’re cracked up to be.

        And replacement aircraft engines of modern design suitable to modern fuels would be far cheaper if they were sold in their thousands, rather than the drip-feed of today.

        So perhaps what is really missing isn’t a drop-in fuel replacement, but a drop-in engine replacement!
        But of course, there are many that believe we will still be running O-540s 200 years from now…

  4. UL 94 is the real answer but it will take another 10 years before that realization sinks in. Until then we will just deny the solution.