The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), along with other industry stakeholders, has committed to phase out lead usage in aviation fuel for piston-engine aircraft by the end of 2030.

In addition to the FAA, this move involves the Environmental Protection Agency, airports, engine and aircraft manufacturers, as well as fuel suppliers and distributors.

Research institutions, associations, communities, environmental experts, along with other key stakeholders, are also part of the move.

This initiative will be based on four pillars of action.

First, the FAA and other stakeholders will work on developing commercially feasible unleaded fuels and related infrastructures, along with effective distribution channels.

They will also support research and development (R&D) and testing of piston engine modifications for unleaded fuel operations and focus on technology development such as electric/hybrid engines to facilitate the transition.

The initiative will continue to assess, trial and qualify high-octane aviation unleaded fuels.

Plans are on to launch relevant policies for the move to unleaded aviation fuel.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will issue a proposal for public review this year, with plans to take action in 2023.

As the EPA issues rules on piston-engine fleet’s lead emissions, the FAA would release regulations to certify piston engine modifications.

Welcoming the partnership, General Aviation Manufacturer Association (GAMA) president and CEO Pete Bunce said: “The EAGLE public-private partnership will ensure coordination of a safe and reliable transition to an unleaded future state for piston-engine aircraft.”

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) president and CEO Mark Baker added: “Joining together in a broad coalition to reinforce our commitment and outlining the plan to get there, is a very positive step forward. We look forward to making good progress under the EAGLE banner.”