AVGAS LAWSUITS DIFFER ON GOALS
Both efforts ignore past progress, current efforts
WITHIN THE PAST TWO MONTHS, two separate notices have been filed
advising of future lawsuits regarding the use of lead in aviation fuel,
most specifically 100LL used by the bulk of GA aircraft. EAA is well
aware of these notices and is working with the GA community and
federal agencies on the appropriate responses.
The latest notice was released on May 27 by the environmental
activist group Friends of the Earth. The group states it will file suit
against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish
lead emissions standards on avgas, with an ultimate goal to eliminate
leaded aviation fuel.
Earlier this spring, the California-based Center for Environmental
Health gave notice that it would sue fuel retailers and suppliers in
that state for distributing leaded fuel, which it claims is in violation of
California’s drinking water and toxic enforcement laws. This notice
has been sent to dozens of aviation businesses, large and small, that
sell 100LL as well as the major fuel suppliers in that state.
EAA, as a member of the FAA’s General Aviation Avgas Coalition,
continues to work in a unified manner with aviation and petroleum
groups to find a 100LL replacement that can work for the entire GA
fleet. Friends of the Earth, in fact, was invited to participate in the
Coalition and help find a solution, but declined to do so.
While ethanol-free, unleaded auto fuel is available for thousands
of GA aircraft, it is not a complete answer. In addition, Congress
has mandated ethanol for use in auto fuel and even staunch aviation
supporters on Capitol Hill see no reversal of that mandate. EAA
continues its effort to ensure that at least premium grades of auto
fuel remain ethanol-free and available in all states.
The notice of future lawsuits also ignores the fact that finding a
replacement fuel is a long-term solution. Aviators should not panic
that 100LL will disappear in the short term. EPA and FAA are aware
that adequate fuel supplies must be available for GA.
SAFETY STARTS WITH EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US
By Sean Elliott, EAA Vice President, Industry & Regulatory Affairs
IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE we are more than
halfway through 2011 already. Summer is
in full swing and flying season is underway.
So how is the experimental amateur-built
(E-AB) community doing with its safety
record? The answer to that question is both
complicated and telling.
According to accident statistics, this year
there have been fewer fatal experimental
aircraft accidents than in recent years. The
experimental aircraft fatal accident rate has
been tracking, on average, five to eight fewer
accidents per month than in 2010.
Is that significant? The answer is yes and
no. The “yes” answer comes from the fact
that the E-AB community is growing in size.
Registered E-AB aircraft have exceeded
30,000 aircraft nationwide. This is at a time
when standard category aircraft are actually
decreasing in numbers. The vibrancy within
the E-AB community is something that is
badly needed in GA right now. Having this
kind of growth and a reduction in accidents
is certainly a good thing.
The “no” answer is due to the fact that
E-ABs still have a significantly higher
fatal accident rate than standard category
aircraft. Further, we have only watched this
downtick in E-AB accidents over the past
six months and, statistically, it may just be
The bottom line is that we all have
ownership in improving safety. EAA is about
to embark on significant enhancements to
its safety programs and initiatives. You can
do your part as well. Attend a local safety
seminar. Do your flight review more often
than just every two years. Learn from the
mistakes of others and share the mistakes
that you have learned from. We are all in
this together and only collectively can we
ensure the future freedoms we cherish in