Ingo Noka

Using Mogas in Malaysia

In Knowledge, Navigation, Ownership on June 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Petronas Fuel Truck at Senai Airport

After my post on aircraft choices, which touched on the subject of fuel availability in South East Asia, I got a few questions whether it is possible to convert an Avgas CofA aircraft to Mogas.

Common wisdom in the Malaysian GA community is that the DCA of Malaysia does not permit Mogas for CoA aircraft. There is an Airworthiness Notice No 42 dated 1 April 1987, which does not seem to close the door to the use of Mogas altogether, but sends the message that any attempt to get this approved for an aircraft on the Malaysian register will cost more than what you can ever hope to save by switching to the cheaper fuel.

Here are a couple of points DCA makes in their Notice:

  1. “… the use of motor gasoline (mogas) is not permitted by the DCA unless the aircraft concerned was type certificated using this fuel (or its use subsequently approved).” The term “subsequently approved” could be construed as referring to STCs, but I don’t think anybody is willing to test that theory.
  2. On the subject of approvals to use Mogas in other countries: “(DCA) … does not consider that these approvals can be directly read across to the use of such a fuel in Malaysia.”  DCA argues that the climate in SEA is sufficiently different to prevent an “automatic” acceptance of Mogas approval from other countries.
  3. Somewhat contrary to point two, DCA allows the use of any fuel that allowed in the approved Pilot Operating Handbook, which seems to suggest that aircraft such as the Tecnam T2006, which is a CoA aircraft with two Rotax 912 engines, should be allowed to operate on Mogas even when registered in Malaysia.
  4. Finally, the DCA says in closing that anybody who wants to get a modification for the use of Mogas approved, needs to bear all the cost and do all the work and have the aircraft manufacturer support this endeavor.

I have a couple of points myself:

1. The fuel you can buy at the next gas station is not the same as Mogas. In fact, I believe what is available in other countries under the name Mogas (with assured quality standards) does not exist in SEA.
2. If you decide to go with auto fuel, it will give you more options for flying into areas that have no Avgas supply. However, getting the fuel in an out of the airports will require the help from locals who know how to get stuff like this through security. (On the other hand, it is always better to at least have an option than to be stranded with no way to get fuel at all.)

Taking jerry cans in a AT-4 (Rotax 912)

3. The future of piston engine fuel is in Jet-A and its equivalents (Diesel etc.) My dream aircrafts are either the new Cessna 182 with an AMS Diesel engine or a DA42 with the Austro Diesel engine.

In the meantime, I stick to airports that have Avgas supplies or fly with organizations like WoA who bring in fuel for longer flying tours into areas that do not normally have Avgas.

Refueling from drums at Terengganu airport

Friends bringing Avgas to Malacca after a weather diversion on my way from Kota Bahru to Senai Airport

  1. I believe some experimental aircraft uses engines which use normal petrol. If I’m not mistaken, the old ESB flying club in Subang used to operate Zodiac CH601 with Rotax engine, & they use Shell VPower fuel which they go out and buy from the petrol station.
    What fuel do experimental aircraft in FRAS use?

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