Leaded Avgas Issue Drives UL94 Supply

Hayward Executive airport
A Cessna 182 pulls up to the UL94 pump at Hayward Executive Airport.
Credit: Jamie West, courtesy of APP Jet Center

APP Jet Center announced that its FBO at Hayward Executive Airport (HWD) in Hayward, California, now offers Swift Fuels UL94 unleaded avgas among its fuel offerings.

APP’s March 10 release refers to the FAA and industry Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions (EAGLE) program, which the parties launched in February 2022 with the goal of eliminating the use of leaded aviation fuel across the nation’s piston-engine aircraft fleet by 2030.

In October 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a draft endangerment finding that lead emissions from piston aircraft that run on leaded avgas may endanger public health. The agency plans to issue a final endangerment finding this year.

“With the current excitement over unleaded avgas, we are very pleased to offer aviators a more environmentally friendly option for fueling their aircraft, furthering our commitment to leading aviation down the greenest path available,” said APP Jet Center CEO Dan Harrow.

APP said that it continues to offer 100LL avgas, a leaded fuel required by high-performance engines and aircraft, representing an estimated 30% of the U.S. piston-engine fleet.

Swift Fuels, based in West Lafayette, Indiana, is the sole producer of UL94 unleaded avgas, which it says is FAA-approved for use in 70% of the U.S. piston fleet. The company announced its plan to expand the supply of the premium unleaded fuel product in California during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2021. It reports that UL94 is available at 29 airports and among 42 private users. The fuel is used at two events—EAA AirVenture Ultralight Runway and the Midwest LSA Expo—and by the University of North Dakota and Purdue University flight schools.

“At Swift Fuels, we recently expanded our UL94 avgas supply chain network to give consumers confidence in our continuing ability to fulfill their ongoing demand for our unleaded avgas products,” the company said in February. “We operate over 500,000 gallons of revolving fuel throughput capacity along with a network of railcars supplying avgas. Our plan is to expand this in the future with additional operating sites in strategic locations. We already work with all major fuel distributors/ suppliers, including World Fuel, Avfuel, Titan, Epic, Phillips 66 and others.”

The company is also working toward an FAA supplemental type certification (STC) and ASTM product specification for Swift 100R, a high-octane unleaded fuel it expects to begin supplying to customers later this year. Under a “Forever Avgas STC” program Swift is offering, pilots can receive all past and future avgas certification documents and placards for their aircraft for $100 through at least Dec. 31.

The FAA authorized the use of General Aviation Modifications Inc.’s (GAMI) G100UL 100-octane unleaded fuel across piston-engine aircraft types by STC in September 2022. GAMI, based in Ada, Oklahoma, is currently taking applications from operators for G100UL STCs, which are required for each engine as well as the airframe (see stc.g100ul.com). The company expects G100UL will become more widely available in 2024, beginning with flight schools.

Bill Carey

Based in Washington, D.C., Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.