FAA Approves Use of Very Low Lead Fuel

New 100VLL grade developed to meet stricter EPA lead requirements.

The FAA has issued a Special Airworthiness Bulletin approving a new aviation fuel – 100VLL (very low lead) – for use in aircraft that currently run on 100LL.

The approval resulted from collaboration with industry partners that evaluated data supporting the incorporation of grade 100VLL avgas into current specifications. The new fuel is identical to 100LL in all respects, except that the maximum lead content is reduced by about 19 percent, the FAA said.

Testing has determined that 100VLL meets all of the performance requirements of grades 80, 91, 100 and 100LL, and will perform identically in existing aircraft and engines. The fuel also has the same minimum octane rating and provides the same level of anti-knock performance as 100LL avgas. Both 100VLL avgas and 100LL avgas will appear identical.

The hope is that the 100VLL specification can be used to meet the EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for lead. The EPA has ordered states to monitor air quality, including within the vicinity of 15 airports, to determine where lead levels may be above the NAAQS standard.