The FAA the other day released a request for alternate fuels to test in what it hopes will be an accelerated adoption of an unleaded avgas into the GA fleet. It's aiming for five years. I'll bet my house that won't happen.
In any case, upon the announcement, alphabet groups rose as if as one to applaud the move by the FAA to take the initiative to do something about the 100LL problem.
It is a problem, though it is by nature far more of a political problem than an environmental one.
By now you’ve probably heard that the FAA wants the Experimental Aircraft Association to foot the cost for air traffic controllers at this summer’s EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin – to the tune of about $500,000. Not surprisingly, EAA is hopping mad. In a normal year this request would be ludicrous. After all, pilots who buy fuel to fly to Oshkosh pay for ATC services in the form of the 19.4-cent-per-gallon tax on avgas.
You’ve probably read reports about innocent pilots arriving at their destinations after long cross-country flights only to be greeted by squadrons of police agents — from local cops to Homeland Security and who knows what other agencies — to search and question them as though they were under arrest.
10. EBACE (European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition), LABACE (Latin America), ABACE (Asian) and for our North American edition, it'll soon be just... BACE? Why not USBASE? NABACE? Regardless, the rebranding of NBAA, a known commodity for more than 50 editions (not all of which I’ve had the pleasure of attending) as BACE is coming this year. It took me about 5 years to start calling Jeffco by its new name — Rocky Mountain something — and about that same length of time to start calling Oshkosh “AirVenture,” something I still regularly slip up on.
No doubt you’ve heard by now that Icon Aircraft is asking the FAA for an exemption to LSA weight rules for the company’s sleek Icon A5 light sport amphibian. Specifically, the company is seeking a 250-pound max gross weight increase above the LSA limit of 1,430 pounds. Without the exemption, it’s unlikely the A5 can enter production in its current form, at least anytime soon.
There aren’t many of our readers who are likely to go out and buy a Gulfstream G650 at $60-million-plus per copy, but there are a few, and those few are most likely going to find themselves not in the left or right seat but in one of the seats in back, doing business, spending time with the family or just kicking up their heels and enjoying the ride.
The FAA’s handling of a variety of prickly issues from the planned closures of scores of contract control towers to the hotly anticipated Part 23 rewrite to the up-in-the-air fate of leaded aviation gasoline will affect general aviation in important ways for years to come. Get the Part 23 rewrite right, and we could witness a resurgence in GA flying; get it wrong, and we might inadvertently put the industry into a graveyard spiral.
For as long as airplanes have been around, pilots have held a number of beliefs about them that are out of line with reality, which is an alarming fact given that pilots are the ones responsible for making sure a flight goes well and ends well.