Why fuel testing?
Fuel testing gives you the status of your fuel and tank and puts you in control of the situation by allowing you to diagnose and appropriately treat fuel system problems. By designing a regular monitoring regime, you catch problems early before they result in costly operational issues.
The jet fuel fungus problem
Microbes* thrive wherever there is food and water. Aviation fuel systems are therefore ideal habitats for bacteria, yeasts and moulds. Bugs which grow unchecked can block fuel filters and cause gauging problems as they are so corrosive that they can damage the aircraft tank structure.
* Microbe is a term for tiny creatures that individually are too small to be seen with the unaided eye. Microbes include among others bacteria and fungi.
FUELSTAT® - The jet-setter of aviation fuel testing
With the FUELSTAT® resinae aviation on site fuel test, all you need is 10 minutes, a flat, clean surface, one pair of latex gloves and a 200 ml jet fuel sample to discover which bugs are living in your fuel.
The test is easy to interpret and it gives a negligible, low or high reading of contamination which corresponds to the limits laid down in the IATA (International Air Transport Association) Guidance Material on Microbial Contamination in Aviation Fuel Tanks.
(link: International Air Transport Association)
This guide clearly indicates the aircraft’s fuel system status, and what actions to take, if any.
The jet fuel fungus solution
There is no magic spell to eliminate the problem. A multi-stringed approach to fuel hygiene is the key to avoiding the inconvenience and cost of a contaminated fuel tank. Good fuel hygiene entails implementing a risk assessed “rigid housekeeping regime”. The risk of contamination is increased in hot, humid conditions, especially where fuel comes from a source that has fewer quality control checks.
Each airline should carry out its own risk assessment to establish an optimum regime. The selected regime should consist of regular water drain checks and at least an annual test of the fuel in every tank, followed by an appropriate fuel tank treatment, if required.
Moderate levels of contamination require the use of an approved biocide. Heavy levels of contamination require the tank to be emptied and cleaned and finally, to apply a biocide – a disinfectant to deter, render harmless and kill on any harmful organisms in the tank.
How many tests do you need to test your fuel tanks?
One test per tank is required in any monitoring regime. IATA recommends a minimum frequency of once a year. The frequency should be increased in correlation with the risks involved. If the aircraft is located in a high risk area the frequency could and should be increased to once a month. We do not advise testing more frequently than at monthly intervals.
Satair offers a consultancy service to carry out these risk assessments. Please contact us to know more.