Lycoming's Kraft: Competition May Make 100LL Replacement Cost Competitive
Although no replacement for 100LL has yet been identified, Lycoming's Michael Kraft thinks it's possible that multiple competitors could enter the market with different fuels meeting the same specifications, thus fostering price competition. In this podcast recorded at Aero 2012 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, Lycoming's Kraft said that although it hasn't released its formal report, the FAA's leaded fuel transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee will recommend a transition process that could, conceivably, have several competitors providing different sources of unleaded fuel to the market that meet the same performance specification.
"I think a structure that has competition inside it is very likely," Kraft said. "We should be able to come out with something that's about the same as 100LL in terms of the end consumer," he added. This might require some minor modifications to aircraft in some cases, but Kraft sees these as doable. As for the ARC committee report itself, the FAA has dragged its feet on release of its recommendations publically, but Kraft said it's "quite promising" that the group's recommendations are being reviewed at the Department of Transportation level. "It's not going into some lower-level drawer, it's actually being meaningfully examined." The ARC committee, which consists of FAA certification officials, oil company representatives, airframers and user groups, has been meeting for more than a year. A progress report was expected last summer but was never delivered by the FAA.