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AVIATION FUEL AND AIRCRAFT FUEL SYSTEM

OBJECTIVE Learning Outcome 2 Assessment Criteria 2 Recognize the Hazards of Fuel Radiant Heat. 2.1 2.2 2.3 REFERENCES a. IFSTA 206 Aircraft. b. Manual of Firemanship Book 4 Chapter 1. c. General Aviation Firefighting For Structural Firefighters. Identify the various grades of aviation fuel. Know the characteristics of fuels. Identify the aircraft fuel system.

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AVIATION FUEL AND AIRCRAFT FUEL SYSTEM


INTRODUCTION There are three basic types of aviation fuel currently being used in aircraft. The first of these is aviation gasoline and the next two types are the kerosene grades and blend of gasoline and kerosene. These last two types are jet fuels and cover a broad range in the hydrocarbon series. The use of let fuel has far exceeded the use of gasoline, and the trend is continuing with the changeover to let engine cargo and passenger type aircraft. The fuel system of an aircraft stores and distributes fuel to the engines. Fuel tanks, portable bladders, lines control valves, pumps and other component parts of the fuel system are spread throughout the aircraft. AVIATION FUELS Gasoline. From a fire fighting standpoint, gasoline used in aircraft generally has the same characteristics as that used for automobiles and smaller engines, although aviation gasoline is a high octane fuel (AVGAS). Octanes of 100 to 145 are common. The flash of aviationgrade gasoline is approximately - 50F. This means that in almost any imaginable weather, gasoline will still give off enough vapour sufficient to form an ignitable mixture in the air near the surface of the liquid. Because the flammability limits range from just over 1% in air, it is easy to see that very little of the gasoline is needed to vaporize before enough is present to carry the flame away from the initial ignition. These percentages gasoline vapour in the air are also called the explosive range. Upon ignition the flame spread will be between 213 and 243 meters (700 and 800 feet) per minute or about 3.7 meters (12 feet) per second. Autoignition occurs between 835F and 960F. Jet Fuel. The jet fuel is divided into two grades Jet A and B. Jet A fuel is kerosene grade which has flash points between 95F, and 145F, depending on the particular fuel mixtures. Jet A fuel will mix with air above the flash point and become flammable when the fuel-to-air mixture is just less than 1%. The upper flammability limit is just over 5%. Auto ignition temperatures range from 440 to 475F, with a flame spread rate of less than 30 meters (100 feet) per minute. Jet A fuel does not spread as rapidly as gasoline. JP -5 is a grade of Jet A fuel used by some military forces. JP-4 a Jet B fuel used in military and civilian aircraft. It is a b lend of gasoline and kerosene with much lower flash point at-10 F, than the A fuels. Flammability limits are slightly larger from 1% to just over 7%. The lower limit of 1% makes any fuel potentially dangerous when spilled. Auto-ignition temperature ranges are between 470- and480 F. The flame spread rate of Jet B fuels are 213 to 243 meters (700 to 800 feet) per minute, as rapid as gasoline. At higher temperatures, the rate of flame spread across any jet fuel is increase. Fuel mists are created following tank failures and fuels are readily ignitable under aircraft impact condition. Under this condition, fuel, in mist form, presents a hazard equal to fuel in vapor form as far as the flammability of the fuel is concerned. The significant burning the characteristics of this fuel, as they apply to fire fighting operations are shown in the following table. (Figure 2) Gasoline and jet fuel vapors are heavier than air.

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PROPERTIES OF TYPICAL AVIATION FUELS (Temperatures and Percentages are Approximations) Gasoline -50 F 1.4% to 7.6% 825 to 960 Jet A -10 to + 30 F 1.16 to 7.63% 470 to 480 Jet B 95 to 145 F 0.74% to 5.32% 440 to 475

Flash Point Flammability of Explosive Range Auto Ignition

Figure 1: Comparison of characteristics of typical aviation fuels The constant threat of re-ignition (flashback) is great when fighting a fire where large amounts of aviation gas or jet fuels are involved. Emphasis must be placed upon the hazard flashback, and foaming agent should be used to completely cover the area. AIRCRAFT FUEL SYSTEM The two predominate types of fuel used in GA aircraft are lOO-octane avgas and Jet A. Aviation grade gasoline has properties similar to automobile gasoline. Jet A has properties similar to kerosene. Structural fire crews should already be knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with spills and fires involving at least small quantities of both gasoline and kerosene. The basic premise is to confine spilled fuel, reduce the production of ignitable vapors usually by application of foam, eliminate nearby ignition sources, and either reduce or stop any leak. Three parts of an aircraft fuel system that structural firefighters need to know about are as per below: a. b. c. The fuel storage tanks. Fuel pumps. Fuel shutoffs.

Figure 2: Aircraft Fuel System.

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CONCLUSION On completion of this lesson the students shall be able to recognize the Hazards of Fuel Radiant Heat and identify the aircraft fuel system.

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