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Swift solution to leaded gas rolls out on Pacific coast
Communities across the US now know that piston aircraft are responsible for 70 per cent of toxic lead emissions reported to the EPA. Swift Fuels, along with a number of US airports, is leading the fightback.
Read this story in our September 2021 printed issue.

Swift Fuels, a developer in the commercialisation of unleaded aviation gasoline, has announced the expansion of its high-performance UL94 unleaded Avgas product into the US Pacific coast corridor. This action will provide commercially viable fuel opportunities for dozens of airfields across California to access UL94 unleaded Avgas. The announcement came during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021, during which Swift Fuels was celebrating the sixth anniversary of it providing UL94 unleaded Avgas to piston aircraft pilots nationwide.

For some county regulators concerned for their community's health, this announcement could not have come soon enough, as the National Academies of Science recently released its latest study that indicates: “Small gasoline-powered aircraft are the single largest emitter of lead in the United States, as other major emission sources such as automobile gasoline have been previously addressed. A highly toxic substance that can result in an array of negative health effects in humans, lead is added to aviation gasoline to meet the performance and safety requirements of a sizeable portion of the country's gasoline-powered aircraft. When emitted from aircraft exhaust, lead can be inhaled by people living near and working at airports.”

Dan DeMeo, CEO of Rabbit Aviation Services at San Carlos airport, says: “General aviation needs a piston fuel alternative that ensures a future that does not include toxic lead. Working with our airport management and elected county supervisors, we drafted the first agreement to supply a lead-free avgas alternative in the state of California, and it's imperative that others support this critical effort. Swift Fuels' UL94 unleaded Avgas solves the issues brought by tetraethyl lead and ethylene dibromide by eliminating toxicity and engine corrosion caused by lead, eliminating lead-fouled spark plugs and at least doubling the oil change intervals versus those required for 100LL. Our pilots and our community see a large positive benefit to using UL94.”

Statewide consideration in California continues to grow among municipal airports. Rayvon Williams, director, Watsonville Municipal Airport, comments: “We've conducted multiple surveys of our Watsonville based owners, operators and SASOs, along with pilots at surrounding airports, and there is demand for UL94 unleaded Avgas in our area across a wide range of aircraft. Taking a leadership position by offering Swift Fuels' UL94 to our tenants and itinerant visitors will be a 'win-win' on multiple fronts both for the improved aircraft operation and the environment.”

Swift Fuels CEO Chris D'Acosta adds: “Our UL94 is the only commercially-available unleaded Avgas in the US. It's sold nationwide, it's commercially insured for aviation, and frankly pilots who use it love it. Dan DeMeo has been a champion of this effort for the past five years, urging many local community leaders to join the nationwide movement toward unleaded Avgas. Our multi-year initiative to educate the market on the dangers of lead and the benefits of unleaded Avgas can only happen with the ongoing support of forward-thinking regulators, aircraft/engine OEMs, pilots, airports, municipalities, airport boards and supply chain folks. Industry leaders like Dan and those in the Santa Clara County area have begun taking action in recognition of the demand for cleaner fuel options for their customers, and they continue to play an integral role in the transition. Swift Fuels has been collaborating with hundreds of pilots in counties across California for months to make this expansion plan come about. From a pilot's perspective alone, they value the longer maintenance intervals, less wear-and-tear on engines, less corrosion and longer spark plug life, etc. We are extremely proud to have our UL94 Avgas available for piston aircraft to serve customers and communities across the California marketplace and play a role to eliminate lead toxicity.”

Communities across the US now know that piston aircraft are responsible for 70 per cent of toxic lead emissions reported to the EPA. Over 130,000 aircraft are already FAA-authorised to use Swift Fuels' UL94 unleaded Avgas as a ‘drop-in ready’ fuel, representing 66 per cent of the US piston fleet.

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