Trained aircraft mechanics carry out the critical task of refueling aircraft. These skilled personnel perform the process of filling the aircraft with fuel, allowing it to continue its flight.
Generally, there are two primary methods of refueling which are
Usually, pressure refueling is used when it comes to the refueling of large aircraft such as Boeing 747 and gravity fueling is used on small aircraft such as Cessna 172. This article will describe process of pressure refueling and there are several steps and precautions that must be done by responsible personnel.
Safety Precautions of Refueling the Aircraft
The first precaution that must be done by trained personnel before carrying out the refueling process is to refer to the specific Aircraft Maintenance Manual.
Next, this operation must be carried out outside the hangar and should be in a well-ventilated area only.
Make sure there are fire extinguishers nearby. Get to know the location and serviceability of the fire extinguisher.
know the location of the emergency fuel shut off valve if its available.
This operation should be conducted by personnel who has the required knowledge. Do not operate any electrical and radio equipment in this operation. while refueling, do not connect the external ground power if its not connected before. And do not disconnect the ground power if its connected before refueling.
Do not shutdown APU when refueling is being done.
Park the fuel tanker obliquely so that it can be driven away from aircraft in forward direction in case of emergency.
Check the correct grade of fuel is used.
Also, ensure there is a proper bonding and groundings between aircraft and tanker, aircraft and ground, tanker and ground, and nozzle and filler port.
Do not smoke and no use of naked flame or equipment that can cause spark and ignite fuel. This operation should be conducted away from any source of fire and if there is an operation that involve with fire, it must be located 15 meters.
- Finally, warning sign should be displayed and posted 15 meters from the location of operation.
Perform a water contamination test for the fuel before you refuel an Aircraft.
(1) Make sure that the aircraft is grounded correctly. (Aircraft to the fueling truck, fueling truck to ground)
(2) Make sure that there is sufficient light in the work area to work safely.
(3) Use only the recommended safe test equipment for maintenance procedures.
(4) Use only the approved spark proof lamps and flashlights in the fuel tank. Sealed vapour lamps must not be used.
(5) Make sure that the flow of clean air in the work area is sufficient to work safely.
(6) Before you start the maintenance task make sure that these are available:
– the correct fire-fighting equipment
– approved persons to use the fire-fighting equipment.
(7) Do not get aircraft fuel in your eyes, mouth, nose, ears or on your skin.
(a) If you get aircraft fuel in your eyes, mouth, nose or ears:
1 Flush with clean water. _
2 Get medical aid. _
(b) If you get aircraft fuel on your skin:
1 Remove all clothing soaked with fuel.
2 Clean the skin with soap and water.
3 Flush the skin with clean water.
4 If the skin is dry, apply an approved cream to it.
(8) Do not get your clothes soaked with fuel.
(9) Use approved protective clothing made from material which will not cause sparks.
(10) Protect your skin with barrier cream.
(11) You must use a respirator if the fuel-gas concentration in the work area is 5% more than the lower explosive limit (LEL).
(12) Put warning notices/NO SMOKING around the work area.
(13) In the work area you must not:
– use flames which do not have protection
– operate electrical equipment that is not necessary for the task
– pull or move metal objects along the ground
– use footwear which has external metal items such as studs, nails or toe-caps
– use hearing-aids or battery-operated equipment which will cause sparks
– have material which will cause sparks or flames.
(14) You must immediately flush away or remove all fuel leakage.
(15) You must put all material which is used to remove fuel leakage in special fire-proof containers.
(16) You must do all maintenance tasks in very clean conditions.
(17) Use only approved cleaning materials.
(18) Make sure that all signs of solvents and cleaning agents are removed from the equipment/components before they are installed.
(19) Make sure that all electrical circuits in maintenance are isolated before you apply electrical power to the aircraft.
(20) Put blanking caps on all disconnected pipes and openings in components and tanks.
(21) If possible, safety all components before you put them inside the fuel tank.
(22) Make sure that all the fuel system components have correct electrical bonding.
(23) Do not connect electrical equipment to a power source less than 30 meters away, unless the power source has spark-proof connectors.
do not refuel if
the aircraft Engines are running.
if you notice electrical storming.
if oxygen servicing is being perform in the aircraft.
if any part of the aircraft is over hot.
Aircraft Refueling Procedure
- There are several steps of aircraft refueling and it starts with the grounding of aircraft and the fuel tanker. Do not drag the hose along the leading edge.
- Next, connect the fueling nozzle grounding cable to the aircraft grounding receptacle and immediately remove the filler cap. After that, insert the fuel nozzle into filler cap and commence fueling which is carried out by the suction method which is provided by the tanker.
- Stop fueling once the desired fuel quantity has been reached. This can be monitor from the cockpit gauge reading.
- Once fueling process is done, install and secure the filler cap.
- Remove the fueling nozzle grounding cable from the aircraft grounding receptacle, the fuel tanker from the aircraft and grounding cable from the aircraft as well as from the tanker.
- Finally, ensure the fuel does not come in contact with skin, clothes and eyes. Immediately clean and wash with water and special soap if this happens and also seek for the medical attention. If there is any spillage of fuel on the ground, clean the spillage.
this topic is covered in EASA part 66 module 7 maintenance practices.