6th Jun 2012, 00:03
The 737 refuel station is on the right wing but the 787 is on the left wing. Excluding the 757 and freighters, all other Boeing aircraft in-between have refuel stations on both wings to expedite fuelling for high/maximum fuel loads and presumably also to offer an option of fuelling side to the airline where appropriate.
I'm not sure if the left wing refuel station is an option on Boeing aircraft but for Airbus aircraft this seems to be the general philosophy.
So my question is - what's the safest fuelling side? On the right wing side of the 737 refuel station you have baggage loaders whizzing past and on the left wing side of the 787 you have passengers, however nowadays they are more likely to be seggregated from direct exposure to a fuel spill thanks to airbridges.
Any thoughts, comments or corrections welcome!
Here's a thought: Why not in the middle?
Since fueling from one side or the other requires opening a crossover and that means there's fuel plumbing running laterally through the aircraft, why not tap in along that line?
It would place the fueling point lower, making access easier from the ground. And it could be reached from either side, giving ground operations some additional flexibility.
The down side would be having to park the pump truck closer to the aircraft rather than outboard of the engine (inner engines?)
On the 767 the fuel panel is on the left side, right side is optional.
Is it safer? For who? The a/c or the guy at the fuel truck who could get hit by a baggage trolley?
6th Jun 2012, 05:26
On the B737,one side is for fuelling,service and loading cargo while the other is for pax.
That avoids in my opinion pax being close to fuel leaks,some idiots are still trying to light up before entering the aircraft.(not all are as quick to respond as england ground staff:E).
In case of fuel leak developping into a fire,the left side (half of total exits) can be used...away from flames and fuel leaks to disembark/evacuate.
The loaders are not allowed to whizz as you said under the wing nore to park there for obvious reasons.
6th Jun 2012, 06:13
I preferred the right side fueling panel so that the aircraft could load from the standard left side jetbridge without placing passengers too close to the fueler. That's just my $0.02 though.
7th Jun 2012, 02:03
It's crossed my mind before but there are design issues among which refuel gallery unusables that can otherwise be avoided when taking advantage of the wing dihedral to naturally drain these into the tanks.
Another one that springs to mind is that wingboxes aren't the most ideal interface environment from a structural complexity perspective. The wingbox clearance from the refuel coupling and its frangibility constraint (i.e. where the bowser drives off with the hose still attached) are a few such more concerns.
I appreciate that scissor lifts are a critical path item when refuelling but then again they're being paid to deliver a service - so they better make sure it's working! Also in bigger aircraft the clearance of the belly from the ground is above head hight so you'd need a ladder to connect the hose and I know what most operators would prefer the scissor lift over the ladder anytime given the option! I like your thinking though.
I purposely asked a general question to see what everyone considered as safest given that no regulations exist today that point to the exclusive use of either the left or right hand fuelling side. As de facto and Island-Flyer point out, it seems that experience and subjective risk assessment of each airline and/or handling agent (assuming the provisions for both left and right wing couplings exist) comes into play when selecting the fuelling side.
So fast forward to the 787 and imagine you're the last passenger that has boarded through the stairs as there was no available airbridge. Once you've sat yourself down you hear an announcement saying that refuelling is still in progress so keep your seat belts unfastened. Are the right side doors going to be armed? Otherwise the only stairs are on the left side and in case of a fire you'll have to pull some pretty stunts when getting off the aircraft.
7th Jun 2012, 13:49
So fast forward to the 787
I am not qualified on the 787.
Are the right side doors going to be armed?
Most probably not.However 2 high flow exits must be available.(depends on type and airlines).
In that case ,one high flow would be the stairs by which you arrived and the othe r ,the LEFT AFT entry.
Cabin crew must be briefed as per which entries/exits to be guarded/armed/kept clear in case they are needed.
Thanks for the input, a1rm4n (http://www.pprune.org/members/339793-a1rm4n). I can sort of answer my own question: The real estate under the wing is largely avoided by other ground services, making it available for refueling without creating additional comflicts.