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A new legal challenge is being faced by general aviation with one US state government warning that it might ban the sale of Avgas and no drop-in substitute available for piston-powered aircraft for at least a couple of years.
The move to prohibit the use of Avgas by the Center for Environmental Health of California is being opposed collectively by the general aviation industry.
Michael Craft, senior vice-president of Lycoming and chairman of the unleaded Avgas transition committee, said that federal jurisdiction rules are definitely going to trump the attempt of California to rid its airspace of one of the major sources of leaded fuel.
Nevertheless, Craft admitted that the legal challenge put forward by the state is “distracting” the industry, as well as the federal officials, from carrying on with their efforts to enable a smooth transition to unleaded Avgas.
Lycoming, along with other general aviation manufacturers, support the shift to an unleaded substitute to standard 100LL Avgas. However, the industry is not all set to make that transition for at least a couple of years.
The issue has been on the rise for the past twenty years as the piston-powered aviation sector has become the biggest source of lead emissions in the world.
In a 2002 Environmental Protection Agency study, around 45% of lead emissions are reportedly caused by leaded Avgas.
This information was already noted by airframe manufacturers. When the new 4-seat C4 piston-single was launched earlier this year by Flight Design, the company asked engine suppliers to incorporate a transition route to unleaded Avgas.