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Fuel matters

Page history last edited by Béatrice H. Alves 2 years, 7 months ago


Lexical domain

Lack of fuel

airport facilities/installations, ground services, high ground, positions/locations, endurance/fuel remaining


Some pictures




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Hundreds of gallons of fuel leak from Thomas Cook holiday jet seconds after take-off




This is the dramatic moment a packed British holiday jet had to make an emergency landing at an Italian airport as hundreds of gallons of fuel leaked from a wing.

The Boeing 757 belonging to holiday company Thomas Cook had just taken off from Turin's Caselle airport en route to Birmingham, with 231 passengers who had finished a half-term ski break.

But just minutes after leaving the tarmac the captain of flight 5739 radioed the control tower to alert them that he was dealing with a major emergency after he spotted the gushing fuel leak from the right hand wing..........     Read more

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Dumping before going back

Flight AF006 Paris CDG to New York JFK . Due a technical reason (AirBrake), the plane has to go back to Paris in order to get fixed. Before landing the plane is dumping its fuel and is being escorted by a Mirage 2000 from the Armee de l'Air.


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Dumping fuel on ground

DUMPING FUEL RUSSIAN STYLE !!. Take a look at all that fuel gushing out of the wing. You will be happy to know the aircraft did NOT depart. They shut down the left engine and taxied back to a bay.


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Cow dies due to fuel leak


Read a little and see more pics here.


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Fuel Starvation


A Beechcraft C90GTx King Air, (brand new aircraft, FAA Certificate Issue Date 02 April 2012 !!) enroute from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport - KFXE, Florida, USA to Hato-Curacao International Airport - TNCC, Willemstad, Curacao, reported an emergency due to fuel starvation and tried to reach Queen Beatrix International Airport - TNCA, Oranjestad, Aruba, but didn't made it and ditched into Caribbean Sea, about 20 miles northeast of Oranjestad, Aruba. The damage was relative minor, but the aircraft later sank to the bottom of the sea.

Read more about it here


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Fuel leak and Hairspray

c/n 186 - During refuelling , a tin of hair spray burst so setting fire to the fuel . No injuries sustained and no major damage to the aircraft.


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Fuel leak after crash landing


Heathrow plane crash 'not mechanical failure'


Heathrow plane crash was 'not caused by a mechanical failure' a report has revealed
The AAIB found no evidence of mechanical failure 


By David Millward, Transport Editor 6:50PM GMT 18 Feb 2008


A fuel leak from the British Airways Boeing 777 which crash-landed at Heathrow could have engulfed passengers and crew in a fireball, a report has revealed.


The latest Air Accidents Investigation Branch report found that valves designed to cut off fuel in the event of an emergency were open when its team examined the aircraft.

Read more here



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Fuel leaking onto the engine


A bad day for Air India! Vigilant passengers onboard "KONARK" bound for Riyadh today at 10.30am averted what would have been a sure disaster! Apparently, a fuel leak from the wings onto the engines provoked sparks and fire from engine1 (extreme right). Luckily, the blaze was doused in the nick of time. All 213 passengers & 15 crew were evacuated through emergency exit chutes of the 744 which was brought to a halt on taxiway A3. Notice the badly charred engine 1 cowling and the wing leading edge! This was the scene at 2pm! Couldn't help the bad weather and heat haze!



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Fuel leak while disembarking

The Airport Fire Service are attending to a fuel leak on the port side of the aircraft. It was spotted as the passengers were disembarking and the aircraft was quickly cleared.


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Fuel spilling on the taxiway

Old scanned print-Full evacuation after the tail engine caught fire whilst taxiing for departure to Newark.Fuel started spilling onto the taxiway and ATC called the crew to shutdown engines.


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Fuel tank ruptured

Firefighters spray a foam to prevent an explosion due to the fuel tank been ruptured by the accident.


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Flying with no fuel???



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Some videos


Electrical airliners by 2050?

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Solar Impulse across the U.S.

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How to fuel an airplane

Refueling in Congo


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Speed bird low on fuel


Dumping fuel


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Dealing with a lack of fuel


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Ice crystals in fuel

British Airways Flight 38 (call sign Speedbird 38) was a scheduled flight from Beijing Capital International Airport which crash landed just short of the runway at its destination, London Heathrow Airport, on 17 January 2008 after an 8,100-kilometre (4,400 nmi; 5,000 mi) flight. There were no fatalities but 47 people sustained injuries; one serious. The 150-tonne aircraft was the first Boeing 777-200ER to be written off in the model's history.

Ice crystals in the fuel were the cause of the accident, clogging the fuel-oil heat exchanger (FOHE) of each engine. This restricted fuel flow to the engines when thrust was demanded during the final approach to Heathrow. Boeing identified the problem as specific to the Rolls-Royce engine fuel-oil heat exchangers, and Rolls-Royce has subsequently developed a modification to its FOHE; the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) mandated that all affected aircraft were to be fitted with the modification before 1 January 2011. Boeing 777 aircraft powered by GE or Pratt & Whitney engines were not affected by the problem.

Read more about it on Wikipedia

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An Airbus can glide

Air Transat Flight 236

by The Custodian


On August 24, 2001, Capt. Robert Piche (a pilot for the Canadian charter airline Air Transat) did something that I would have (until now) flatly told you was impossible had it been proposed.

Air Transat Flight 236, an Airbus A330 twin-engined aircraft with 304 aboard, was in transit from Toronto to Lisbon on August 21st. The A330's ETOPS rating is 120 minutes. Over the Atlantic, the crew received a warning that the right engine had developed a fuel leak. It was shut down. At this point, the aircraft is theoretically able to fly on the remaining engine for the duration of its ETOPS (120 minutes); accordingly, the aircrew declared that they were diverting to Lajes airfield in the Azores islands, approximately 150 nm away.

There were further problems, however. The fuel leak was caused by a pipe breaking inside one of the Rolls-Royce Trent 700 series engines. This leak, which was caused by a low-pressure fuel line coming into contact with one of the hydraulic lines, ended up draining the entire fuel system, perhaps due to an improperly-acting weight and balance controller or valve. In any case, thirteen minutes after the right engine was shut down, the left engine experienced flame out from fuel starvation.

At the time this happened, the airplane was 85 nm north of its destination (and the nearest airfield), flying at 34,500 feet. When the second engine failed, generated electrical power was lost; hydraulics apparently continued to function, driven by the 'windmilling' fans of the left engine and their associated generator.

Capt. Piche and crew managed to fly the unpowered jetliner for 85 (some sources say 100+) nautical miles, and landed it at Lajes airfield on Terceira island. The landing blew eight of the ten tires on the airplane; however, it remained otherwise intact, and evacuation was complete within 90 seconds. Less than a dozen people were injured, all minor; most of those occurred during the evacuation.

Yes, you read that right; they apparently managed to glide a jetliner 85 miles. The fact that they were at 34,500 feet means that they knew what they were going to have to do; a fuel leak problem with one engine calls for the Airbus to move down to 15,000 feet or below so that outside pressure is high enough to prevent vapor lock in the fuel system which (presumably) has been compromised to outside air. The crew would have received notice of an impending imbalance in the fuel system on their left lower cockpit MFD in the form of a colored diagram of the fuel feed system appearing.

Even so, if we give them the benefit of a few thousand feet, they were at an altitude of approx. 6 miles. Traveling 85 miles means that (woohoo, math!) this particular A330 achieved a glide ratio of over 12.5:1. For comparison, a Schweizer 2-33 - a standard two-seat training sailplane - has a glide ratio (gliders call it sink rate) of around 24:1. In other words, an unpowered, ultralight all-wing airplane designed for glide only did perhaps twice as well in distance.

So, they knew they were running short of fuel; they climbed the airplane as much as they could before losing power (no doubt gaining as much airspeed as possible as well). Then they managed to glide in. Amazing.

According to records, the trip took approximately twenty minutes, which jibes well with the airplane's probable 'best glide' speed - ~215 kts - and the additional energy available from higher altitudes. Probably the most significant factor in their success was Capt. Piche's prior work experience - he had spent many of his 30 years flying time as a bush pilot, and as such, was an expert in dealing with air currents and emergencies sans runway. Still, they damn well better give that whole flight crew a massive raise.

The story doesn't quite end there, however. The investigation that followed determined that Air Transat had been lax in its maintenance inspections; the air carrier was fined CDN $250,000 by Transport Canada, and their fleet's ETOPS ratings were capped at 90 minutes. The A330s in the fleet were dropped to 60 minutes.


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Saving fuel by using wind


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The future of flight - new aircraft for less environment impact

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Electric aircraft

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The SUGAR Volt by Boeing and Nasa

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Electric Green Taxiing System



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Some listening

Listen to a fuel related communication




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ICAO Carbon Emissions Calculator

Watch live streaming video from icao at livestream.com



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Some reading


Fuel Imbalance

Fuel Imbalance

In-flight fuel imbalance occurs when the quantity of fuel between the fuel tanks in the left and right wings is unequal. A fuel imbalance can occur for many reasons, including acceptable variations in the performance of fuel system components, variations in engine fuel burn characteristics, faults in internal fuel system components, or fuel system or structural faults that cause fuel to leak overboard. Operators can avoid unnecessary dispatch delays and maintenance work by understanding the causes of in-flight fuel imbalance, proper fuel management, fuel imbalance indication, and airplane dispatch procedures following the display of fuel imbalance indications.


Read more about it on the Boeing magazine Aero




Can I fly with a clear conscience?


I'd like to travel by plane, but it seems iniquitous that air fares are so low. Can you offer me any reasons why I might fly with a clear conscience?


Icelandic volcanic ash cloud grounds UK flights

"It’s true, this industry can be hard to love": Lucy Siegle on the aviation industry. Photograph: EPA


It is time for the aviation industry to pay the ferryman. Hitherto flying has soared above climate change regulation but from 30 April 2013 the EU dictates that it must sign up to emissions trading. In common with other heavily polluting industries, this means putting a cap on CO² emissions for planes arriving or departing from EU airports. Airlines would trade in pollution permits on an aviation carbon market. The theory is that fleets that are low carbon would be rewarded and this would incentivise airlines to invest in eco-friendly fleets.

OK, so this is no tax on aviation fuel and there's plenty of turbulence to come – industry lobbyists are battling like fury to water down legislation, and outside the EU some carriers are refusing to report their emissions. (Preposterously, China claims dispensation on account of being a developing country.) But the fact that the aviation industry is being made to act like other massive energy consumers (US commercial airlines burn about 50m gallons of kerosene per day) may offer you comfort.

Read the complete article on The Guardian



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Ascent’s Thin Panels Make Solar Energy Affordable

By Guy Norris - September 03, 2012



The thought of solar cells brings to mind the image of solid blocks of flat photovoltaic panels extending in rigid wings from a satellite or bolted to the roof of a building. Now picture a solar panel so thin and flexible that it can be rolled up and molded like wallpaper around fuselages, wings or any other shape.

This is the breakthrough developed by Thornton, Colo.-based Ascent Solar Technologies, which earned a place in Time magazine's Top 50 inventions of 2011 for its innovation. With obvious applications to aerospace, where affordable solar energy is always at a premium—particularly in space or the upper reaches of the atmosphere—the wider uses of the technology are bounded only by the imagination. The latest commercial use of the company's thin-film technology, for example, is in an integrated protective case for the Apple iPhone which doubles as a charger.

“We started looking at thin film [photovoltaics] in the early 1990s at Martin Marietta,” says Ascent Solar Technologies' chief technology officer, Joe Armstrong. “The idea was part of making satellites less expensive to launch and, although the vehicles got smaller and technology got better in terms of power storage, affordable [photo]voltaics was the one thing that didn't seem to make any progress.”

A lightweight semiconductor material called CIGS (copper, indium, gallium and selenium) offered “the best opportunity in terms of headroom and could be flexible,” says Armstrong. The CIGS was combined with a plastic substrate that enables the photovoltaic (PV) panels to be curved or shaped around uneven surfaces.


Read the complete article on Aviation Week


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AIRE green projects show 2% CO2 reduction possible without new technology

By Geoffrey Thomas

Eco-Aviation Today, March 15, 2010, p.1[2]

Reductions in fuel burn and thus emissions of up to 2% can be realized on transatlantic flights without any major technological investment through simple improvements in cooperation among ATC, airports and airlines, according to an analysis presented at ATC Global in Amsterdam March 9. Initial data from the ongoing study, dubbed "Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions" (AIRE), were released by SEASR and FAA. SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) is the project aimed at completely overhauling European airspace.

While the main aim of the test campaign was to evaluate the applicability and effectiveness of green flight procedures, concrete fuel and CO2 savings could be measured. During 2009, 1,152 flights were performed in the AIRE framework and analysis of the data collected showed that 400 tonnes of CO2 could be saved. The flights were focused around six projects: Paris (ground movements, green arrivals and departures), Madrid and Stockholm (green approaches and climbs), Portugal and Iceland (oceanic flight optimization). A major area for attention was keeping aircraft at optimum and constant thrust settings, and savings varied from 1.2% for cruise to a massive 20% for CDA approaches.

SESAR Executive Director Patrick Ky said at the conference that "the AIRE activities performed in 2009 have shown encouraging results. It is now essential that we transform them from 'flight trials' to 'day-to-day operations' in order to realize the full benefits of SESAR. The initiative has also proven that environmental benefits and economic reasoning are not contradictions." He reminded delegates that SESAR's goal is to enable a reduction of environmental impact per flight by 10%. He explained that the "additional 8% fuel saving would come from another 300 projects in the SESAR work program."

FAA worked with selected partners in North America and Europe to conduct trials in the oceanic and arrival domains in 2009. They completed 73 trials on oceanic optimization and 68 trials to reduce arrival emissions into Miami.


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Researchers continue to study alternative fuels for aviation

By: Curt Epstein

March 1, 2010

Environment, Fuel


As government and industry plan for more environmentally friendly energy sources, companies continue to invest in and research alternative fuels for aviation. The U.S. Air Force, one of the government’s largest consumers of fuel, for example, has set a goal that 50 percent of its fuel purchases be composed of domestic synthetic fuel blends by 2016, while IATA has presented a target of 10-percent alternative fuel use for its members by 2017.


In addition, President Obama last month announced a series of steps aimed at boosting biofuel production, including a recently finalized EPA rule to implement a long-term renewable fuels mandate of 36 billion gallons by 2022, with nearly two thirds of that amount to come from advanced biofuels.

Read more


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Flying with less fuel???

Airbus brings A320neo EIS forward to October 2015

By Aaron Karp | April 7, 2011



A320neo with Pratt & Whitney engines. Photo: Courtesy, Airbus.

Airbus said it is bringing forward the A320neo's entry into service from 2016 to October 2015, and will begin the program's industrial development phase "in earnest" with Pratt & Whitney's PW1100G serving as the "lead development engine."

So far, Airbus has received more than 300 commitments for the re-engined narrowbody through a combination of firm orders and MOUs; all three engine selections made to date have been won by Pratt's geared turbofan powerplant (ATW Daily News, April 5). CFM International's Leap-X engine is also an option on the program.

"The exceptional market demand for the A320neo family as airlines recognize the operational, economic and environmental advantages ... has encouraged us to advance the entry into service date," Airbus COO-Customers John Leahy said in a statement. "Together with our engine partners, Pratt & Whitney and CFMI, we're making every possible effort to bring the first A320neo aircraft into service for our customers as quickly as possible."



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New winglets, less fuel

Split Scimitar Winglets set to become a common sight

By Ben Coxworth

April 10, 2014

A pre-certified Split Scimitar Winglet installed on a United Boeing 737-800 during the tes...


A pre-certified Split Scimitar Winglet installed on a United Boeing 737-800 during the testing phase that began July 2013


If you think that you've been seeing some funny-looking airliners in the past couple of months, you're not imagining things. On February 18th, a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 made the world's first commercial flight by an aircraft equipped with fuel-saving Split Scimitar Winglets.


Regular blended winglets are now quite common on commercial aircraft, as they improve aerodynamics and thus reduce fuel consumption. Made by Aviation Partners Boeing, the Split Scimitar Winglets reportedly do an even better job – when retrofitted onto United's existing Next Generation 737 Blended Winglets, they should reduce fuel consumption by two percent per aircraft.

The airline plans to add the new winglets to its entire fleet of 737, 757 and 767 airliners. By doing so, it estimates that it will save "more than 65 million gallons [246,051,780 liters] of fuel a year, equivalent to more than 645,000 metric tons [710,991 tons] of carbon dioxide and $200 million per year in jet fuel costs."

Read the full article on Gizmag 


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Could computerising air-traffic control save carbon, time and money?

Meet the inventor trying to drag air-traffic control into the digital era while slashing global carbon emissions


The sun sets behind the air traffic control tower at East Midlands Airport

Could air-traffic control become computerised? Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters


Wouldn't it be nice if there were an easy way to slash global carbon emissions by more than 40m tonnes each year? That's a serious saving – about as much as the entire Danish economy.

What if the total impact on combatting climate change was twice as much as that figure suggests, because all that carbon would have been emitted – along with a cocktail of other pollutants – at high altitude? And what if the plan would also save huge amounts of time and money?

If that sounds too good to be true, then you probably have't met David Parkinson, the inventor and engineer on a one-man mission to drag air-traffic control (ATC) into the digital era. Parkinson believes that using computers to calculate perfectly smooth trajectories for planes could painlessly cut 8% of aviation emissions.

"We've already done it on the railways," Parkinson says. "Many people assume that train signals are still controlled manually by signalmen, but in truth the system was automated years ago."

Parkinson opens his laptop to reveal a radar-style map with flashing little dots representing planes moving towards their destination. This, he explains, is a working prototype of his system – a model of airspace above the south-east UK. It looks like the screens used by the existing air-control teams, but there's a crucial difference: the computer calculates the most efficient trajectories for each plane, which saves time and fuel compared with sticking to sub-optimal routes flown at the moment.

The problem, according to Parkinson, is that the current system is hugely out of date. "The operational concept is 50 or 60 years old. The guys do a good job. They're very skilful people. But the tools at their disposal include scribbling on paper strips. Planes have enormous navigational capability that has evolved over time, but for largely historical reasons controllers are still chained to manual systems."


Read more here



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Some questions

  • Is aviation responsible for the global warming?
  • How can fuel efficiency be improved?
  • What do you thing of biofuels?
  • What can you do to reduce air pollution from aviaiton?
  • Is fuel the only pollution problem related to aviaiton?
  • Have you ever run out of fuel?
  • What factors need to be considered when estimating the amount of fuel needed?
  • Describe a fuel-related incident you know of or have had.
  • What type of factors can cause fuel-related incidents?
  • What will aircraft use for fuel in the future?


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  1. from English for Aviation - Express series - Oxford
  2. http://www.atwonline.com/channels/eco/article.html?articleID=3244

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