The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) last month issued a report that examined the effect that rising fuel prices have had on civil aviation in the U.S. The government’s interest lies in the excise taxes imposed on the sale of aviation fuel and their contribution to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which was created in 1970 as a dedicated source of funding for the nation’s aviation system including the FAA’s capital improvement programs and a sizable portion of the agency’s operating budget.
The FAA selected four unleaded aviation fuels yesterday for the first phase of testing at the agency’s William J. Hughes Technical Center. The goal is for government and industry to work together to have a new unleaded fuel ready for general aviation use by 2018. Shell and Total, with one fuel each, and Swift Fuels, with two fuels, will now work with the FAA on phase-one testing, which will begin this fall and conclude later next year.
One-hundred octane low-lead avgas (100LL) is on its way out. Despite the fact that studies by the Environmental Protection Agency have failed to demonstrate a clearly higher risk attributable to lead emissions by piston-engine 100LL-burning aircraft, lead is poisonous in any concentration.
Atlantic FuelEx has been appointed as a member of the steering committee of the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO). The Dubai-based company is the first fuel reseller to be appointed to the group, which is focused on improving the reliability and quality of fuel supplies to carriers in the region.
Egypt’s Nesma Airlines, which operates two leased Airbus A320-200s, has announced a change of lubricant manufacturer as it seeks to combat the hot desert conditions involved in flying in the Middle East.
Three years ago, Nesma started using Air BP Lubricants’s High Performance Capable Turbine Oil 2197. According to Air BP Lubricants, “The recommendation to switch oils came from the aircraft’s former operator, who had previously experienced the added benefits of using BPTO 2197 in other aircraft.”
Engineered Propulsion Systems (EPS) is preparing two recently purchased Cirrus SR22s as flying testbeds for its clean-sheet design Vision 350 diesel aero engine. One of the airplanes is located at EPS’s New Richmond, Wis. headquarters, while the other is being prepared for flight testing in a hangar at the Mojave airport in California. The engine is on display outside the Innovation Pavilion at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, mounted to an SR22 firewall.
I remember well that night 17 years ago when TWA Flight 800 exploded and crashed off the coast of Long Island, killing all aboard. I was settling down with some friends at my brother’s Manhattan apartment to watch a game between the Red Sox and their arch-rival Yankees when the game broadcast was interrupted by news that an airliner had crashed soon after takeoff from JFK International.
Robinson Helicopter revealed its intention to obtain approval to operate its R44 and R22 piston-engine helicopters on unleaded fuel this week at Heli-Expo. According to Robinson CEO Kurt Robinson, engine maker Lycoming needs to obtain FAA approval to burn unleaded fuels in its engines while Robinson must perform airframe testing with the fuels on board for each of its relevant helicopter models.
As the cost of jet-A creeps ever upwards, the price last month at several Washington, D.C.-area airport FBOs hovered near $9 per gallon. Signature Flight Support, the lone provider at Reagan National Airport, posted a pump price of $9.18 a gallon, which was still less than the $9.24 per gallon it listed in early March 2011.
The first 100-percent civil biofuel flight, conducted on October 29 in a Falcon 20, showed that the fuel is cleaner and just as efficient as conventional jet-A, according to results released by the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada. Information collected in flight and analyzed by the NRC revealed a 50-percent reduction in aerosol emissions.
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