Similar to owning a home or car, owning an aircraft is an immense responsibility. Apart from having to carry out routine maintenance, regular inspections, and impromptu checks, your aircraft must be properly fueled. While you can always rely on professionals for such tasks, it is also important to know how to do these things on your own.
In particular, anyone who owns or operates a plane must know how to fuel it themselves. This is especially important if you do not have someone else to handle fueling or if you are at an unknown airport. As most privately-owned airplanes are of the light variety, we will explain how to fuel light aircraft all by yourself.
The Refueling Procedure
Before you can refuel your aircraft, you must know how much fuel your vehicle can carry and what type of fuel it requires. You should also have your plane’s registration number handy, in addition to other official documents. Since safety always comes first, you must observe safety procedures with great detail.
Approach The Fueling Area
With the proper precautions in place, you can reach the fuel area. Choose an available spot and carefully move your airplane next to the fuel pump. Make sure you run the aircraft close to the place where the hose and wires are closest to it.
Connect The Grounding Wire
Before letting any fuel flow, you must firmly connect the grounding wire to your aircraft. Do not be alarmed if you experience a bit of static electricity during refueling, the ground wire will help mitigate any unexpected discharges.
Review The Fuel Pump Instructions
As different airports have different fuel pumps, it is critical that you carefully review the fuel pump instructions and strictly follow directions.
Use The Refueling Nozzle
Generally, a ladder should be readily available for high-wing aircraft. If a ladder is not needed, gently unreel the fuel hose and bring it to your aircraft. Then, you can remove the nozzle cap, insert the hose, and squeeze to begin fueling. Unlike standard gas station nozzles, aircraft fuel nozzles do not lock in the ON position.
Fill Your Tank And Replace The Caps
Once the tank is full, replace and secure the caps on the fuel tank. Then, move onto the next wing and repeat the process. If you need to put the nozzle down, make sure the mouth of the nozzle does not touch the ground to avoid contamination.
Rewind The Fuel Hose
At this point, you can rewind the fuel hose, and keep in mind that many reels have springs affixed to help guide the hose back easily.
Complete Your Payment
As soon as you are done refueling, you can complete your transaction at the station.
Disconnect The Grounding Wire
Similar to the fuel hose, disconnect and rewind the ground wire.
Secure Your Fuel Caps
Always double-check the tank caps and ensure they are closed securely.
Sump The Tanks
Finally, you should check for water in the fuel. If there is water in it, wait for the new fuel to settle in before sumping the tanks.
Safety Tips for DIY Fueling
When refueling your aircraft, you must be extra mindful of the job you are doing and know where the safety equipment is stowed around you. Other safety tips you should follow include obeying the rules of the ramp and vehicle corridors. While this may go without saying, you should never smoke around the fuel station, fuel tank, or near the tank farm. You must also check for water in the fuel and during fueling. Once you are done, always double-check to make sure everything is put away properly.
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