NATA’s Castagna Replaces AOPA’s Baker As Co-Chair of EAGLE Initiative


The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) posted in its Oct. 31 newsletter that President and CEO Curt Castagna, who is also president and CEO of Aeroplex Group Partners, has taken over co-chair duties at the industry-government Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions (EAGLE) initiative. He replaces Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Co-chair duties are shared with Lirio Liu, FAA executive director of aircraft certification services. Baker had served as co-chair with Liu since the inception of the EAGLE program in February 2022.

The change is significant in that NATA represents a wide range of general aviation stakeholders. According to its website, NATA represents close to 3,700 member companies, including those involved in aircraft sales and acquisitions, fuel providers, aircraft ground support, passenger and crew services (FBOs), aircraft parking and hangarage, on-demand charter providers (Part 135), aircraft rental, flight training providers, aircraft maintenance and overhaul (M&O), parts providers, as well as business aircraft management services and fractional ownership providers. “NATA members range in size from large companies with [an] international presence to smaller, single-location operators that depend exclusively on general aviation for their livelihood,” according to the association, which adds that most NATA members have fewer than 40 employees and are designated as small businesses by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Castagna said, “NATA and its members continue to prioritize a safe and efficient transition to unleaded aviation fuel, and I am humbled to work with the FAA and our industry partners in my new role as we progress towards the eventual distribution of new fuels to airports and FBOs. At this crucial juncture in the future of the general aviation industry, we appreciate and are most grateful for Mark Baker’s work as co-chair, his leadership on behalf of his members and the industry, and his efforts to spread awareness of EAGLE and its mission.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. I feel like we need to send them a giant stuffed elephant named “George” that can loom large in the corner while they try to “solve” this “insurmountable” problem.

  2. Which kind of points out just how insignificant AOPA’s input is, their press releases to the contrary.

    Associations of users (AOPA, ARRL, etc.) are only listened to in the breach, not in the initiation. In essence…”go sit at the kid’s table and we’ll call you when dinner is ready”.

    • Responding to Bryan Boyle:

      Maybe not. There are a large number of AOPA members who operate “big-block” pistons and they may be driving AOPAs agenda. NATA might have no real horse in the race other than those FBOs who would need to choose when to cut over to UL ( assuming a choice remains for a while).

      Much of this could be sorted out by having the TCs amended for all piston engines and associated airframes to allow this fuel to be used.

      All the stakeholders seem to fear the hungry lawyers though and are paralyzed into inaction.

      • No doubt; when faced with trying to figure out what is going on always ask “Qui Bono?”.

        The small bugsmashers which make up the numbers of airframes don’t count…it’s the large-scale consumers which will call the tune. That, and the lawyers who stand ready to exploit any perceived crack that may arise.

        I don’t have a horse in the race (other than wanting to have a safe fuel to put in my said bugsmasher whether it’s the current or some future compatible concoction), but the independent FBOs and mom-and-pop airports are sitting there wondering…

  3. This isn’t an insurmountable problem the issue really is that it is going to cost somebody a bunch of money. All of the arguing is mainly over who’s pocket the cost to do the switchover is going to come out of. Unfortunately it isn’t going to be free and will likely cost everyone alot more than they are counting on.

  4. In the most recent issue of Flying magazine (Nov ’23) they published a letter from John Hilton. He writes:
    – – – – –
    “I am a … retired patent attorney and follower of the very slow process by which general aviation’s “leaders” have seemed to be moving toward getting the lead out of 100LL.

    In my opinion, EAGLE’s efforts seek to delay any adoption of an unleaded avgas till 2030.

    Why? Because that is the year before GAMI’s U.S. patent on [its] G100UL expires.

    GAMI has provided the solution to getting out of the 100LL dilemma, yet those who prefer to maintain the status quo and stall adoption of GAMI’s viable solution are using EAGLE and its “mission” as a weaon while awaiting expiration of a U.S. patent before adopting an ASTM standard for G100UL.”

  5. Dupont’s Freon patent ran out when the ozone layer needed fixing with a new formulation patent. Nail on the head on a much smaller level- follow the money, it leads the science.