Santa Monica Airport Moves To UL94 Avgas

Santa Monica Airport
The self-service fuel station at Santa Monica Airport.
Credit: Aeroplex Group Partners

City-owned Santa Monica Airport (SMO) in southern California now offers Swift Fuels UL94 unleaded avgas as an alternative to 100LL low-lead fuel for piston-engine aircraft, the project manager announced.

Swift UL94 is available at a self-service station located at the southwest corner of the airfield, said aviation consulting and project management firm Aeroplex Group Partners. SMO is the first airport in the region to offer a replacement option for 100LL avgas at commercially competitive prices, the firm said March 28.

“We are excited to spearhead an effort that will not only enable the Santa Monica Airport to provide environmentally safe aviation fuel for piston aircraft but will also encourage other California airports to collaborate on opportunities to create similar supply options,” said Curt Castagna, Aeroplex Group Partners president and CEO. “This serves as a first step in an evolutionary process to deploy a 100% ‘unleaded’ alternative drop-in replacement aviation gasoline that will eliminate the need for toxic lead in avgas altogether.”

A “drop-in-ready” replacement fuel, UL94 satisfies the minimum octane requirements of 125,000 aircraft, or 66% of the U.S. piston fleet, according to Swift Fuels, based in West Lafayette, Indiana. The company says its goal is to fully replace 100LL avgas with a 100-octane unleaded fuel by the end of 2023.

The FAA and aviation industry stakeholders in February announced the Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions (EAGLE) initiative, with the goal of developing a “blanket replacement” for leaded avgas with no supplemental type certification requirements by 2030. Swift UL94 is among available alternatives for 100LL avgas but its use requires submission to the FAA of a Form 337 (Major Repair and Alteration of an Airframe, Powerplant, Propeller or Appliance) and installation of an FAA-authorized fuel placard by an A&P mechanic.

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.