Imperial Oil has updated the avgas situation and has found some hopeful signs but is still recommending that fuel received between Dec. 28 and Feb. 13 not be used. The good news is that the fuel is unlikely to have caused any performance issues other than interference with fuel gauge sensors for those who have put it in their aircraft. Here is what Imperial had to say.
The company continues to work around the clock to understand the issue and explore interim supply solutions for customers.
Imperial has confirmed that avgas already lifted from Imperial’s Nanaimo, B.C. and Winnipeg, Man., terminals has no issues.
Otherwise, we are working on three potential solutions and will seek your input on these. Here is what they are:
Scenario 1 – Best Case Scenario: Investigation indicates some delivered product cleared fit-for-use;
Scenario 2 – Blending; Investigation indicates the issue can be resolved by blending the off-spec with additional product;
Scenario 3 – Pump out and replace fuel in inventory.
As we communicated previously, the concern about this avgas is that as a result of the product quality issue, interference could occur with onboard fuel gauge sensors. We do not suspect potential for other performance issues. Until Imperial’s understanding of the issue improves and the most appropriate resupply options are identified, Imperial continues to advise to not use or distribute the product.
Transport Canada has issued the following nation-wide NOTAM:
180001 CYHQ NATIONAL
CYHQ POTENTIAL QUALITY ISSUE OF FUEL 100LL (JET A NOT AFFECTED)
DISTRIBUTED BY IMPERIAL OIL (EXTENT UNKNOWN)
VERIFY LOCALLY FOR AVBL
1802160008 TIL APRX 1802231800
Avgas supplies across the country delivered since late December have been quarantined, forcing retailers to temporarily halt sales. During the quality control process, it was discovered the conductivity level of the fuel did not meet specifications. The quarantine means that many FBOs and airport fuel suppliers have closed their avgas pumps until a solution to the problem is found. FlightFuels spokesman Craig Tanselli told COPA Flight the problem originated with the Edmonton Esso refinery that produces all the avgas for the whole country. He said his company is checking inventories to see if there is any unaffected avgas that they can sell but for the time being there are no avgas sales. Many airports have issued NOTAMs advising they cannot sell avgas. Jet fuel is not affected. Several airports who received their fuel prior to December 28, 2017 are reporting that their supply has been tested and found to be within specifications. COPA is monitoring the situation and will provide updates as they become available.
COPA Supports 100LL Replacement
Since 2014, COPA and other stakeholders have been collaborating on research by the National Research Council (NRC) of Ottawa to study the effectiveness of a drop-in 100LL replacement fuel in the Canadian context. Phases 1 and 2 of the project are complete, and Phase 3 – fuel testing in the NRC’s altitude chamber – is expected to be completed this year. The NRC is testing the candidate fuels in a variety of piston engine test rigs, as well as in their Harvard Mk. IV.
COPA’s contribution to the project is made possible thanks to the Freedom to Fly Fund which supports initiatives that impact general aviation in Canada on a national or regional scale. To date, the Fund has supported several high-profile projects, including the landmark Supreme Court decision upholding the federal purview to regulate aeronautics and the recent battle over wind turbines in close vicinity to aerodromes in Southern Ontario.