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Aircraft refueling from left wing

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Aircraft refueling from left wing

Old 12th Mar 2020, 17:41
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Aircraft refueling from left wing

Any ideas why boeing made the fueling panel on the 787 on the left wing? This where passengers usually boards and that and might impose some risks to them.
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Old 12th Mar 2020, 17:59
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Not sure how high you think the level of risk is but FWIW a lot of Boeing’s finest (can’t speak for the 78) have a refuelling panel on both wings - even so usually refuelling is done through the left panel (if only using one bowser).

The RHS usually gets pretty busy on the ramp with catering trucks and cargo loading activities...
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Old 12th Mar 2020, 18:23
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Most airports which can accommodate 747/767/777/787 and Airbus equivalents use hydrant refuelling which means a pot embedded somewhere on the stand, which a dispensing truck plugs in to then attaches a hose to the aircraft. The dispensing truck has 2 functions - filtering the fuel and measuring the volume dispensed. It may well be that the aircraft is positioned so that refuelling can only take place under the left wing. Most airports are designed with more than one pot per stand. In the case of Gatwick, for instance, some Piers are set up for multiple different aircraft sizes/types so when initially laid out, pot positioning was carefully gone in to. Digging up the stand to reposition pots would be a massive undertaking. The dispensing truck has only very limited range of movement.
A 747 would take at least 3 oversize fuel bowsers to refuel, and several hours, just not viable. Fully laden it would be about 238,000 litres of fuel.
Fuel is delivered from the fuel farm via the underground hydrant system at 12 x atmospheric pressure. If the connection between the dispenser and the pot were to be disrupted, i.e. a vehicle driving in to it, the resultant jet of fuel would reach about 50 metres, before the automatic detectors noticed the sudden drop in pressure and cut the pumps off. I can think of only one instance where this has happened, in South Africa, I believe, many years ago. There is an emergency hydrant cutoff button at the head of every stand.
One amusement is that any disruption to the electricity supply to or within the fuel farm will shut off the hydrant system. Many years ago, in the fuel farm at a busy London airport, the fire alarm would go off, shutting off all the hydrant electrical system and throwing the airport into complete chaos and severe delays. The cause was traced to a toaster in the crew rest room kitchen setting off the smoke detector. Toasters were banned, no more chaos.

TOO
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Old 12th Mar 2020, 20:07
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On the 747, the refueling control panel is under the left wing. The right wing has only receptacles for additional hoses (2 receptacles under each wing).
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Old 12th Mar 2020, 20:47
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Fuel is delivered from the fuel farm via the underground hydrant system at 12 x atmospheric pressure. If the connection between the dispenser and the pot were to be disrupted, i.e. a vehicle driving in to it, the resultant jet of fuel would reach about 50 metres, before the automatic detectors noticed the sudden drop in pressure and cut the pumps off. I can think of only one instance where this has happened, in South Africa, I believe, many years ago. There is an emergency hydrant cutoff button at the head of every stand.
IIRC there was a "gusher" at MAN a few years ago but don't know the circumstances
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Old 12th Mar 2020, 22:21
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Back in the early part of the second half of the last century (1960's), a friend of mine was employed as a refueler at the Chattanooga, Tennessee airport. On his first day on the job, he was on the wing of a L-1049 "Consternation", or at least he recalled it was a four-engine airliner of some size. My friend was kneeling on the upper surface of the aircraft's right wing struggling to connect the grapples of his fuel hose to the tank. The copilot was in the cockpit doing preflight activities; his window was open.

My friend, thinking he had made a patent connection, signaled to his bowser partner on the ground to initiate flow. That's when the the hose parted ways with the tank, as my friend, frantically hugging his slithering snake geyser dance companion, rose several feet off of the wing and in a slow, gyrating dance, covered the majority of the fuselage with aviation fuel. Several passengers on that side of the aircraft, their faces framed in smallish windows, gazed out with baffled and confused expressions. Just before the guy on the ground saw what was happening and hit the emergency stop button, my friend rode his liquid bronco toward the copilot's open window, whereupon the second-in-command got an unwelcome face full of avgas. Coming to a relatively soft landing, my friend ran to his car and sped home. His first day was his last!

(I'm almost certain this is a true story.)

- Ed

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Old 12th Mar 2020, 22:51
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Originally Posted by Suzeman View Post
IIRC there was a "gusher" at MAN a few years ago but don't know the circumstances
Not forgetting the 2001 Denver accident where a fuel coupling failed and the resulting fuel mist ignited, resulting in fatal injuries to the refueller.

Last edited by DaveReidUK; 12th Mar 2020 at 23:39.
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Old 12th Mar 2020, 23:19
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IIRC there was a "gusher" at MAN a few years ago but don't know the circumstances
The dispenser drove away while still connected to the hydrant, the head followed leaving an open pipe.
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 05:10
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I think on some aircraft it must be an option when you buy them. Air Asia 320's have the refueling connection on the left wing only, and my company has them on the right wing only. Maybe it helps turn around times having the refuel truck on the left side, so as to free up space on the right for the loaders?
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 09:57
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If my memory serves me correctly the Tristar was refuelled from the right hand side.
Think the most I ever put on to a 747/400 was 220,000 litres.
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 10:11
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
Not forgetting the 2001 Denver accident where a fuel coupling failed and the resulting fuel mist ignited, resulting in fatal injuries to the refueller.
I have in the past operated a number of trucks of the type involved in that accident as well as older models of the same truck.
Often while sitting up on the deck refueling aircraft I wondered about the wisdom of the switch from normally aspirated
Caterpillar V8 engines to the turbocharged six cylinder engines for a fuel truck. On a long fill the turbo would get quite hot.
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