Owners Group Presses AOPA On Fuel Issue
Leaders of owners groups for Cirrus, Malibu/Mirage, Bonanza, Mooney and Twin Cessna aircraft have banded together to form the Clean 100-Octane Coalition to make clear what they need from any replacement 100LL. Owners of these aircraft have the most to lose if the nation adopts 94UL (essentially 100LL without the lead) as a replacement fuel, because that fuel will mandate either expensive engine modifications, power de-ratings or both for their aircraft. It's likely this group's existence has already influenced AOPA's latest statement on a replacement for 100LL. At the annual Cirrus owner's migration in Dayton on Saturday, the coalition met with AOPA President Craig Fuller, as well as representatives from Cirrus, Piper, GAMA and Teledyne-Continental Motors (TCM), in what became a four-hour meeting to further press the point.
Fuller stated in a panel discussion that AOPA is committed to a solution that works for all its members (although he politely declined to accept a "No-94UL" button several migration attendees were sporting). What was looking like an adversarial showdown apparently turned into a collaborative session. Curt Sanford, president of the Cirrus Owner and Pilots Association (COPA), said, "I think our initial goal had been achieved before we sat down." He felt that AOPA and GAMA demonstrated they were actively pursuing the issue, but he also made it clear that owners wanted any impediments or roadblocks to any potential solution removed and were "ready to use their connections and influence." The group is planning to meet again at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh this summer and hopes to have more concrete steps announced by then. Said COPA's Gordon Feingold, "I think this kind of meeting between owner groups, advocacy groups and manufactures is unprecedented."