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Wednesday AM headlines: UVU aviation first to convert to unleaded fuel, high dust pollution

Students wearing reflective vests stand around a small UVU plane.
Isaac Hale
Pilots in Utah Valley University’s aviation program competing in a competition

UVU aviation school is first in the nation to convert to unleaded fuel

Utah Valley University’s School of Aviation Sciences will be the first school in the nation to fully convert to unleaded fuel. Piston-engine aircrafts, which are common at aviation schools, usually require a higher-octane fuel that involves a lead additive, so unleaded fuel is still in the early adoption phases.

The university partnered with Swift Fuels, a fuel research and development company, to use a lead-free alternative designed for aircraft. It's not something every piston-engine aircraft can use, but all 25 of UVU’s planes are compatible.

In addition to being more environmentally friendly, the new fuel is expected to reduce maintenance costs, since cleaner fuel leads to fewer engine problems, and improve health and safety for employees handling the fuel by reducing their exposure to lead.

Strong winds causing high dust pollution in Utah

Fierce winds carried dust all the way from eastern Nevada into Utah Tuesday afternoon, bringing pollution with it. The fine particulate readings in Tooele reached into the high 50s, which equates to “poor” air quality and is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

These readings also surpass the federal standard set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a 24-hour period, which is 35 micrograms per cubic meter or less.

Fine particulate matter is tiny, at least 70 times smaller than a human hair, which means it can get buried deep in the lungs and cause long lasting health impacts.

The National Weather Service in Salt Lake City also issued a high wind warning for the west desert of Utah. Even after the wind is gone, it will take time for the dust to dissipate.

Duck is a general reporter and weekend announcer at UPR, and is studying broadcast journalism and disability studies at USU. They grew up in northern Colorado before moving to Logan in 2018, so the Rocky Mountain life is all they know. Free time is generally spent with their dog, Monty, listening to podcasts, reading or wishing they could be outside more.