At London's Heathrow, which moves more international passengers than any other airport, the fuel jockeys of the Aircraft Service International Group oversee refueling. Filling an Airbus A380 can take two hours, at a rate of about 1,000 gallons per minute. So much flow can generate static, which can create a deadly spark (jet fuel is kerosene-based, and much more flammable than gasoline). But the hose is semiconductive to prevent such a conflagration. Add too much fuel, and the extra weight renders the craft less efficient; too little can be disastrous. And placing the wrong amounts of fuel in the various tanks can throw the craft off-balance.
Fuelers work quickly—time wasted on the tarmac is money lost. To speed the process, they steer their vehicles under the plane's wing and begin pumping before they know the exact amount to fill up. The fueler positions his truck, its hose (which at some airports remains off the ground, buoyed by clamps attached to small wheels), the bonding cable and the lifting platform until he is under the craft's wing. He closes a switch called a deadman handle. Every two minutes, the fueler resets the handle to make sure the flow is continuous. As departure nears, the plane's captain will radio to request a final amount based on the span of the trip ahead and weather conditions (headwinds can add 10 percent more fuel required for a trip). The A380's tanks hold 84,600 gallons, and its four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines will consume about a gallon of jet fuel every 78 miles for each passenger on board, 853 at full capacity. At Heathrow, ASIG's fuelers move about three million gallons of fuel every day.
Although care should always be exercised when refueling aircraft, gasoline is more flammable then jet fuel.
Yeah i'm pretty sure that jet fuel is less flammable that gasoline. Jet fuel, being kerosene based, is closer to diesel fuel.Diesel and i assume jet fuel vaporize at a much higher temp, 100 degrees F ish, that gasolin, -40 F. So good job article.
An article about pumping gas into an airliner is it alright, to say I am bored.
Yes, they pump a lot and really fast too. It is dangerous yes. But how long has the airline industry in the whole world be doing this?
It would be nice if, POPSCI offered one of those famous GeeWiz moments. Maybe the next article from POPSCI will about the millions of acres of farm land each year in USA that get tilled.
I read the article is about jetfuel, not auto gasoline.
Well, it is 4/20 afterall, maybe the writers are a little "off" today.
Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978
"The only constant in the universe is change"
-Heraclitus of Ephesus 535 BC - 475 BC
Well I guess its more interesting than the article about the "Viking Sun Stone" When the title said "Pumping Gas" I thought they were going to be talking about trying to run jets on LNG or something. Or maybe about mixing some sort of "gas"oline or biofuel to jet fuel. I feel the need to go read a Snapple cap now so I can regain some of the IQ points I lost after reading this.
Good point CodeZero, maybe the next article can be about how bright the sun is or how delicious Dorito's are.
Fueling aircraft and the use of that fuel is a dead serious business. The article would have been much more interesting if it had gone into the science of it.
I haven't checked the stats lately but it used to be true that somewhere in the world, an airliner ran out of fuel in flight about once a year. There are still accidents where ice forms in the fuel lines or flight crews mis-manage their fuel.
An example is the airliner over the Atlantic which developed a fuel leak in one engine nacelle which led to a lateral fuel imbalance which the crew dealt with by pumping fuel to the lighter wing where it drained overboard. Ultimately, fuel exhaustion led to an epic over water glide to a landing in the Azores. Most don't end this well.
Landing and launching planes off an aircraft carrier; plus loading weapons and fuel to planes; doing all this as fast as possible; perhaps being attacked at the same time, now that is dangerous!
See life in all its beautiful colors, and
from different perspectives too!
Oh, I do not want to be all negative. I really enjoy POPSCI magazine and website a lot!!!
What they are really saying here.. is that an A380, consumes 10.9 Gal of JET-A per Mile traveled at cruse alt/speed.
Fully loaded with 84,600 Gal of fuel, it can travel 7,761.47 Miles before falling out of the sky.
The circumference of the earth @ the equator is 24901.55. It would take 3.21 aerial refuelings (equaling 271,566 gal of fuel) for this bird to go "All The WAY!" (+- 10% for head / tail winds)
But, who's really counting anyway.
jet fuel should be taxed 1$ per liter to stop wastefull travel.the guvernment should pay their own fare.
"who cares?" is an ignorant response to any topic. If you don't like it, don't read it and stop polluting the comments section.
@ Baseball and charian: I am a student in Aviation Maintenance and I have to partially disagree with both of y'all statements. Aviation fuel is much more susceptible to static causing fire than most people think. When you go to fuel your car up you usually touch some metal somewhere and discharge yourself without even realizing it. Aircraft have much larger tanks than cars so they get their fuel pumped much faster. With the higher volume rate the static builds up relatively quick and if it does not have anywhere to go, it will cause a spark which will lead to a fire. This is one thing that we were shown in a lab. That is why, when aircraft are fueled, they are bonded. The ground lets static dissipate safely. As far as being more flammable than auto gas, I don't know the answer on that one.
baseballplyrws08 is right, jet fuel (Jet A and Jet A-1) is kerosene-based and is much less flammable than gasoline. In fact, technically it's not "flammable". Because the flash point of jet fuel is over 100 F, it's considered "combustible". The flashpoint of gasoline is -45 F.
The reason airplane crashes often send up a fireball is because of the high energy involved in the crash and the virtually guaranteed rupture of the fuel tanks sending fuel spraying onto hot metal.
Avgas, which is used in piston-engine airplanes, is even more flammable than gasoline, but it's not used in turbine-engined ("jet") airliners.
One cup of gasoline is equal to the explosive power of one stick of dynamite. Gasoline has 15 times the energy of a pound of dynamite. Dangerous is the average guy or gal at home, starting their lawn mower and the gas can is only a few feet away. Yikes!
Science sees no further than what it can sense, i.e. facts.
Religion sees beyond the senses, i.e. faith.
Open your mind and see!
so just wondering when we'll get over jets? seriously id rather ride in a jumbo blimp. solar panels line the roof to power the electric motors. just my lil 2cents worth.
Check the article before you publish it, at 1000 gal per minute for two hours, that is 120,000 gallons of fuel, then you state that it will hold 84,000 gallons, the numbers don't add. Also, Gas is much more flammable than jet fuel, jet fuel has a higher flash point than gasoline as well as a higher flame point, look it up. Jet fuel has more energy in it than gasoline but most certainly, of the motor fuels, gasoline is the most dangerous to handle. Chances are, if jets used gas, we'd have a very different fueling method because of the danger of gasoline and flame temp.
Hypothetically, if it takes 15 minutes to hook up the tanker to the plane, and 15 minutes to unhook it, and the pumping rate is 940 gal/min, then it would take exactly two hours to fill the plane with 84600 gallons of fuel. So the when the author writes that the fill-up CAN take two hours, at a rate of ABOUT 1000 gallons per minute, it's a perfectly valid statement and effective at giving you a sense of scale. The use of the words "can" and "about" should've clued you in to the fact that the numbers written aren't precise measures.
I spent twenty years in Naval Aviation. Believe me, gasoline is more flammable than jet fuel. It is like comparing gasoline to diesel. PopSci, please check your facts.