Jet Fuel Guidelines

Jet Fuel Guidelines

One of the most critical aspects of operating an aviation fleet is to ensure that all aspects of your fueling operations are compliant with applicable industry and regulatory safety standards.

Two important references for aviation fueling professionals are NFPA 407 “Standard for Aircraft Fuel Servicing” and ATA Specification No.103. NFPA 407 is published by the National Fire Protection Association of Quincy, MA while A T A 103 is published by the Air Transport Association of America in Washington, D.C.

Here is a partial checklist of safety issues outlined in NFPA 407 and ATA 103 relating specifically to Jet Fuel handling that you should consider in evaluating the safety of your organization’s fueling procedures.

Jet Fuel Receipt

The receiving storage tank should always be gauged prior to delivery to verify that there is sufficient room to accept the new fuel delivery.

Always connect a grounding cable to the delivery truck to prevent a difference in electrostatic potential.

After allowing the delivery truck to set for a minimum of ten minutes, conduct a “Clear and Bright Test” on each compartment to check for visible contaminants.

An API Gravity Test(conducted with an ASTM hydrometer similar to the ones used to check your automotive battery) should next be conducted on incoming Jet Fuel. API Gravity must be from 37 through 51 degrees, corrected to 60 degrees F. The API Gravity read on your hydrometer should match the reading recorded on the fuel delivery manifest (there should not be even 1 degree of variance).

All Jet Fuel should be filtered into storage upon receipt.

A minimum of thirty minutes for settling should be allowed before gauging and recording tank volume.  The receiving tank should be allowed to settle as long as possible before dispensing fuel from it. Settling time of one hour per foot of product delivered is desirable.

The sumps of all receiving tanks and filter should bedrained after fuel receipt and a White Bucket test performed.

Under no circumstances is it acceptable to receive and dispense from the same tank simultaneously.

Jet Fuel Storage

Jet Fuel should only be stored in stainless steel, aluminum or steel tanks (which have an epoxy lining suitable specifically for Jet Fuel service).

Jet Fuel Storage Tanks should be equipped with a sump drain to remove accumulated water. A manual water drain valve (with frost protection) should also be provided on above-ground storage tanks.

Jet Fuel Storage Tanks should be equipped with proper venting, both normal & emergency.

Jet Fuel should be recirculated through filtration on a regular (weekly) basis to maintain product quality. Fuel samples should be taken while the system is pressurized (flowing) to determine quality of stored product.

Proper signage is required for all Jet Fuel Storage Tanks & piping. Jet Fuel identification decals employ white letters on a black background. Pipe banding of Jet Fuel pipelines employs a single black band

Flammable, No Smoking, Emergency Shut-Off and other safety signage is to be provided in addition to product identification.

Jet Fuel Dispensing

Cast iron, copper and galvanized steel piping, valves and fittings are not permitted for use with aviation fuels. Ductile iron valves are permitted.

Jet Fuel Filter/Separators should meet API 1581, Group II, Class B, Third Edition performance criteria and be minimally equipped with an air eliminator with check valve, pressure relief valve, piston-type differential pressure gauge, and manual water drain valve. Date of the last filter change should always be marked on the vessel. In cold weather climates, an explosion-proof, thermostatically-controlled heater is recommended for installation in the filter sump housing.

Filter/Separators should be used to prevent the introduction of water contaminated fuel into the aircraft.


Aircraft fueling facilities must be designed and equipped with Emergency Fuel ShutoffStations capable of shutting off fuel flow to all dispensing outlets.

All fuel dispensing systems should be equipped with a Deadman Control. For overwing refueling, this control is built into the manual overwing nozzle. For underwing (or single point) refueling, deadman control typically consists of a control valve with a hand-held electric or hydraulic deadman handle (switch) deployed via a cable or hose reel assembly.

Static Protection in the form of static cable reels should be employed to bond aircraft to refueling vehicles, carts or cabinets to prevent a difference in their electrostatic potential.

All refueling hoses should comply with API Bulletin 1529 and should each be serial numbered and furnished with certified test data.

Bottom Loading Nozzles should be equipped with a minimum 60 mesh strainer screen.

During fueling operations, fire extinguishers should be available on all aircraft servicing ramps and aprons. Each refueler trailer should be equipped with a minimum of two (2) 20-B:C Fire Extinguishers; one on each side of the vehicle.

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