Arizona Startup To Produce Unleaded Aviation Gasoline

Ethanol-free gas could power most piston models.

Symphony Aircraft Lycoming
Symphony Aircraft Lycoming

An Arizona company called Airworthy AutoGas said it plans to start production of a high-purity, low-vapor-pressure 93 octane unleaded aviation gasoline this fall that could replace 100LL avgas in about 80 percent of piston airplanes.

“A growing number of general aviation aircraft do not require 100LL avgas or a 100 octane unleaded drop-in replacement,” noted Mark Ellery, Airworthy’s director of business development. “That, coupled with the scarcity of suitable ethanol-free automotive gasoline in the marketplace, resulted in the development of Airworthy AutoGas.”

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to eliminate, or at least reduce, lead in aviation gasoline. The FAA has constructed a roadmap to create 100LL alternatives without compromising the airworthiness of piston aircraft. The FAA started the Unleaded AVGAS Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (UAT ARC) in January 2011 to investigate and prioritize the issues relating to the transition to an unleaded replacement for 100LL avgas.

Ethanol-free automotive gasoline used to be widely available for airplanes that didn’t require 100LL, but the formulations have changed dramatically in recent years. More stringent air quality and renewable fuel regulations, for example, have resulted in increases in the use of ethanol as an emissions-reducing oxygenate. Airworthy’s gasoline will contain no ethanol. The company says it will use a patent pending formulation that meets or exceeds the requirements of ASTM D4814, Lycoming Engine’s SI-1070 “S” specifications and the numerous autogas supplemental type certificates.