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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.
Stakeholder groups commit to lead-free transition
The transition to lead-free aviation must be done in a smart, safe and compatible way, so that it works for the entire GA fleet. US aviation and petroleum groups hope to make good progress under the EAGLE banner.
Members of EAGLE, the Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions initiative.

Leaders of US aviation and petroleum groups have recently committed to an initiative laying out a clear plan to transition piston-engine aircraft to lead-free aviation fuels by the end of 2030.

The Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions (EAGLE) initiative calls for an industry and government partnership to expand and accelerate the actions and policies necessary for a viable high-octane unleaded replacement for the current 100 octane low-lead aviation gasoline (100LL), without compromising the existing US transportation infrastructure system, aviation safety and the economic and broader public benefits of general aviation.

“The future of light general aviation depends on moving away from leaded fuels," says GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. "To accomplish this imperative, it is important to note that our industry, as well as the industry providing our avgas, are united in partnering with the FAA to advance a sustainable future. The EAGLE public-private partnership will ensure coordination of a safe and reliable transition to an unleaded future state for piston-engine aircraft. GAMA's manufacturing and maintenance companies look forward to working with the FAA, industry colleagues and other stakeholders to carry out this challenging and ambitious initiative. EAGLE will be the enabler for meeting our environment goals while keeping aviation safety, as well as the broader economic and public benefits provided by general aviation, at the forefront.”

The FAA hosted an industry stakeholder roundtable meeting in November 2021 to discuss a strategic plan toward an unleaded avgas future, culminating in the establishment of the EAGLE initiative, which is structured around four key pillars: Regulatory and Policy; Unleaded Fuel Testing and Qualification; Research and Development; and Business Infrastructure and Implementation. These activities, which will require full government support, provide the foundation toward safe unleaded aviation fuels for piston-engine aircraft. Industry stakeholders and the FAA will begin working on the EAGLE initiative right away with a partnership symposium, to define a detailed work plan, planned for March.

FAA administrator Steve Dickson pledged the FAA's support of the initiative's collaborative partnership: “This is a safe and practical path to a lead-free aviation system. We look forward to starting this new partnership with aviation stakeholders to achieve this important goal.”

Groups committed to the EAGLE initiative include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), American Petroleum Institute (API), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

“Environmental stewardship is a high priority for airport executives, and AAAE is pleased to join with FAA and our partners in the general aviation industry to chart a path forward to a lead-free future for aviation fuel,” says AAAE president and CEO Todd Hauptli. “The EAGLE initiative sets a meaningful goal that will benefit the environment, public health and the future of general aviation, which plays such an important role in communities across the country and to the national economy. We look forward to working with the government and our industry partners to make the promises of EAGLE a reality.”

“We welcome the opportunity to partner with the FAA and general aviation industry to develop an achievable pathway that safely transitions piston-engine aircraft to unleaded aviation fuels. The EAGLE public-private partnership brings together the critical cross-section of industry and government expertise that will be necessary to succeed in this complex undertaking. We look forward being a part of this collaborative effort to deliver a solution that ensures general aviators continued access to the safe and reliable fuels while strengthening environmental progress,” adds API VP of downstream policy Ron Chittim.

“The EAGLE initiative brings together stakeholders dedicated to advancing a sustainable future for general aviation. It is imperative that we safely transition piston-engine aircraft to lead-free aviation fuel by the end of 2030. This initiative is the right thing to do for the environment and the economic health of our industry. Helicopter Association International is committed to this partnership and applauds the broad public-private partnership that has come together enabling industry and government to accelerate a solution. The vertical flight industry is eager to work with all stakeholders to move the EAGLE initiative forward,” says HAI president and CEO James Viola.

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