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Matt6461
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Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Tue May 29, 2018 7:28 pm

I've noticed that on many ACAPs the critical path for TRT includes refueling, and that refueling usually does not coincide with boarding/deplaning. Also on a few forums I've seen it labeled "cheating" to refuel during boarding/deplaning. What are the rules/regs here?
 
Flow2706
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Tue May 29, 2018 9:53 pm

Fueling during Boarding/Deboarding involves a couple of procedures, depending on the operator and airport. In many, but not all airports, it is necessary to have fire brigade near the aircraft during this procedure (this can involve a fee for the operator so its not always a good idea to do the fueling during boarding). The cabin crew and ramp agent need to be informed. The seat belt signs will be Off and passengers will be advised to keep their seatbelts unfastened until the fueling is completed. The escape paths (area where the slides would deploy) have to be kept clear. Depending on the company there can be some more procedures. It is quite common that one fueling observer (usually the FO or Captain, but could be the ramp agent as well) has to be supervising the fueling process from the ground and be able to contact the cockpit (by headset or visual signals). Some airlines also require passengers to be boarded in small groups only. Usually it is not allowed to have PRMs (f.e. disabled passengers) on board during refueling so if refueling during boarding is necessary they are usually boarded last (after the fueling is completed). For some airlines this is almost the standard procedure (mostly for LCC who depend on short turn around times), but on many other airlines this is only done in exceptional situations.
 
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DocLightning
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Tue May 29, 2018 10:06 pm

I just came back from Asia (Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taipei) and refueling during boarding seems to be common. About halfway through boarding there'd be a "DING! Refueling complete!" announcement.
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Starlionblue
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed May 30, 2018 12:29 am

DocLightning wrote:
I just came back from Asia (Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taipei) and refueling during boarding seems to be common. About halfway through boarding there'd be a "DING! Refueling complete!" announcement.


Indeed. The ding and the PA (only some operators do the latter) tell the cabin crew that they no longer need to stand by at the doors.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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DocLightning
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed May 30, 2018 1:51 am

Starlionblue wrote:
DocLightning wrote:
I just came back from Asia (Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taipei) and refueling during boarding seems to be common. About halfway through boarding there'd be a "DING! Refueling complete!" announcement.


Indeed. The ding and the PA (only some operators do the latter) tell the cabin crew that they no longer need to stand by at the doors.


Oh, and here I thought it was to inform the CX flight crew that they were free to smoke 'em if they've got 'em.
:duck: ;) :biggrin: :flamed:
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jetmatt777
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed May 30, 2018 2:04 am

In the US pretty much every flight is fueled while boarding/deplaning. Pretty common here.
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planecane
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed May 30, 2018 2:30 am

jetmatt777 wrote:
In the US pretty much every flight is fueled while boarding/deplaning. Pretty common here.


I see it all the time. There have been times where I could watch the meter to see how many gallons were going in after getting to my seat. If dinner properly with a ground cable to prevent sparks I don't see why there would be an issue.
 
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aeromoe
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed May 30, 2018 3:06 am

planecane wrote:
If dinner properly with a ground cable to prevent sparks I don't see why there would be an issue.


Yes - I'm always grounded during dinner.
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Matt6461
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed May 30, 2018 9:36 am

Flow2706 wrote:
Fueling during Boarding/Deboarding involves a couple of procedures, depending on the operator and airport. In many, but not all airports, it is necessary to have fire brigade near the aircraft during this procedure (this can involve a fee for the operator so its not always a good idea to do the fueling during boarding). The cabin crew and ramp agent need to be informed. The seat belt signs will be Off and passengers will be advised to keep their seatbelts unfastened until the fueling is completed. The escape paths (area where the slides would deploy) have to be kept clear. Depending on the company there can be some more procedures. It is quite common that one fueling observer (usually the FO or Captain, but could be the ramp agent as well) has to be supervising the fueling process from the ground and be able to contact the cockpit (by headset or visual signals). Some airlines also require passengers to be boarded in small groups only. Usually it is not allowed to have PRMs (f.e. disabled passengers) on board during refueling so if refueling during boarding is necessary they are usually boarded last (after the fueling is completed). For some airlines this is almost the standard procedure (mostly for LCC who depend on short turn around times), but on many other airlines this is only done in exceptional situations.


Thanks for this really detailed answer. And thanks to others who've chimed in as well.
 
e38
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed May 30, 2018 6:39 pm

as jetmatt777 stated in Reply #6, refueling during boarding or deplaning of passengers in the U.S. is normal. At the company where I work (in the United States), aircraft are refueled with little or no coordination with any other agency and we do not use a fueling observer (neither captain nor first officer) to monitor the refueling process nor do we have to make sure a "fire brigade" is present. Also, we do not notify the flight attendants with either a "ding" or a PA announcement that fueling is complete and the seat belt sign may either be "on" or "off;" it doesn't matter.

Here is an example: an inbound aircraft blocks in at the gate. The gate agent maneuvers the jetway to connect to the aircraft and passengers begin to deplane. Meanwhile, outside, baggage handlers begin to move the belt loaders and bag carts to start unloading luggage. It's possible that a catering truck or two may position to provision the aircraft for the next flight. While all of this is going on, and without coordination with any other function, the fuelers either attach the fuel hose to the aircraft from an in-ground fuel hydrant or, if the airport is not so equipped, they maneuver the fuel truck adjacent to the wing to begin the fueling process. The fuelers already have the planned fuel load for the next flight, which they previously received from the company dispatchers. The pilots do not monitor the fuel load from the flight deck, and if they are at a major hub and need to change aircraft; or if they have completed all their assigned flying for they day, many pilots just secure the flight deck and leave, whether the aircraft is being fueled or not. The same for the flight attendants--once all the passengers have deplaned, if they are not staying on the same aircraft, they leave as well.

Once in a while, after passengers are on board (and the seat belt sign is illuminated), we get notified from the dispatcher that the weather has changed at our destination, an alternate is now required, and additional fuel must be added. Usually this only takes 5 or 10 more minutes, but it is accomplished with passengers on the aircraft and they usually have their seat belts fastened at that time. The flight attendants do not need to monitor the doors, but usually the main boarding door remains open, not for evacuation purposes, but in order to receive the fuel service record, once fueling is complete.

This is much different than explained by Flow2706 in Reply #2. In what country(ies) is this required--fire brigade, monitoring of fueling by the pilots, notifying the flight attendants with a "ding" and/or a PA announcement, etc. ?

I have never heard of "cheating" before with reference to refueling procedures.

e38
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Thu May 31, 2018 1:04 am

e38 wrote:
a

This is much different than explained by Flow2706 in Reply #2. In what country(ies) is this required--fire brigade, monitoring of fueling by the pilots, notifying the flight attendants with a "ding" and/or a PA announcement, etc. ?


e38


The one place I recall where you cannot refuel with pax on board unless the fire brigade is present is Dusseldorf. I don't know if it is country regulation or airport regulation.

The requirement for flight attendants to stand by open doors is in our ops manual.
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IPFreely
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Thu May 31, 2018 1:56 am

aeromoe wrote:
planecane wrote:
If dinner properly with a ground cable to prevent sparks I don't see why there would be an issue.


Yes - I'm always grounded during dinner.


Me too. Unless it's fast food where they have plastic (non-conductive) silverware.
 
strfyr51
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Thu May 31, 2018 6:40 am

Matt6461 wrote:
I've noticed that on many ACAPs the critical path for TRT includes refueling, and that refueling usually does not coincide with boarding/deplaning. Also on a few forums I've seen it labeled "cheating" to refuel during boarding/deplaning. What are the rules/regs here?

it's common in the USA as well. . I once had a captian say he would not depart if the tanks weren't dead full. We kept fueling until 10 minutes prior to departure. and he departed at 100lbs below max taxi weight.. SFO SYD.
 
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TOGA10
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Thu May 31, 2018 7:37 am

Really common in Europe as well. Apart from a few places (the Greek Islands come to mind), the fire brigade does not need to be informed. Flow2706 has it correct!
The natural function of the wing is to soar upwards and carry that which is heavy up to the place where dwells the race of gods. More than any other thing that pertains to the body it partakes of the nature of the divine. - Plato
 
planecane
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Thu May 31, 2018 1:49 pm

IPFreely wrote:
aeromoe wrote:
planecane wrote:
If dinner properly with a ground cable to prevent sparks I don't see why there would be an issue.


Yes - I'm always grounded during dinner.


Me too. Unless it's fast food where they have plastic (non-conductive) silverware.


Sometimes I hate autocorrect. It was supposed to say "if done correctly"
 
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Thu May 31, 2018 3:08 pm

planecane wrote:
IPFreely wrote:
aeromoe wrote:

Yes - I'm always grounded during dinner.


Me too. Unless it's fast food where they have plastic (non-conductive) silverware.


Sometimes I hate autocorrect. It was supposed to say "if done correctly"


LOL - I know, isn't technology grand?
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:31 am

Where i work the rule is to inform the fire department (they won't come out, but they are made aware of what is happening), and we cannot board any passengers who cannot manage the aircraft steps.
 
OB1504
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:21 pm

e38’s experiences are the same as mine working in fueling operations. My airport does require that the boarding door be opened and airstairs or a jet bridge connected for evacuation purposes, though. The airline I we primarily work with has electronic fuel service records so we only need to provide a paper copy to the crew if there’s some component of the fuel system (typically a fuel quantity gauge) on MEL.
 
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:07 am

So basically in the US there are no additional safety precautions when boarding while fuel is being loaded? That's insane! Especially keeping pax seatbelts fastened? No jetbridge requirement for evacuation? A lot of trust is placed in the fuelers it seems... hope they are paid well!
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DDR
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:32 pm

bgm wrote:
So basically in the US there are no additional safety precautions when boarding while fuel is being loaded? That's insane!


It is not just in the US. Per previous posts, other places do it as well, Europe for example. From experience I know for a fact that several South American countries do this as well. Nothing dangerous about the procedure.
 
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:06 pm

bgm wrote:
So basically in the US there are no additional safety precautions when boarding while fuel is being loaded? That's insane! Especially keeping pax seatbelts fastened? No jetbridge requirement for evacuation? A lot of trust is placed in the fuelers it seems... hope they are paid well!


The only procedure is to have the main cabin door open and stairs or jetway attached during refueling. If that is not an option (hardly ever the case) then the FA’s will be at their doors with the doors armed. This is hardly ever the case as most carriers require the captain to have a signed copy of the fuel slip after fueling.
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BravoOne
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:12 pm

Let me give an example and let me know what you think should be done regarding this very common practice. Your on a flight from LAX to HKG (747-400) and you're using a redispatch flight plan. TPE is your redispatch airport an on this day the winds are not favorable so in fact you land at TPE and park remotely for the additional 40,000 of uplifted fuel. The entire process will take maybe 30'.

Or..you could land go to a gate ($$) deplane/reload 360 pax and maybe turn the airplane in 1+30' if lucky, Missed connections, chain reaction delays, potential crew legality issues just for starters.

There is no greater chance of fire at either point, so how would you handle this common practice?
 
kalvado
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:39 pm

BravoOne wrote:
Let me give an example and let me know what you think should be done regarding this very common practice. Your on a flight from LAX to HKG (747-400) and you're using a redispatch flight plan. TPE is your redispatch airport an on this day the winds are not favorable so in fact you land at TPE and park remotely for the additional 40,000 of uplifted fuel. The entire process will take maybe 30'.

Or..you could land go to a gate ($$) deplane/reload 360 pax and maybe turn the airplane in 1+30' if lucky, Missed connections, chain reaction delays, potential crew legality issues just for starters.

There is no greater chance of fire at either point, so how would you handle this common practice?

The most common answer given on a.net is that cost should never be a reason to compromise operational safety.

On a separate note, my impression is that there is some extra layer of safety coming from handling more volatile fuels - such as car gasoline; and that gasoline regs affect risk estimates associated with fuel transfer. for example: 1.5 state in US still requires cars to be fueled by trained person, not by a regular driver. In NYS, gas stations are (or were? there was a repeal effort) required to have a complex fire extinguishing system installed in fuel transfer area. The only time I remember that actuated was a false alarm - but most of the block had to be cleaned up after that. Possibly we are still looking at regulations from avgas era being applied to Jet-A?
 
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fr8mech
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:17 am

bgm wrote:
So basically in the US there are no additional safety precautions when boarding while fuel is being loaded? That's insane! Especially keeping pax seatbelts fastened? No jetbridge requirement for evacuation? A lot of trust is placed in the fuelers it seems... hope they are paid well!


While, I’m not in pax ops, we continue to load, unload, service and perform maintenance on our aircraft during fueling operation. Jet fuel is hard to get burning. Can it be done, yes. But, it’s hard. We are not talking about a gasoline product.

By the way, it certainly wouldn’t be the fueler that screws up, it’ll be someone else that does something stupid.

I guess we also need to ask the question, how many aircraft have caught fire at the gate during fueling operations? How many folks killed or wounded?
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Philippine747
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:45 am

Only experienced a hot refueling once. Belt signs were off and the flight attendants made sure to check that all pax had their belts unfastened.
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ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:02 am

Philippine747 wrote:
Only experienced a hot refueling once. Belt signs were off and the flight attendants made sure to check that all pax had their belts unfastened.


When you say hot refueling are you meaning with engines running? Because I thought that tended to be a military thing, not really passenger plane thing.

Otherwise as a passenger I've seen it plenty of times with no apparent extra steps or checks. I've even boarded plenty of times and seen the refueling truck all hooked up and pumping.
 
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:52 am

bgm wrote:
So basically in the US there are no additional safety precautions when boarding while fuel is being loaded? That's insane! Especially keeping pax seatbelts fastened? No jetbridge requirement for evacuation? A lot of trust is placed in the fuelers it seems... hope they are paid well!


Contrary to what you see in movies, jet fuel is not easy to ignite unless you vaporise it. You can drop a burning match in a pot of jet fuel and the match will go out. There have been accidents where evacuating passengers have had to escape through puddles of leaked jet fuel without incident. BA 38 comes to mind.

Precautions should be taken, of course, but unless another vehicle careens into the fuel truck (or the wing) at high speed the risk of fire is quite small.
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longhauler
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:02 pm

I can't imagine an airline operation without fuelling when passengers are on board. With narrow bodies taking about 30 minues to refuel and some widebodies taking twice that, it would put a dent in fast turn around times.

I echo the above comments about how safe it is. Still, where I fly, we do have procedures to be followed when fuelling with passegers on board. Namely, seat belts must be unfastened, the bridge must be attached as well as another designated exit must be clear outside with a Flight Attendant beside it, pilots must be on board, etc. On some types in our fleet, the APU can not be started during fuelling. Also, hot refuelling, (fuelling with an engine running) is never allowed with passengers on board.


kalvado wrote:
The most common answer given on a.net is that cost should never be a reason to compromise operational safety.


It is not a matter of cost, more a matter of risk management. Let's face it, the only way to eliminate risk is to never fly! But the risk, if any, of fuelling with passengers aboard is so remote, it is worth managing.

Someone above asked if there has ever been a fuelling accident. The last I can remember is when Air Canada lost a DC-8-53 at YYZ during fuelling due to improper grounding resulting in a fire. I believe one ramp agent was lost or severly injured. Passengers were just starting to board when it happened. I understand that procedures have been changed.

How long ago was that?

I remember the day, because I was riding on a Great Lakes Airlines Convair 440, YXU-YYZ and we had to hold short of the ramp for a couple of hours. Yes, a Convair 440 ... it was that long ago! (June 1973)
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kalvado
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:47 pm

longhauler wrote:
I can't imagine an airline operation without fuelling when passengers are on board. With narrow bodies taking about 30 minues to refuel and some widebodies taking twice that, it would put a dent in fast turn around times.

[....]

It is not a matter of cost, more a matter of risk management. Let's face it, the only way to eliminate risk is to never fly! But the risk, if any, of fuelling with passengers aboard is so remote, it is worth managing.

Someone above asked if there has ever been a fuelling accident.

And again, lets separate variables.
Yes, this is about risk management. NFPA estimates 80 vehicle fires a year in US due to "improper fueling technique", whatever that mean. I believe mostly static discharge.
With all grounding cables involved in airplane fuelling, that risk is sufficiently lower, and as mentioned - Jet-A is much less flammable than gasoline (and I wonder if temperatures affect fuelling operations in DXB and PNX)

On the other hand: we, ground-bound creatures, often get reminded that safety if always first and ops convenience is a distant second. In this regard, bringing turnaround times into the argument is not really a good idea. It may help - but, as we often told by airline employers, it shouldn't be a consideration.
 
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:08 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
Contrary to what you see in movies, jet fuel is not easy to ignite unless you vaporise it. You can drop a burning match in a pot of jet fuel and the match will go out. There have been accidents where evacuating passengers have had to escape through puddles of leaked jet fuel without incident. BA 38 comes to mind.

Precautions should be taken, of course, but unless another vehicle careens into the fuel truck (or the wing) at high speed the risk of fire is quite small.


Well I'm gonna come out and say that it isn't terribly hard to light it either. Obviously not as easy as gasoline, but all you need is a cigarette lighter.
We routinely light our BBQ fire with some Jet A1 from the fueling manifold after the day's flying.
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TOGA10
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:16 pm

jetmatt777 wrote:
bgm wrote:
So basically in the US there are no additional safety precautions when boarding while fuel is being loaded? That's insane! Especially keeping pax seatbelts fastened? No jetbridge requirement for evacuation? A lot of trust is placed in the fuelers it seems... hope they are paid well!


The only procedure is to have the main cabin door open and stairs or jetway attached during refueling. If that is not an option (hardly ever the case) then the FA’s will be at their doors with the doors armed. This is hardly ever the case as most carriers require the captain to have a signed copy of the fuel slip after fueling.

In our company, it's also SOP to leave the seat belt sign switched off and a PA will be playing, saying that refuelling is in progress and to keep the seat belts off. As soon as it is finished, we inform our purser and we switch the sign on. That way there will be no confusion about what's happening.
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Starlionblue
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:48 pm

SAAFNAV wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
Contrary to what you see in movies, jet fuel is not easy to ignite unless you vaporise it. You can drop a burning match in a pot of jet fuel and the match will go out. There have been accidents where evacuating passengers have had to escape through puddles of leaked jet fuel without incident. BA 38 comes to mind.

Precautions should be taken, of course, but unless another vehicle careens into the fuel truck (or the wing) at high speed the risk of fire is quite small.


Well I'm gonna come out and say that it isn't terribly hard to light it either. Obviously not as easy as gasoline, but all you need is a cigarette lighter.
We routinely light our BBQ fire with some Jet A1 from the fueling manifold after the day's flying.


Granted. But it's not like guys on the ramp are carrying a lighted cigarette lighter. The non-smoking and open flame regs tend to be pretty strict.
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DiamondFlyer
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:01 pm

At my US based 121 carrier, there is nothing done while fueling during deplaning or boarding, other than the door being open (bridge not need be attached to do the door having an integral airstair). Seatbelt sign can be off or on, no requirement otherwise. On a 25 minute (or even less turn), it simply isn't practical to fuel without passengers on board. Hot fueling (fueling with an engine running) does require the fire department to be present, and as such, is basically never done.
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fr8mech
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:55 pm

kalvado wrote:
On the other hand: we, ground-bound creatures, often get reminded that safety if always first and ops convenience is a distant second. In this regard, bringing turnaround times into the argument is not really a good idea. It may help - but, as we often told by airline employers, it shouldn't be a consideration.


You're right, ops convenience a distant second, but refueling during normal operations is not a convenience, it's normal operation, plain and simple.

It is risk management. Everything about aircraft operations is dangerous. We mitigate that danger through regulation, process, procedure and training. If an incident does occur, we review those processes, procedures and training, and if serious enough, the authorities review the regulations.

Considering the amount of movements out there vs. the amount of fueling fires that have taken lives, caused injury or damage, I believe, as, apparently does the FAA, that aircraft ramp operations, including boarding, loading, unloading, maintenance, servicing, etc. while fueling presents an acceptable risk given the regulations, process, procedures and training in place at the various carriers.
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longhauler
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:31 pm

fr8mech wrote:
You're right, ops convenience a distant second, but refueling during normal operations is not a convenience, it's normal operation, plain and simple.

Exactly.

Fuelling with passengers aboard is not risky. And that minimal risk is not being exchanged for convenience, or schedule. There simply is so little risk, that it is considered normal operations.

Honestly, can anyone here cite an occurrence where a passenger was affected by fuelling when on board? This is an honest question. I can't find any example of any fire when fuelling that affected a passenger.
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kalvado
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Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:29 am

Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:42 pm

longhauler wrote:
fr8mech wrote:
Honestly, can anyone here cite an occurrence where a passenger was affected by fuelling when on board? This is an honest question. I can't find any example of any fire when fuelling that affected a passenger.

Not really affected, but a close call: https://aviation-safety.net/database/re ... 20010905-1
 
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fr8mech
Posts: 7115
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:47 am

kalvado wrote:
Not really affected, but a close call: https://aviation-safety.net/database/re ... 20010905-1


A failure to follow procedure and/or a failure of training. How many before that and since?

I’m sure that procedures were reviewed and modified, if necessary. And, trying and oversight stepped up for that particular vendor.

You know, you’d probably be surprised by how many times fuel is actually spilled. But, regulation, policy, procedure and training combine to mitigate the danger to an acceptable level.

You know what the biggest danger is from a fuel spill? The biggest concern the regulator(s) have? Whether or not the release has entertained the sewer system or soaked into the dirt. We train on that every year. How to contain a fuel spill, so the effect on the environment will be minimized.
When seconds count...the authorities are minutes away.
Unless it's expressly prohibited, it's allowed.
 
kalvado
Posts: 831
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:00 am

fr8mech wrote:
kalvado wrote:
Not really affected, but a close call: https://aviation-safety.net/database/re ... 20010905-1


A failure to follow procedure and/or a failure of training. How many before that and since?

I’m sure that procedures were reviewed and modified, if necessary. And, trying and oversight stepped up for that particular vendor.

You know, you’d probably be surprised by how many times fuel is actually spilled. But, regulation, policy, procedure and training combine to mitigate the danger to an acceptable level.

You know what the biggest danger is from a fuel spill? The biggest concern the regulator(s) have? Whether or not the release has entertained the sewer system or soaked into the dirt. We train on that every year. How to contain a fuel spill, so the effect on the environment will be minimized.


And I am personally fine with established procedures. For some strange reason, I am pretty sure safety department of every major (and most minor) airlines doing that did look at the problem, did a risk assessment, and gave their blessing to such operation. So we know the answer, and it may be interesting to follow the path they reached the answer.

One way, purely observational: there are about 7000 airplanes flying in US commercial service. I would guesstimate 5 refuel operations a day - and there was 1 (one) serious fire in 30 years. It was BA plane on US soil, but US planes also get refueled overseas, and lets keep it simple. That is 1 fire in 400 million operations. FAA defines "extremely improbable" as 1 in a billion event, and that is pretty much the same. Or, to look at it differently, this is on the same page as dual engine failure for ETOPS operations. For the record: I was on board of A333 across the pond two weeks after AF447, and unlike most people on board, I knew it was the same type. My biggest worry was that we got delayed 2 hours due to medical condition of a passenger, and I wasn't sure if those meeting me at JFK would be aware of that.

The other way of looking at it is to think about chain of events which can lead to a fire.
It is (cheese slice by slice): probability of fuel spill, probability of fuel going into ignitable form (vapor or fine mist), and presence of ignition source.
You say spills are not uncommon; and I am not really surprised. Sources of ignition are carefully suppressed, though: grounding cables, no smoking, no open fire.
Ignition is the most interesting factor. In case mentioned above, fuel being spilled - sprayed as a fine mist - was a critical link. Temperature of the spill above flash point (wiki: "flash point of a volatile material is the lowest temperature at which vapours of the material will ignite, when given an ignition source.")
Jet-A is specified with a flash point of at least 38 C (~100F) and actual measurements are higher than that. Jet-B and avgas are specified with flash point well below 0 C (32 F), by the way. ANd this number is measured by a "closed cup" method - with saturated vapor pressure, like conditions inside fuel tank. Lots of air - e.g. open ramp - creates leaner conditions and increases flash point even further. So one can smoke standing in a pool of spilled Jet-A, and likely would be OK. That seems a thickest slice of cheese in the stack.
Spilling fuel on hot engine parts voids your warranty. Spilling fuel on a very hot ramp may also bring things over the limit; I just hope there is some fine print in contracts about supplying batches with higher flash points to Phoenix.
Lower pressure decreases flash point as well, and could be a small factor in Denver fire. It was likely a factor in TWA880 as well. Although B-52 which some believe had similar fate was at ground level..

So, don't try to refuel avgas with pax on board, a big layer of protection is gone! And we do have some C402 EAS operations at a local airport...
 
Philippine747
Posts: 56
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:37 am

ZaphodHarkonnen wrote:
Philippine747 wrote:
Only experienced a hot refueling once. Belt signs were off and the flight attendants made sure to check that all pax had their belts unfastened.


When you say hot refueling are you meaning with engines running? Because I thought that tended to be a military thing, not really passenger plane thing.

Otherwise as a passenger I've seen it plenty of times with no apparent extra steps or checks. I've even boarded plenty of times and seen the refueling truck all hooked up and pumping.


Oops, must've mixed up the terms. The engines were shut off.
A319 A320 A321 A332 A333 A343 AT72 B732 B733 B738 B744 B752 (M) B772 B77W DHC7 DH8C DH8D D328 MA60

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shamrock137
Posts: 279
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:33 am

DiamondFlyer wrote:
Hot fueling (fueling with an engine running) does require the fire department to be present, and as such, is basically never done.


Only situation I can think of where this would be needed would be a flight that diverts into an airport with an inop APU and minimal ground support. Say its a larger aircraft and the field only has an airstart for a smaller aircraft, the aircraft would be stuck if they shut the engines down.
Time to spare? Go by air!
 
DiamondFlyer
Posts: 2809
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:07 am

shamrock137 wrote:
DiamondFlyer wrote:
Hot fueling (fueling with an engine running) does require the fire department to be present, and as such, is basically never done.


Only situation I can think of where this would be needed would be a flight that diverts into an airport with an inop APU and minimal ground support. Say its a larger aircraft and the field only has an airstart for a smaller aircraft, the aircraft would be stuck if they shut the engines down.


Correct, I've done it on a freighter but never done it on a passenger bird.
From my cold, dead hands
 
strfyr51
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:21 am

bgm wrote:
So basically in the US there are no additional safety precautions when boarding while fuel is being loaded? That's insane! Especially keeping pax seatbelts fastened? No jetbridge requirement for evacuation? A lot of trust is placed in the fuelers it seems... hope they are paid well!

In the USA it requires the entry door to be open and the slides armed in the event of an evacuation. I've relaased thousands of departures and have only twice in 17 years have I EVER had to deplane the cabin,and it was only because the jetway power failed and the passengers were sitting in the dark.as the APU hadn't been started because it was inop and deferred. .
 
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fr8mech
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:20 am

strfyr51 wrote:
In the USA it requires the entry door to be open and the slides armed in the event of an evacuation.


Can you cite the relevant regulation? Or, is this a company procedure?
When seconds count...the authorities are minutes away.
Unless it's expressly prohibited, it's allowed.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:14 am

fr8mech wrote:
strfyr51 wrote:
In the USA it requires the entry door to be open and the slides armed in the event of an evacuation.


Can you cite the relevant regulation? Or, is this a company procedure?


Since airline ops manuals are legal documents, doesn't this distinction become somewhat academic? ;)

:stirthepot:
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
BravoOne
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:26 am

Starlionblue wrote:
fr8mech wrote:
strfyr51 wrote:
In the USA it requires the entry door to be open and the slides armed in the event of an evacuation.


Can you cite the relevant regulation? Or, is this a company procedure?


Since airline ops manuals are legal documents, doesn't this distinction become somewhat academic? ;)

:stirthepot:


Small point of order then. but Boeing FCOMs and FCTM are not FAA/EASA approved manuals.

Checkmate:)
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:42 am

BravoOne wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
fr8mech wrote:

Can you cite the relevant regulation? Or, is this a company procedure?


Since airline ops manuals are legal documents, doesn't this distinction become somewhat academic? ;)

:stirthepot:


Small point of order then. but Boeing FCOMs and FCTM are not FAA/EASA approved manuals.

Checkmate:)


Touché. However aren't the airline ops manuals (not Boeing manuals) in the US "FAA approved"?
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
BravoOne
Posts: 2712
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:08 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
BravoOne wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:

Since airline ops manuals are legal documents, doesn't this distinction become somewhat academic? ;)

:stirthepot:


Small point of order then. but Boeing FCOMs and FCTM are not FAA/EASA approved manuals.

Checkmate:)


Touché. However aren't the airline ops manuals (not Boeing manuals) in the US "FAA approved"?
 
BravoOne
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:10 pm

Yes that is correct. My comment only meant as an unusual factoid:)
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:34 pm

BravoOne wrote:
Yes that is correct. My comment only meant as an unusual factoid:)


And as we all know, these forums are fueled by unusual factoids. :D
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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longhauler
Posts: 5710
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Re: Refueling during boarding/deplaning?

Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:56 pm

BravoOne wrote:
Small point of order then. but Boeing FCOMs and FCTM are not FAA/EASA approved manuals.
Checkmate:)

That is not the case in Canada.

Boeing (and Airbus, Embraer, et al) FCOMs and FCTMs are Transport Canada approved. In fact, when Boeing amends a manual, Transport Canada has to put their "stamp" on it before the amendment is distributed to the pilots. It is a slow (and irritating) process.

We are enduring such an ordeal right now. We recently had a misprint in limitations for the A320 that came from Airbus. They quickly advised us of the error, with their true intent, however ... for the last few months, Transport Canada has decided that they and only they can decide on how the aircraft is flown! Not the operator, not the manufacturer, but some wiener that flies a desk for a living! :roll:
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!

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