A Different Perspective: Views from the Aviation Industry
Citizens who are affected by the noise, pollution, and safety concerns that stem from air traffic overhead have a significant stake in these issues. However, they are not the only ones who have these concerns. Below is a selection of readings from the perspective of pilots, regulators, and other aviation industry experts and insiders.
Leaders See Need for More
Get the Lead Out! Looking at the Future of Avgas
By Paul Cianciolo, FAA Safety Briefing Associate Editor
"The FAA shares the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) concerns about lead emissions from small aircraft. More than 167,000 piston-engine aircraft operating in the United States rely on avgas. Lead is a toxic substance that can be inhaled or absorbed in the bloodstream, and emissions from avgas have become the largest contributor to the relatively low levels of lead emissions produced in this country."
Read the original article here.
AV Web: Going to the Moon Was Easy Compared To 100UL
"The EPA, you may recall, already has health-risk data and some of it is presented in the report. This has been the basis for the long-awaited Finding of Endangerment that would lead to rulemaking to force the issue for aviation. Without that ruling, the industry has simply had no incentive to get serious about an unleaded fuel, especially one that might require airframe, engine or fuel farm upgrades. Even minimal ones. And one that will certainly cost a little more."
"The NA data identifies runups as a major contributor to lead pollution. It recommends airports move runup areas away from where they might impact people likely to breathe the lead particulates. Not a bad suggestion, but I don’t know how practical it is."
"the report says widespread use of 100VLL would reduce aviation lead pollution by 20 to 40 percent if combined with more use of UL94."
"As have other researchers, the NA report estimates that up to 68 percent of the GA fleet could burn UL94, a lower-octane fuel that also has ASTM approval...The researchers recognize that widespread distribution of UL94 is unlikely because airports don’t want to invest in the tankage and owners aren’t demanding this grade of fuel. "
"In the end, the overarching reason we don’t have an unleaded aviation fuel is lack of public policy propelled by the utter absence of will—political, regulatory, scientific and market will. I suspect you’re not clamoring for a lead-free fuel and neither am I. We don’t need, as NA recommends, more study and research. We need leadership and a determination to force this issue with unambiguous policy, not the matrix of half-steps NA offers as a kind of surrender in lieu of doing the right thing. If the unleaded fuel costs a little more or requires some replacement parts in fuel systems, so be it. We need to get this done. "
Read original article here.
Cutting Through All the Noise: How the FAA is Working to Reduce the Impact of Aircraft Noise
By Tom Hoffmann, FAA Safety Briefing Managing Editor
"Despite this favorable shift over time, a recent noise survey revealed a somewhat curious discovery. Data from the FAA’s Neighborhood Environmental Study (NES), which was released this past January, indicated a substantially higher percentage of people were “highly annoyed” over the entire range of aircraft noise levels, including those at lower levels (below DNL 65 dBA)."
"It’s worth noting that the single most influential factor in reducing aircraft noise exposure has been the transition to quieter aircraft over the years through stringent noise standards."
"Additionally, the agency continuously reviews air traffic procedures across the country to find ways to reduce aircraft noise while maintaining safety. For example, we’re already seeing noise (and fuel) benefits from the use of idle thrust approaches and narrower flight paths with performance-based navigation procedures for both commercial and general aviation operations."
Read original article here.
When Will We See Unleaded AvGas? Why getting lead out of aviation fuel won't be easy or cheap.
Rob Mark, Flyingmag.com
"The dangers posed by lead’s carcinogenic toxicity, whether it’s inhaled or absorbed into the bloodstream, have been well-known for decades. Lead is particularly harmful to children during their developmental years. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began discussing a total ban on lead in automobile gasoline back in the mid-1980s and outlawed the heavy metal in all fuel sold in the United States nearly 25 years ago, with one exception: aviation gasoline, or avgas.
General aviation’s need for a high-octane fuel to power high-compression piston engines required avgas makers to add tetraethyl lead before delivery to prevent damaging engine knock, or detonation, that could result in engine damage. The higher the octane rating, the better the chances the fuel can be compressed without detonation. The FAA recently estimated that nearly 170,000 aircraft operate today on 100 low lead (LL) fuel, burning 150 to 175 million gallons annually.
Tim Roehl, president of Ada, Oklahoma-based GAMI, a company that is creating an unleaded aviation fuel, says that’s about “one-tenth of 1 percent of what the fuel companies sell for automobiles, a tiny part of their revenue,” and it highlights why big fuel companies might have little motivation to alter their businesses to solve the problem.
The FAA clearly realizes that avgas emissions have become the largest contributor to the relatively low levels of lead emissions produced in the United States. An FAA unleaded avgas transition aviation rule-making committee (UAT ARC) found in 2012 that "petitions and potential litigation from environmental organizations regarding lead-containing avgas have called for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to consider regulatory actions to eliminate or reduce lead emissions from aircraft." In 2010, the EPA published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking against piston-engine powerplants using leaded avgas, although no action was immediately taken. The temporary reprieve for 100LL apparently occurred after the FAA agreed to begin the search for an alternative fuel, although the agency acknowledged a hurdle to the process. "No market-driven reason exists to move to a replacement fuel due to the limited size of the avgas market, diminishing demand, the specialty nature of avgas, [and the] safety, liability and the investment expense involved in a comprehensive approval and deployment process."
Read original article here.