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Project Information

Project Information


Lead Emissions from Piston-Powered General Aviation Aircraft


Project Scope:

The study of lead emissions from the consumption of aviation gasoline by piston-powered general aviation aircraft shall include an assessment of:
* Existing non-leaded fuel alternatives to the aviation gasoline used by piston-powered general aviation aircraft;
* Ambient lead concentrations at and around airports where piston-powered general aviation aircraft are used; and
* Mitigation measures to reduce ambient lead concentrations, including increasing the size of run-up areas, relocating run-up areas, imposing restrictions on aircraft using aviation gasoline, and increasing the use of motor gasoline in piston-powered general aviation aircraft.

As part of assessing mitigation measures, the committee will consider potential improvements in air quality near specific airports in relation to the maximum allowable lead concentration established for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The evaluation methods should be quantitative to the extent possible.    The committee is not asked to recommend the adoption of one or more mitigation measuresAs appropriate and based on available scientific and technical information, the committee will recommend near- and longer-term mitigation measures that warrant further consideration by federal agencies. In addition, it will identify priority research needs for reducing future lead emissions from piston engine aircraft.

Status: Current

PIN: TRB-CAAS-18-03

Project Duration (months): 12 month(s)

RSO: Wassel, Ray



Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

Committee Post Date: 10/09/2019

Amy R. Pritchett - (Chair)
Amy R. Pritchett, chair, is a professor and head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. Previously, Dr. Pritchett was on the faculty of the Schools of Aerospace Engineering and Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and she served via the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) as the director of NASA’s Aviation Safety Program for 2 years. Her research focuses on the intersection of technology, expert human performance, and aerospace operations, with a particular focus on designing to support safety. Dr. Pritchett’s research topics have included autonomous flight and unmanned aerial vehicles, vehicle dynamics and controls, and vehicle systems engineering. She is currently editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making. Dr. Pritchett has received the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award, the RTCA William Jackson Award, and, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, the 2008 Collier Trophy. She has served on many National Academies’ committees, including chair of the Committee for a Study of FAA Air Traffic Controller Staffing and as a member of the Committee on Assessing the Risks of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration, and Committee of the Federal Aviation Administration Research Plan on Certification of New Technologies into the National Airspace System. In addition, Dr. Pritchett served as a member of the National Academies’ Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. She is a licensed pilot in airplanes and sailplanes. Dr. Pritchett earned a ScD, SM, and SB in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT.
Brian J. German
Brian J. German is the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) Langley Associate Professor in the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is also the founding Director of the Georgia Tech Center for Urban and Regional Air Mobility (CURAM). Dr. German’s research involves aircraft design and optimization, including development of multidisciplinary optimization techniques. He also develops aerodynamic, propulsion, and performance models suitable for aircraft conceptual and preliminary design studies. A recent focus of his work has been aircraft design and operations for new forms of urban and regional air mobility, with emphasis on aircraft sizing, aerodynamics of distributed propulsion, battery and hybrid electric propulsion modeling, and operations research problems for innovative scheduled and on-demand air services. Dr. German is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He received a PhD, MS, and BS in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Jack D. Griffith
Jack D. Griffith is a Kenan Distinguished Professor in the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is best known for using high-resolution electron microscopy to visualize protein-DNA interactions. Using methods he developed, Dr. Griffith visualized the first defined DNA-protein complex, visualized nucleosomes for the first time where their DNA content could be calculated, and later demonstrated that the human telomere ends in large duplex loops. He has owned three single-engine gasoline-powered aircraft and is actively engaged in flying at the present time. Dr. Griffith grew up in Alaska and gained many years of general aviation experience as an “Alaskan bushpilot”. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and his other awards and honors, include the Herbert A. Sober award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Griffith received a PhD in biology from the California Institute of Technology.
Kimberly A. Kenville
Kimberly A. Kenville is a professor of aviation at the University of North Dakota, focusing on airport management. The university owns and operates more than 120 piston and turbine-powered aircraft and helicopters with training sties in North Dakota and Arizona. Previously, she worked for Detroit (DTW), Milwaukee (MKE) and Minneapolis airports in the airport operations department. Dr. Kenville has completed several TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) projects that pertain specifically to airports and their response and recovery to emergencies, social media, funding industrial aviation development, aviation education, strategic planning, and organizational effectiveness She currently chairs the ACRP Project Panel on Update Guidebook for Managing Small Airports and she is a member of the ACRP Oversight Committee. Dr, Kenville currently serves as chair of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, and she is a private-aircraft pilot. She received a PhD in organization and management from Capella University.
Marie L. Miranda
Marie Lynn Miranda is a professor of statistics at Rice University. Previously, she served as the Howard R. Hughes Provost at Rice, Samuel A. Graham Dean in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, and Director of Undergraduate Programs for the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Dr. Miranda specializes in research on environmental health, especially how the environment shapes health and well-being among children. Her research topics include a geospatial analysis of the effects of aviation gasoline on childhood blood lead levels. She is the founding director of the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative, a research, education and outreach program committed to fostering environments where all people can prosper. The initiative’s peer-reviewed research has been cited extensively, including in the US EPA’s integrated science assessment on revisions to the national ambient air quality standards for lead. Dr. Miranda received a PhD in economics from Harvard University.
Robert A. Mitchell
Robert A.K. (Bob) Mitchell is an independent aerospace researcher and consultant. Previously, he served as vice president for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems and CEO of Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical, prior to its acquisition by Northrop Grumman. He led the capture and development of the Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system (UAS), the Fire Scout vertical UAS, the Navy Triton UAS (derived from Global Hawk), and several restricted programs. Prior to taking over Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical, Mr Mitchell spent 12 years working on the Space Shuttle. Mr. Mitchell is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and he has received numerous other awards for his contributions in the field of aerospace, including the Reed Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He attended the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell, was commissioned, became a pilot, and served 16 years. Mr. Mitchell received an MS in aeronautical engineering from the USAF Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Glenn W. Passavant
Glenn W. Passavant is a senior engineer in Technology and Regulatory Affairs at Ingevity Corporation, focusing on the advancement of vehicle evaporative and refueling emission control technology. Previously, he was Center Director and senior program manager with the US EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality, where he led development of regulatory programs related to a wide variety of mobile sources, including passenger cars, light trucks, motorcycles, heavy-duty engines, marine vessels, nonroad equipment, locomotives, and aircraft. In this capacity, he represented US EPA in interactions with government and industry and led the development and assessment of provisions for vehicles/equipment, their fuels, related test procedures, and other necessary regulatory requirements. He worked on US EPA’s evaluation of lead emissions impacts from general aviation aircraft that use leaded aviation gasoline to determine whether those emissions cause or contribute to air pollution which may endanger public health or welfare. He had a long career in the USAF in the positions of meteorologist, bioenvironmental engineer, and squadron commander. Mr. Passavant received an ME in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Bernard I. Robertson
Bernard I. Robertson is Retired Senior Vice President, Engineering Technologies and Regulatory Affairs; and General Manager-Truck Operations at the Daimler Chrysler Corporation. His primary research interests are ground vehicles, their fuels and supporting infrastructure. A particular specialty has been emissions and environmental impact, including development of powertrain and fuel technology. While involved in all aspects of vehicle design and development, he has focused on alternate powerplant and fuel research and development worldwide. He has relevant technical experience in gasoline-fueled engines and all aspects of aviation. Mr. Robertson’s previous service on National Academies committees includes the Committee on Review of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Research Program and the Committee for Stakeholder Input in Developing the Airport System Management Services Component of the National Airspace System. In addition, he served as a member of the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems. Mr Robertson received an MEng in mechanical sciences from the University of Cambridge, an MS in automotive engineering from the Chrysler Institute of Engineering, and an MBA from Michigan State University.
Jay R. Turner
Jay R. Turner is a Professor of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, and Vice Dean for Education in the James McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. His research primarily focuses on air quality characterization with emphasis on field measurements and data analysis to support a variety of applications in the atmospheric science, regulation and policy, emissions estimation, exposure assessment, and health studies arenas. He was co-investigator and Washington University lead on two ACRP projects awarded to Sierra Research: Quantifying Aircraft Lead Emissions at Airports (02-34); and Reducing the Impact of Lead Emissions at Airports (02-57). He is currently PI for a UNICEF-funded project in Mongolia to develop air quality monitoring systems for children’s health and is Co-PI for three NIH-funded projects to: examine relationships between air pollution and neurodegenerative disease; conduct passive and mobile platform measurements to assess the air quality impacts of a neighborhood-scale greening intervention; and develop and deploy a high time resolution monitor for mobile mapping of VOC compounds. In the last two years, he was also PI for a FHWA/DOT-funded project to quantify the efficacy of an engineered vegetative buffer to attenuate near-road air pollution. Dr. Turner currently serves on US EPA’s chartered Science Advisory Board (SAB) and recently chaired the SAB panel for Screening Methodologies to Support Risk and Technology Reviews: A Case Study Analysis. Dr. Turner is a past president of American Association for Aerosol Research. He received a DSc in chemical engineering from Washington University.
Asciatu J. Whiteside
Asciatu J. Whiteside is an Environmental Program Manager with Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport’s Department of Environmental Affairs. She has worked at DFW for more than 18 years assisting the airport to become a leader in environmental performance and sustainability through the management of core programs, including Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Waste Management Program, Pretreatment, Storm Water, and Environmental Management Systems. She also provides environmental oversight and technical support for Capital Improvement Projects related to rehabilitating airport infrastructure, including deicing collection systems. In addition, she coordinates and communicates airport programs, public outreach, compliance-related initiatives, sustainability and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) related goals and objectives to internal stakeholders, airport tenants, and regulators. Ms. Whiteside has served on several TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) projects involving water quality toxicity testing and winter weather operations at airports. She holds an MS in environmental science and management from Duquesne University and a BS in chemistry from Emory University.

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