EPA sets sights on general aviation aircraft

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Rhino

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Brünner

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Hate to say it but....told ya so.

 

Rhino

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Not to steal your thunder, but has there been anyone who hasn't said that? We all knew it was coming. It's just the timeframe that isn't known.
 

Aviacs

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If FAA changed the paperwork (for those without STC's), how many piston airplanes actually require leaded fuel anyway? Have to say i'm in favor of that one. There's no good reason to build or re-build an engine these days that is tetra-ethyl lead dependent. Plus, being the only market for leaded fuel, with lead-free options developed and in the pipeline, leaded avgas is going to die out anyway.

smt
 

Hot Wings

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For some of us this could actually be good news. If 100LL goes away that leaves a set of tanks at the fuel farm that need to be filled with something. At our field that would likely be auto fuel as the gallons used for aircraft that now, or could, use auto fuel is greater than the gallons of fuel used by strictly 100LL aircraft. That includes transients. Auto fuel is available to fill the void now, rather than some distant time when the STC free fuel is generally available.

Of course the owners of those strictly 100LL craft won't like the change and have more political pull than owners of lower performance planes. $$$s in overall profit will win.
 

Rhino

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Our limitation isn't tanks. It's Shell Oil Co., whose agreement with our airport prohibits anyone from selling auto fuel on the field. Otherwise there's several people who'd love to do it, and quite a few pilots who'd like to see Shell do it. But they refuse to.
 

Vigilant1

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Our limitation isn't tanks. It's Shell Oil Co., whose agreement with our airport prohibits anyone from selling auto fuel on the field.
The agreement certainly has an end date. What's Shell's interest, they sell 100LL and Jet A at the field? Any other suppliers available in your area (Phillips 66, ExxonMobile)?

Unless Shell has compromising photos of the airport board, it would seem they can/should be investigating alternatives. OTOH, it is my impression that, at least at public airports, there's sometimes not a lot of initiative and willingness to change the status quo.
 

Rhino

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There are other suppliers around, but Shell got the contract. One of my neighbors was a board member at the time, and she said the other vendors had the same restriction. They simply will not allow competition.
 

edwisch

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There's significant, major differences between avgas and autofuel besides lead. And rebuilding an airplane engine so it doesn't need lead -- how? What's your solution?
 

Aviacs

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And rebuilding an airplane engine so it doesn't need lead -- how? What's your solution?
Lead is a contaminent in most engines & for spark plugs.
Once the octane problem is managed by other means, lead has no purpose in an IC engine. There are some soft exhaust valve-seat combinations which have historically been understood to work better with lead in engines that are typically operated over 3,500 rpm, or at constant high HP; but that is by no means a universal conclusion. My understanding and anecdotal experience are that many small aircraft engines have fewer problems with stuck valves and exhaust seat erosion when they are operated on unleaded Mogas most of the time. AFAIk all aircraft exhaust valve seats are inserts. So changing seats at cylinder rebuild, if determined to be a factor for running unleaded, is not necessarily an extreme situation. There are additives for engines presumed to "need" lead, that are less pernicious.

smt
 

gtae07

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On the one hand, I'm concerned that such a finding may well be used as a chance to twist the knife by those who just don't like us or our airplanes, regardless of any environmental impacts they may or may not have.

On the other hand, maybe it'll light a fire under someone's rear end to finally approve and/or distribute the approved alternative fuels.

On the gripping hand, I'm setting my RV up to be compatible with E10 mogas...

There's significant, major differences between avgas and autofuel besides lead. And rebuilding an airplane engine so it doesn't need lead -- how? What's your solution?
As noted:
Lead is a contaminent in most engines & for spark plugs.
Once the octane problem is managed by other means, lead has no purpose in an IC engine.
Outside of perhaps valve seats on a handful of certain engines, there are already fuels out there of sufficient octane rating and performance to be full drop-in replacements for 100LL. The approval was by blanket STC rather than full approval because apparently the density is a couple percent higher than for 100LL and that slightly changes the W&B calculations. But there's no engine performance changes.

Now if you're talking about running lower octane, that depends on the engine. Some engines might be happy as-is, some might need lower-compression pistons.

Some of us are also planning on (or running) E10 gas from the corner gas station. Considerations there include not only the lower octane, but use of ethanol-tolerant materials (seals, gaskets, hoses, fuel tanks, etc) and more caution with the fuel system to prevent vapor lock at high temperatures and/or altitudes.
 

Aviacs

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Just take your average goat piss unleaded toss in some Marvel Mystery oil and fly
You can of course try that option in your (Experimental).
I hope no one else takes quite that loose an approach, generally.
Report back?

smt
 

12notes

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It makes sense to force the few that need an additive to put it in themselves then force everybody to have (and pay for) an additive in their fuel they don't need and is harmful.

Although I think switching to unleaded will probably lead to less pilots ultimately. I have a theory that it's the lead inhaled from burning avgas that makes us pilots stupid enough to keep spending the absurd amount of money this hobby demands. Take away the lead and we might have been smart enough to quit way before we burned through that much cash.
 

12notes

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Also, the FAA Administrator gets a say in the EPA emission standards. Here's the relevant law cited in the EPA documents: (Where it says "Administrator" in this section by itself, it is referring to the EPA Administrator)

"(A)
The Administrator shall, from time to time, issue proposed emission standards applicable to the emission of any air pollutant from any class or classes of aircraft engines which in his judgment causes, or contributes to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.
(B)
(i) The Administrator shall consult with the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration on aircraft engine emission standards.
(ii) The Administrator shall not change the aircraft engine emission standards if such change would significantly increase noise and adversely affect safety."

Excerpt from:

 
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