National Academies Press: OpenBook

Overview of Airport Fueling Operations (2015)

Chapter: Chapter One - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter One - Introduction ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Overview of Airport Fueling Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22141.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter One - Introduction ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Overview of Airport Fueling Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22141.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter One - Introduction ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Overview of Airport Fueling Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22141.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter One - Introduction ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Overview of Airport Fueling Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22141.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter One - Introduction ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Overview of Airport Fueling Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22141.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter One - Introduction ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Overview of Airport Fueling Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22141.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter One - Introduction ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Overview of Airport Fueling Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22141.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter One - Introduction ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Overview of Airport Fueling Operations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22141.
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3 Fueling operations at airports occur through the combined efforts of several entities working together to ensure the safe delivery of quality fuel. The basic framework for all on-airport fueling involves the airport as the landlord, with other entities as tenants that have obtained authorization from the airport owner to conduct fueling activities. As a landlord, the airport owner has legal oversight responsibili- ties for what takes place on the airport, good or bad. Legal responsibility stems from FAA regula- tions, environmental regulations, tort law, and other federal, state, or local requirements. Being knowledgeable about fueling operations and systems is an important factor in promoting safe fueling practices and mitigating negative outcomes. Preventing negative consequences from a fuel mishap is relevant to all sizes of airports. Any number of fuel-related scenarios can affect an airport’s operations and its liability exposure, including leakage of a fuel pipe, faulty tank or nozzle shutoffs, overfilling of tanks, a fixed-base operator (FBO) employee not following proper procedures, incorrect grade or contamination of fuel, vehicle breakdown, and inadequate fuel system inspection. In many cases, airport staff may know little about the complexities of airport fueling infrastruc- ture and processes, primarily because the processes are managed by others, such as with an FBO or a fuel consortium. In particular, general aviation (GA) airports can face economic decisions that could lead to the airport taking over fueling operations as a result of an FBO ceasing operations, or because of efforts by the local community to attract business, increase available services, or have the airport become more financially self-sufficient. Outside of GA airports, operators of small- to large-hub airports have fuel consortiums operating on their airports. A consortium’s purpose is to manage the costs and logistics of fuel delivery to the airline and cargo operators. Many airport managers are not versed in the dynamics of the consortia arrangements, but they have responsibility for what occurs on the airport as a result of being the landlord and having overall safety oversight of activities. This synthesis will be of value to airport operators who provide oversight of fueling operations on airports, who may engage in any aspect of fueling operations, or who may be looking for a concise source of reference material related to airport fueling operations. OBJECTIVES The objectives of this synthesis are to provide an overview of airport fueling system operations at all sizes of airports; familiarize individuals with the standards and regulations; describe common opera- tion and components; and serve as a reference for a number of fueling processes and procedures. On-airport fueling systems and components are the main focus of the information contained in the report. Not discussed are fueling systems designed to serve airport vehicles, ground service equip- ment, or fuel systems and totes used for remote helicopter operations. Practices in fuel quality testing are referenced but are not part of the study. BACKGROUND The FAA defines an airport fueling system as an arrangement of aviation fuel storage tanks, pumps, piping, and associated equipment, such as filters, water separators, hydrants and station, or aircraft fuel servicing vehicles, installed at an airport and designed to service aircraft at fixed positions chapter one INTRODUCTION

4 (AC 150/5320-4B). The design and use of an airport fuel system, whether new or existing, involves many considerations that can be grouped into three broad areas: (1) the fuel delivery processes, (2) equipment and facilities, and (3) operational consideration. Fuel Delivery Processes The overall fuel delivery process includes the organizational arrangements for obtaining, contracting and delivering fuel, along with the means by which fuel is transported from the refinery to the airport and ultimately to the aircraft. Throughout the fuel delivery process, the goal of the provider is to ensure that the correct grade, type, and quantity of fuel meet applicable specifications. A company’s profitability and liability exposure depend upon it, as does the safety of the pilot, crew, and passengers. Figure 1 illustrates the different stages and modes of fuel transport and delivery from the refinery to the aircraft. As a fuel delivery crosses from an off-airport provider onto airport property, there are three gen- eral stages of fuel processing. The first is receiving. Whether delivered by pipeline, railcar, barge, or truck, the receiving stage involves the filtration, quality testing, and checking of volumes delivered (which are affected by temperature). The accounting of fuel quantity and the testing for fuel quality are an important part of the fuel delivery process. The second stage is storage. The received fuel is transferred to the correct storage unit, and the unit is monitored to prevent overfill or other potentially hazardous situations. The delivery of fuel through each step exposes it to the potential for contamination, spillage, and error. During the second stage, fuel is allowed to sit for a time before dispensing to allow for settlement of any contaminants. The third stage is the distribution of the fuel from the storage tanks to the aircraft, whether by underground hydrant, piping to a fuel island or stationary platform, or refueler truck. The rate that fuel is pumped depends on the size of pipe or hose through which it flows, the capability of the filtration system, the size and capability of the pumps, and the pump and line pressures. Equipment and Facilities Equipment and facilities involve the infrastructure needed to accomplish the fueling process. They include transport pipelines and vehicles, fuel storage tanks and trucks, filtration, pumps, and fuel dispensing equipment. In the design and use of fuel systems, components are matched to the anticipated flow rates and pressures throughout the system, so as to not create pinch points or restricted capacity. Equipment and facility standards apply to components such as off-loading pumps, air eliminators, metering devices, prefilters, and filter separators. A component designed for an avgas system may not be suitable for use in a jet fuel system and vice versa. Understanding how the fueling equipment and facilities operate requires knowledge of the proper valves to be positioned, filtration needed, testing required, tank storage capability, and safe operating procedures. A well-designed fueling system operation will allow for testing a fuel at the beginning, midpoint, and end of the receiving process, and at every filter, pump, and low point in the system. Low points are designed into a system to allow for drainage of fuel or for the sumping of water, sediment, and other contaminants that have settled in the system. There are two general low points designed into a system. One is for quality control sumping; the other is for drainage of an isolated section for maintenance purposes. When sumping, the most com- mon types of contaminants are water, dirt, iron rust, scale, and sand. Other possible contaminants include metal particles, dust, lint from filter material and rags, gasket pieces, and sludge from microbacteria.

FIGURE 1 Fuel delivery system from refinery to aircraft. (Source: “Aviation Fueling: Technology Update.” Courtesy: Hatch Mott MacDonald.) Used with permission.

6 Operational Considerations Operational considerations take into account the means and methods that fueling processes, equip- ment, and facilities use to ensure the fuel product makes it safely into the aircraft. Human interaction is one such consideration. Other factors include the location of fuel tanks in proximity to the airport, residential, or environmentally sensitive areas, and whether tanks are inside or outside airport-secured areas. How environmental regulations are addressed and how fire or other safety protections are accomplished are matters to be considered. Lastly, the delivery of fuel to the ramp and aircraft fueling areas requires the use of vehicles and trained personnel that can increase the amount of operational activity and risk exposure on a ramp. Types of Fuel The two types of fuel most commonly used at airports are aviation turbine fuel (jet fuel) and aviation gasoline (avgas). This synthesis focuses on these two types of fuel and distinguishes between them, as necessary. Jet fuel is used in aircraft that have turbojet, turbofan, and turboprop turbine engines. Jet fuel is kerosene based, and there are a number of different grades, with the distinctions associated primarily with the additives contained in each. Two types of jet fuel are used for jet aircraft operation world- wide: Jet A and Jet A-1. The primary difference between them is the freezing temperature specifica- tion. The freezing temperature refers to the point at which water trapped in the fuel will freeze, not the freezing of the actual fuel. Jet A is the prevalent jet fuel used in the United States and has a freez- ing point higher than that of Jet A-1. Airlines are experimenting with biomass and other alternative fuels. The introduction of biomass fuels is discussed briefly in chapter seven. Avgas is intended for use in reciprocating piston-engine aircraft. As with jet fuel, different grades are available. There are airports at which higher leaded content 100 octane (100/130) is available, but the most common avgas is 100 octane low lead (100 LL). The addition of lead has environmental consequences. Therefore, care must be taken against contaminating tanks or equipment not designed for leaded fuel. The FAA is conducting research to find a lead-free alternative for use in piston-engine aircraft. A few GA airports allow nonethanol automotive gasoline (mogas) facilities to provide the fuel for aircraft approved to use such fuel. Mogas used in aircraft generally has to be free of ethanol. Local regulations in parts of the United States can make attaining mogas difficult. The current low level of demand and the need for separate tanks and equipment can hinder installation of such facilities at airports. However, demand may change as more aircraft are sold with engines able to use mogas or regular automotive fuel. LITERATURE REVIEW Preparation of this report involved a review of current literature in addition to interviews with fuel- ing operators at airports and individuals with experience and expertise with airport fueling system operations. There exists a large volume of literature related to fueling system design and operation on airports. For safety and regulatory purposes, much of a fuel system operation is standardized. New practices evolve slowly because of the vetting process that takes place through various national and international standards and review committees. A number of ACRP reports have researched and reviewed various aspects of fueling, fuel facil- ity planning, and fueling safety on airports. ACRP studies have been conducted on fuel sampling (Hagerty 2014), the right to self-fuel (ACRP Legal Research Digest 8 2009), fuel facility planning on aprons and ramps (Quinn and Richter 2013), GA airports’ facility planning (Sander et al. 2014), safety training of fuel operators (Landry and Ingolia 2011), and location of alternative fuel facilities and distribution (Miller et al. 2012). In addition, a number of published environmental reports have applicability to fuel system operation.

7 The feasibility and challenges of airport ownership of fuel facilities have been the topics of three AAAE management papers: “Getting Your Airport into the Fuel Business” (Held 1998); “A Case Study for Airport Ownership of Fuel Storage Facilities” (Potts n.d.); and “A Management Perspective of Design, Operation and Maintenance of a Fuel Farm” (Oosman n.d.). An informative case study was published in 2008 that detailed several of the fueling issues facing airport owners and airlines across the country and how they could be addressed through joint problem solving (Lahey and Heilbron 2008). In the case study, the authors addressed a wide range of legal, financial, insurance, environmental, economic, capital improvement, and policy issues associated with aviation fueling at a medium hub airport. This ACRP report reflects many of those same issues. The literature search also disclosed a number of articles published by Airport Improvement Maga- zine that document the replacement, installation, and refurbishment of fuel farm facilities. The prob- lems encountered, the solutions developed, and the lessons learned are described; they are particular to each airport and reflect the many special circumstances that can arise at airports throughout the country. A list of the articles is presented in the bibliography. In a follow-up to an earlier legal digest report, the ACRP is pursuing a study to produce a practical compendium that describes and explains the various models and legal issues that airport counsels will likely encounter during the consideration, negotiation, and administration of fuel-related issues (Pilsk forthcoming). The report is expected to be published in fall 2015. Related to fuel consortium operation, ACRP Synthesis Report 31 provides an overview of terminal building consortiums and their fundamental operations at airports (Demkovich 2011). Terminal con- sortiums operate on many of the same principles as a fuel consortium. In reviewing the various standards, suggested practices, and guidance material associated with air- port fueling systems, it was found that easy access to the standards requires purchase and/or licenses from the sponsoring organization. There is also a fair amount of proprietary information that is held by the industry, from forms to processes used by fuel, equipment, and service providers. One excep- tion is Gammon Technical Products, which has a history of providing free technical, informative, and educational material and articles on jet fuel-handling operations (www.gammontech.com). Permis- sion was obtained to reproduce a number of copyrighted diagrams and pictures that illustrate concepts expressed in this report. Appendix A contains a list of documents that are pertinent to fueling systems installation, operation, and maintenance. Several professional organizations have established standards or guidelines for the safe design, manufacture, maintenance and operation of fuel systems and their components, equipment, and vehi- cles. The use of a particular standard is a determination made through generally accepted practices, contract or lease agreement, or regulatory adoption. The literature search identified several key docu- ments that address fuel-handling operations at U.S. airports. 1. ATA Specification 103, Standard for Jet Fuel Quality Control at Airports, is produced by A4A and provides guidance for the safe storage and distribution of jet fuel at airports, as currently practiced in the commercial aviation industry. Domestic airlines in the United States use this standard. 2. The National Air Transportation Association’s (NATA) Refueling and Quality Control Proce- dures for Airport Service and Support Operations (2000) provides information and detailed procedures on the safe handling and delivery of aviation fuels. It is used primarily by FBOs, GA, and air taxi operators. 3. The ASTM International Manual 5, Aviation Fuel Quality Control Procedures (2009), pro- vides a complete explanation of several common procedures used by fuel handlers to assess and protect aviation fuel quality. Although not a specification, it is a useful reference document. It is intended to be an educational tool and provide sufficient information for fuel handlers to make an informed approach to aviation fuel quality. 4. The FAA’s Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5230-4B (2012), Aircraft Fuel Storage, Handling, Training and Dispensing on Airports, contains specifications and guidance for the storage,

8 handling, and dispensing of aviation fuel on airports. In addition, this AC provides standards and guidance for the training of personnel who conduct fueling activities. A Part 139 certificated airport has requirements for inspection of fueling facilities and the training of personnel. This AC provides guidance for that purpose. 5. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code 407, Standard for Aircraft Fuel Servic- ing, outlines vital safety provisions for procedures, equipment, and installations during fuel ser- vicing of aircraft. The standard covers design requirements of equipment and operational issues, such as for the prevention and control of spills, the need for emergency fuel shutoff, aircraft fuel service locations, defueling, and loading of aircraft fuel servicing vehicles. NFPA 407 is sup- ported by the FAA for fire protection safety at airports. Other NFPA standards are applicable and have been adopted by local communities. 6. Petroleum Equipment Institute/Recommended Practice (PEI/RP) 1300-13, Recommended Practices for the Design, Installation, Service, Repair and Maintenance of Aviation Fueling Systems, was developed at the request of FBOs, equipment manufacturers, and service and repair contractors. The practices outlined in the publication constitute a synthesis of require- ments and recommendations published by equipment manufacturers, petroleum marketers, and regulatory agencies. Other standards, suggested practices, and guidance materials are available and shown in Appendix A. COMMERCIAL VERSUS SELF-FUELING The scope of this synthesis does not include aspects of self-fueling by tenants. However, a distinction is made between the terms “tenant self-fueling” and “commercial self-fueling.” In AC 150/5190-6 (2007), the FAA defines self-fueling as “the fueling or servicing of an aircraft . . . by the owner (or operator) of the aircraft with his or her own employees and using his or her own equipment.” This contrasts to the definition of commercial self-fueling found in the same AC: “a fueling concept that enables a pilot to fuel an aircraft from a commercial fuel pump installed for that purpose by a fixed-base operator (FBO) or the airport sponsor. The fueling facility may or may not be attended.” In either case, the fueling system components, equipment, and processes are often of the same design and function. FAA specifically notes in Order 5190.6B, Airport Compliance Manual, that fueling from a pull- up commercial fuel pump is not considered self-fueling under federal grant assurances because it involves fueling from a self-service pump made available by the airport or a commercial aeronauti- cal service provider (FAA Order 5190.6B 2009). In this regard, the fueling systems described in this synthesis include equipment and designs that incorporate aspects of self-fueling but that are com- mercial fueling in purpose. An airline qualifies for tenant self-fueling. As a standard condition in their airport lease agree- ments, airlines and air cargo operators often reserve the right to obtain fuel from a supplier of their choice. They do this primarily to control their fuel and operational costs. However, most airlines choose to not use their own employees to fuel aircraft and instead use a management company or into-plane agent to serve their aircraft. The fueling of aircraft constitutes an aeronautical activity by FAA definition (AC 150/5190-7 2006). Thus, an airline is subject to an agreement with the airport for the right to dispense fuel and for inspections by the airport. ACRP has published a legal digest report on the right to self-fuel (The Right to Self-fuel 2009). The digest serves to introduce readers to the topic of self-fueling, as well as to basic information vital to understanding the methodology used in determining compliance with federal grant assurances. It does not delve into the technical aspects of fueling services provided at airports. It does address topics such as security, environmental concerns, insurance requirements, exclusive rights violations, economic nondiscrimination, and the overall safe and efficient operation of the airport—all of which have applications to an airport operator’s fueling responsibilities.

9 FUNDING OF FUEL INFRASTRUCTURE Airports that receive federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant funding assistance are obligated under the grant assurances to strive for financial self-sufficiency [Grant Assurances (Obligations)—Airports 2014]. Revenue generated at the airport is to be applied toward the capi- tal and operating cost of the facility. The sale of fuel is often a primary means by which airports, especially smaller ones, can achieve self-sufficiency. Before 2003, federal AIP funds were not available for funding fuel system installation or upgrades because such items were deemed a revenue-producing activity that did not fulfill the public purpose of the AIP requirement. Eligibility for funding was changed in 2003 with the Vision 100—Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (Vision 100 2003). Project eligibility was expanded to include the funding of new fuel facilities at nonprimary airports only. Certain costs are ineligible, such as those associated with maintenance, including replacement or upgrades of existing fuel systems; replace- ment of existing pumps with card reader pumps; demolition of an existing fuel farm; or environ- mental mitigation and/or cleanup (Revenue Producing Facility Policy 2014). However, according to the policy, an airport’s takeover of existing fueling activities from a fuel facility operator, such as an FBO going out of business, may be funded through AIP on a case-by-case basis. DATA COLLECTION Owing to the standardized nature of fuel system components and design, a formal survey was not part of this synthesis. A literature search, airport site visits, and interviews with knowledgeable indi- viduals from oil companies, airport operators, fueling suppliers, fuel-handling service providers, fuel system auditors, and industry insurance providers were the primary means of data collection. This report synthesizes the literature, interviews, and communications. Airports participating in interviews and site visits included: North Tampa Aero Park, Florida; Kenmore Air Harbor, Washington; Pekin Municipal Airport, Illinois; Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport, Maine; Greeneville–Greene County Municipal Airport, Tennessee; Renton Municipal Air- port, Washington; Texas Gulf Port Regional Airport, Texas; Memphis–Shelby County International Airport, Tennessee; and Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport. Organizations or individuals contributing to the synthesis include the Aircraft International Group; AAAE; A4A; National Air Transportation Association; Alaska Department of Transporta- tion and Public Facilities; North Dakota Aeronautics Commission; AvFuel Corporation; LAX Fuel Corporation; Marathon Petroleum Company; Swissport International, Ltd.; Willis Insurance, Inc.; Wilson Air Center; and NATA Safety 1st Ground Handling Auditor consultants. In addition, a number of equipment and fuel providers at the National Business Aviation Association convention contrib- uted to the report. REPORT ORGANIZATION This synthesis report is organized into eight chapters with additional sections for references, acro- nyms, glossary, and appendices. Chapter one provides an introduction to the synthesis and describes its purpose, along with an overview of the literature review. Background information is provided on the fuel delivery processes, equipment and facilities, operational considerations for fueling aircraft, and the distinction between commercial fueling and self-service fueling. Chapter two provides an overview of regulations affecting the fueling processes on an airport, including FAA and environmental regulations. Chapter three describes the parties involved in ownership and management of fuel facilities and fuel handling.

10 Chapter four provides information on the design of fuel systems and describes the components and types of delivery systems from the oil producer to the into-plane agent. Chapter five briefly provides background on organizations that develop standards, regulations, and training for fuel handlers. Chapter six addresses fuel safety practices and issues associated with fire safety, human health, human factors, and failure modes. Highlighted are fuel characteristics and examples of accident and incidents. Various risks and issues in fuel-handling processes are described. Examples of safety risk assessment practices associated with a safety management system are given in the Appendices. Chapter seven addresses risk management issues related to fueling processes by describing sev- eral areas of risk exposure. Case examples are provided to illustrate certain aspects of fueling prac- tices at airports. Chapter eight provides conclusions, suggestions for future research, and a list of suggestions from the literature and interviews. Appendix A provides a list of resources that is can be of use to any operator having oversight or responsibilities for fueling operations.

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Synthesis 63: Overview of Airport Fueling Operations explores airport fueling system operations at all sizes of airports. The report describes fueling standards and regulations, common operations and components, and serves as a reference for a number of fueling processes and procedures. On-airport fueling systems and components are the main focus of the report.

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