AvFuel Declares Support For GAMI Unleaded Avgas
Leading independent fuel supplier AvFuel Corp. will help commercialize high-octane G100UL unleaded avgas developed by General Aviation Modifications Inc. (GAMI).
Ann Arbor, Michigan-based AvFuel declared its support of GAMI’s fuel, which can replace leaded avgas burned by piston-engine aircraft, on Sept. 2, the day after GAMI announced broad FAA authorization to use G100UL across the U.S. piston-aircraft fleet. General aviation industry associations applauded GAMI’s achievement but said they will continue their support of unleaded avgas alternatives being developed by other companies.
GAMI announced via industry association releases on Sept. 1 that the FAA had authorized using G100UL by supplemental type certificate (STC) “in every general spark-ignition engine and every airframe powered by those engines.” George Braly, co-founder of the Ada, Oklahoma-based engineering company, had previously indicated that AvFuel would support commercialization of G100UL following a development, testing and certification process dating to 2009.
Avfuel President and CEO Craig Sincock said his company will collaborate with GAMI on logistics and distribution of G100UL through its Avfuel Technology Initiatives Corp. (ATIC) subsidiary. Avfuel supplies a fueling network of 3,000 locations worldwide, including 650 Avfuel-branded FBOs.
“We look forward to working with GAMI and all industry stakeholders—producers, distributors, trade organizations, FBOs and airports—as we make unleaded fuel a reality by moving into the commercialization stage of this product,” Sincock said. “We encourage aviators to help this process by continuing to make their voices heard in support of unleaded avgas by communicating with their respective trade organizations.”
News of the FAA’s broad authorization of G100UL was accompanied by a cautionary statement from Deputy FAA Administrator A. Bradley Mims that the agency will require the fuel’s manufacturer to work with aircraft owners to track and report any unforeseen mechanical issues arising from its use. The FAA will also require the manufacturer to track its fuel deliveries to airports.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA), which represents FBOs and aviation service providers, said it expects that G100UL will be phased into the nation’s fueling infrastructure gradually, becoming more broadly available in 2024. Flight school California Aeronautical University in Bakersfield, California, has agreed with GAMI to be a volume launch customer, Braly told AVweb.
California in general will be emphasized for the fuel’s distribution because some municipalities there “have prematurely banned the sale of leaded avgas and threatened a safe and smart transition to unleaded [fuel],” says the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, referring to two airports in the San Jose area managed by Santa Clara County.
While applauding the broad authorization of G100UL, NATA said it will continue its support through the FAA-industry Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions (EAGLE) program of other high-octane unleaded fuels being advanced by industry partnerships of Phillips 66/Afton Chemical and VP-Racing/LyondellBasell, as well as by Swift Fuels through the STC process. The stated goal of the EAGLE initiative is to eliminate the use of leaded avgas by 2030.
“NATA is pleased to see this advancement toward an unleaded avgas future take shape,” said its President and CEO Curt Castagna. “As G100UL becomes commercially available over the next few years, we look forward to continuing to develop infrastructure support, resources and training for airports, FBOs and other refueling operators.”
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), which represents aircraft and engine manufacturers, issued a carefully worded congratulatory statement. GAMA said it, too, will continue supporting the GAMI and Swift Fuels unleaded avgas alternatives being advanced through the STC process and others being evaluated under the FAA’s Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative and EAGLE programs.
“Manufacturers look forward to having an opportunity to understand the composition and performance of this new fuel to support commercialization and use as a viable replacement for 100 low lead,” GAMA said of G100UL.
“Manufacturers understanding of a new fuel is essential to continued operational safety regulatory responsibilities and business activities such as customer technical support, warranty services and consideration of incorporating the new fuel in manufacturer-issued service and approval documents and new production engines and aircraft,” the association added.