AOPA’s Mark Baker On G100UL: “A Big Darn Deal”


Given the sometimes Byzantine politics, the players in the unleaded avgas effort have to take public stances that are sometimes different from what they say privately. In this video, AOPA’s Mark Baker explains that he worked quietly in the background to help get GAMI’s G100UL fuel through the STC process. Now comes the hard part: getting the new fuel to market.


  1. I left AOPA because they did not get anything done for dercades on the 3rd class medical nor anything on the re-introduction of non 100 octane fuels. They still haven’t. Basically as an aviation PAC they (like the NRA) stopped representing most of their base. All the approval did was to hasten price increse and once again push the “one size fits all” 100 octane fuel that’s not needed in most small GA airplanes.

    The phrase “thank you sir may I have another” comes to mind.

    • Mo Gas is available. 94UL is available. All you need to do is go to your local airport and negotiate a lease to have a self-serve fueling station. Then make the investment in the equipment, satisfy the regulations, negotiate with a supplier, and set up shop. Along the way you may figure out why your local FBO hasn’t done the same and sticks to one fuel for everyone.

      • Amen. currently lists 16,873 sellers of ethanol-free gasoline. Many offer 91 AKI or higher, what is needed most often by mogas STCs and TCs. All fuel terminals have ethanol-free since ethanol may not be pumped through pipelines. The aviation alphabets could have done the vast majority of GA pilots a big favor 30+ years ago by getting mogas onto airports, but they failed. Costs spiraled upwards and people left aviation for good. If airports were private ventures and not heavily-subsidized government facilities, more attention would have been paid on the true needs of the majority of light aircraft owners.

      • Elton, EXACTLY.
        Point being is that AOPA has done exactly ZERO on this for the last 30 years. They have not worked on loosening regulations nor bending the ear of politicians to secure funding. That’s why I pulled my membership years ago when they joined the myopic “one fuel” team. This interview is their crowning achievement in comfortable neglect.

        • What would you have them do? It sounds like you can run lower octane, and it’s approved. Your beef is with private business owners that don’t see the payback from the capital investment to offer more than one fuel. There’s no “one fuel” requirement anywhere. It’s economics.

          • I drive past at least 30 gas stations on my way to work. Each one has at least 4 grades of fuel (3 tanks). My “beef” is with a PAC like AOPA that is unwilling to help the bulk of their supporter; us who do not need 100 octane. They have not even lifted one finger to assist in what every gas statiuon in America has been able to do. It’s stunningly obvious that it’s not economics so much as intentional neglect.

  2. Dolly Patton’s effective business philosophy: to succeed you must be the first, the least expensive or the best. Preferably two or all three. I don’t see how this new boutique fuel satisfies any criteria. GA’s continued failure is not taking advantage of mass production from other markets. Home builders do however, using Mogas-burning auto engine conversions with inexpensive parts available at the local car parts store and fuel from tens of thousands of sellers. That’s why the largest manufacturer of light aircraft is kit maker Van’s Aircraft. Italy’s Tecnam has a policy that all its aircraft must be able to run on Mogas. The same for Austria’s Rotax, the world’s largest producer of aircraft engines. My impression is that the GA lobby is myopic and going backwards.

  3. Count this Virginia RV-7 owner who flies coast to coast annually as a “California type”, in Mark’s words. Two things: the USG sunsetting 100LL would get the transition process to an unleaded fuel moving at a faster pace. Mad scramble, the GA community going berserk, AOPA in full-throated congressional testimony action? For sure. What time horizon would be fair to fliers and the fuel industry?
    Secondly, California and states that automatically mirror its environmental policies are banning the sale of ICE-driven cars in 2035 – with an increasing proportion leading up to that date. If they’ll prohibit ICE featuring cutting edge emissions control mechanisms, how will they feel about ICE (turbine engines are also ICE) that have no emission control mechanisms at all? Are the Cirusses, Pipers, and Cessnas keeping an eye on this possibility?
    Paul, perhaps you or another aviation journalist could look into this issue? BTW, plug-in hybrids will remain acceptable in 2035 California, so perhaps the GA producers are spending some money on that option?

    • It takes a long time to build generating and transmission capacity. California can’t supply its electrical demands now. I’m not sure how they’ll be able to ramp up generating capacity to supply all the demand from an electric surface transportation fleet. There’s also a charging infrastructure problem. BEV’s are nice if you have a garage. Less so if you live in an apartment, especially a high-rise. Of course, the existing ICE fleet won’t go away for decades but California’s policy is based on hope, not a plan. We’ll see if it holds up. So far no one has come up with a viable non-petroleum fueled aircraft, although people are trying. It seems like a breakthrough in battery technology is necessary before that will work.

  4. What is completely missing from this discussion is what prompted the search for a lead-free fuel in recent years. It wasn’t to lower the cost of private aviation, or to reduce lead deposits in engines, both major concerns for most owners of light aircraft. No, the motivation was the false premise that our tiny consumption of leaded fuel was an environmental risk and dangerous to humans. Finally, with an administration controlled by radical enviros, the writing is on the wall and just about anything will be found acceptable if the greenies will just go away. Including increasing the cost of fuel beyond the already staggering prices charged for 100LL. Such government intervention in free markets always leads to higher prices and fewer choices to consumers. What exacerbates the problem is that the “retailer”, FBOs, are joined at the hip to the airport owner, which in most cases is a government facility that is subsidized by area taxpayers and therefore does not run a true profit-making business. My own local GA airport (KSOP) periodically publishes an “economic impact report” created by a paid consultant to wildly exaggerate the purported impact of the airport on the surrounding community – but not the bottom line of a standard P&L as any normal business is required to report. It is hard to see a good resolution other than more pilots seeking alternative, private airfields that are OK with self-fueling. The most enlightened will sell Mogas from the field and attract tenants like bees to honey, especially if they allow people to build their own low-cost hangars. I am looking for land now to do just that and see a great future in meeting the needs of the sport aviation community, which is large here in the Southeast.

    • You missed the credible liability of relying on the sole producer of TEL; that would be another reason prompting the search. Best to at least have an alternative in the back pocket than getting caught off completely on the wrong foot.

  5. A waste of 25 minutes. Almost nothing learned.

    The real resistance to GA is from non-pilots who know almost nothing about aviation.
    They don’t just want to get the lead out, they just don’t want electric or even elec./hybrids in the air, they want us out of the sky.

    They don’t plan to stop until they succeed. We in GA of course are going to find a way to keep flying as:
    1. It is humans best illustrator of freedom, to be able to take that puddle jumper with no radio, coast to coast if we get the urge.
    2. Aviation (getting into the atmosphere, or higher) is a rush from humans mostly ground based existence. Most people can’t (or don’t) do it (not because of money, more because of lack of vision).

    We do Young EAGLES, Old EAGLES, but we’re not too gun-ho on the EAGLE fuel initiative, because we see where its going. Its not just to get the lead out!

    3. We want to educate the world to become better humans (STEM, STEAM, “any which way but loose”, whatever). We want to pull each other up by each others bootstraps. We care about each other. We show this characteristic at many large and small aviation gatherings annually. Too many non aviators only seem to care about themselves these days. We don’t give up though, on trying to educate them while even allowing them to educate us! But we’re not looking to get filled with empty nothing. Especially fuel tanks!

    • Baker, like Phil Boyer, seem to like to give lots of interviews.
      Meanwhile under their watch they support the “one-size-fits-all” 100 octane team, slept while Meiigs field was plowed under, and have cowered to the “we must have gates and security at airports” folks.

      I could care less about STEM, yound eagles and unleaded AvGas.
      All those of diversions from the real problems.
      WHY inspire people to an overly regulated and overy enforced “hobby” where land prices are deleting airports faster than new ones can be built?

  6. A lot of proponents here for using mogas in the low compression engines. I have one of those, too. My concern with mogas is the quality control, or rather, the lack thereof. There are so many blends of mogas, and so many distributors/retailers, how the do you know what the heck you’re putting in your tanks? Seems to require a leap of faith…

    • just leave the lead out and we’d have the same great fuel prperties and refinement, no lead problems, and it would not cost more. Done. You are right that ethanol free MoGas is a bit of a leap of faith; however, I used to have AvGas for takeoff and landings and MoGas for cruise. Seriously if every mom & pop gas station can have 3 tanks then I don’t buy the argument that airports cant leverage that multi-tank ubiquitous equipment.