Fuel Servicing of Aircraft

Many of us have seen tanker trucks around when the aircraft is on the ground and think about the type of supply they are loading on the plane. Fueling servicing is only one part of Aircraft ground handling when the plane is at the terminal gate of the airport.

The fuel servicing may be performed by a tanker or hydrant truck which uses a pump to extract fuel from an integrated tank in the ramp and then provides fuel to the airplane. The difference could be seen easily since a truck tanker needs to be periodically replenished, and on another hand, a system or network underground has more capacity.

A British Airways aircraft being refueled, hydrant system. Source: w:es:Usuario:Barcex/commons.wikimedia.org

Types of fuel and Identification

There are two main types of fuel for servicing an aircraft, gasoline or AVGAS (aviation gasoline) and the JET fuel or simply known as kerosene. These depend on the type of propulsion system of the aircraft.

In piston engine or reciprocating engine, the AVGAS is used and has different grades and they are identified by color code. The servicing piping band must match the color of the fuel.

Reciprocating engine. Source: nsncenter.com
CF-6 turbofan engine. Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration/ commons.wikimedia.org

The fuel to power a turbine has kerosene and in some cases a mixture with AVGAS. These types of fuel are mainly used in turbojets, turboprops for planes and turboshaft engines for helicopters. Three types of turbine fuel in aviation are JET A and JET A-1, and JP is another designation for military aircraft application. The color of the jet fuel is straw or colorless.

Color-coding system of fuel. Source: http://knowtothis.blogspot.com/

Types of refueling

Smaller aircraft are refueled by the over-the-wing method; it uses fuel hoses to fill the tank by the ports on the top of the wing. The other type for larger aircraft, the ports are located on the wing bottom in the leading edge of the wing.

Over-the-wing method. Source: FAA
Single point refueling station of a large aircraft. Source: FAA

References:

FAA.gov

Cover photo:

nairametrics.com

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