Hot, Hot, Hot Refueling
As many pilots know, refueling the aircraft while the engines are still running, also known as “hot refueling,” can potentially be a high-risk situation without properly trained personnel. Although hot refueling may be the most practical option for certain operations, it should always be handled with great attention and care. Below are 3 steps to safer hot refueling practices and procedures:
- Communicate. Before starting any hot refueling operations, be sure personnel are briefed on specific refueling procedures for the make and model of aircraft. Hand signals/communication keys, normal servicing procedures, and emergency procedures should also be discussed.
- Know your place. When it comes to hot refueling, understanding where you’re supposed to be is highly important to ensure operational safety. Pilots should remain at the flight controls. Being able to quickly shut down the engine is imperative for everyone’s safety. Refueling crew should be aware of blade clearance and ensure no units fall beyond this threshold. Any persons not involved in the operation should keep clear of the area.
- Always be alert. For both pilot and refueling crew, continually monitoring the area to ensure there is not blade or equipment interference will help guarantee safe procedures are followed. The safety of yourself and others can be greatly endangered when there is lack of attention given to any aspect of the hot refueling procedure.
Overall, hot refueling can be a smooth, well-executed process when there is proper training and communication for the process. Always be sure all personnel are completely trained and well prepared for the procedure at hand before undergoing hot refueling operations.
Disclaimer: The above steps are only considerations to complement hot refueling procedures. Remember to always follow aircraft and operational limitations.