Avgas and Jet A Contamination Results

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by overdrive148, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    The only reason I know of why we have the round one is because the police/medical choppers use them IIRC. Also, if it was easier to clamp down the single point in the first place I'd agree!

    Great find. More valuable information :thumbsup:

    Good question. If I can scare up a flashlight of each, I'll test it :yes:

    So basically, I have these tests lined up.

    1. Paper towel evaporation test (adding sticky notes too, out of my own curiosity).

    2. Extended contaminated fuel settling test (so far, sources say it won't ever separate out but in the name of experimentation I'll give it a shot).

    3. Testing with sunlight behind and shadow in front (possibly in front of white/cream color).

    Any other requests? Once it gets slower here I'll give it a try. Overcast layer at 1700 today so probably no joy on the sunlight from behind test just yet.
     
  2. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    Okay, back with some more test results.

    Evaporation Testing - Paper towel / Sticky Note
    100LL Before
    [​IMG]

    100LL After
    [​IMG]

    Contaminated 100LL/JetA combined - Before
    [​IMG]

    Contaminated 100LL/JetA combined - After
    [​IMG]

    ===

    As you can see, it looks like no matter what paper you use, the effects are the same. I'd say it's more pronounced in the sticky note / regular paper than the paper towel, but it seems to work regardless.

    ===

    As for viewing the sample against shade or white/cream color:

    Against Shadow, down sun
    [​IMG]

    Against white, down sun
    [​IMG]

    Against white, up-sun
    [​IMG]

    ===

    Unfortunately, it didn't seem to make a difference what angle the sample was viewed at.

    I was only able to let a sample sit for ~20 mins, which did not yield any clear border or separation from the looks of it. Seems the miscible thing is true.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
  3. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    nitpick: it's a lack of emulsion thing...100LL and Jet-A are miscible...an emulsion is most definitely two phases (or more)
     
  4. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    I knew there was an M in there somewhere, sorry, my bad. Long day :yes:
     
  5. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've been so deep into this crap that it isn't even funny. Sorry for the nitpick. It is amazing what can trip (fail) an emulsion when you want one and it is equally amazing how persistent an emulsion can be when you don't want one.
     
  6. B350ATP

    B350ATP Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Somebody please offer OP a job

    Awesome work
     
  7. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    + 1,000

    You helped here, and who knows- you may have saved a life (someday), right here today. Seriously.

    Thanks!
     
  8. petrolero

    petrolero Pattern Altitude

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    That mixture is blue no matter which way you look at it. That is scary.

    On the other hand, I see absolutely no reason not to do the very simple paper test (we all carry paper towels) or, absent paper, a simple finger dip test. Hell if you don't want to do that, just pour some on the ground. If you can still see an oil spot after a few seconds, do more testing.

    Thanks x1000 to the OP. I don't think it's too dramatic to say you may have saved a life with this.
     
  9. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've got a job opening for a lease operator....in Wyoming...
     
  10. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I will be carrying small post it notes from now on and dripping a few drops of sumped and measured gas on them for each preflight as long as I am flying rented planes that I have not supervised the fueling of. When I get my own plane I will supervise every fueling. Thank you OP.
     
  11. sferguson524

    sferguson524 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Mods - Can we PLEASE get a sticky on this.. This could save someone's life.
     
  12. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    In fuels or some other chemistry work?

    Thank you! I appreciate the job suggestion :goofy:

    At the very least, I know I won't ever fall victim to Jet A in my 100LL.

    If I had any experience whatsoever in the oil field industry I'd look into it, From what a few friends of mine said who have family in the business, you dont get much respect from just walking into a management/supervisor position. Plus I don't have much mechanical experience. Great of you to offer though, I appreciate it :yes:

    Wouldn't be a bad idea, but up to them :D

    You are welcome. I'm glad that I'm in the position to be working around fuels and have the ability to do all this testing for a good cause.
     
  13. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Technically "other chemistry" since we tend to use stuff before it goes through the refinery and gets expensive. Sometimes we'll use diesel but that's getting tougher (almost impossible) to do from a regulatory point of view. We used to use it all the time but now have to use substitutes that can pass the environmental tests.
     
  14. MichaelO

    MichaelO Filing Flight Plan

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    So, a ramp guy screws up, people die because of that person's negligence, and no one is held to account EXCEPT the pilot, who died? Is this how it works?
     
  15. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    The pilot is responsible for the flight, period. A connecting rod about to break? Undetectable and probably not the pilot's fault. Incorrect fuel? Should've been caught by the pilot. Pilots should learn from this error, adapt and move on.

    If you pilot an aircraft, you accept the responsibility to do everything possible for a safe flight, checking the fuel is high on the list.

    This poor guy made a mistake and paid the ultimate price, may he rest in peace.
     
  16. RalphInCA

    RalphInCA Cleared for Takeoff

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    Excellent thread.

    Although not as critical from a safety standpoint as mixing JetA with 100LL, I wonder if there is a way to detect MoGas / 100LL contamination?

    Or, as I often do, am I worrying about something that is not a real problem?
     
  17. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    It's not as easy as I was led to believe it was. A gentleman in this thread did an experiment and he did an excellent job. It's worth reading every post.

    http://www.pilotsofamerica.com/forum/showthread.php?t=74702
     
  18. Vf6cruiser

    Vf6cruiser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Very nicely done and hugely informative......a round of applause for this guy. I worked around Jet A for years and was always told you could toss a match in a puddle of it and it would go out, that the solid fuel was not that explosive, only the fumes. Full disclosure, your employment may be shortened if you are on the ramp trying the lit match thing with Jet A. I always laughed at the fire trucks and the aluminum people frantically scurrying over to our side of the ramp for the smallest fuel spill. They couldn't wait to cover everything in foam...........different strokes........
     
  19. Jim Logajan

    Jim Logajan En-Route

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    That is not how it works. The FAA regulation in 91.3 that states the PIC is the final authority and responsible for the aircraft only affects the FAA's potential actions, not those of other entities. Civil lawsuits, on the other hand, are not (well should not, at least) be affected by anything other than an actual analysis of facts and fault apportionment. It is not difficult to find accidents where the FAA or NTSB found the pilot at fault per the 91.3 pre-assumption but a civil court found a different party wholly or partially at fault for the same accident.

    There is no reason in my humble opinion why a civil court should not find the FBO at least partially at fault for the accident that spawned the OP's useful investigation.

    Pragmatically speaking the pilot should have been more alert for their own sake anyway - but just as pragmatically there is a limit to how much responsibility should be dumped on a single person. Holding others responsible for their mistakes is important even if some regulation attempts to dump final responsibility onto someone else. After all, 91.3 could be said to imply that even someone who maliciously, rather than accidentally, added Jet-A to a fuel tank could not be held responsible for a subsequent accident because the pilot didn't verify the proper fuel was added.
     
  20. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    Jim- I am going to transpose this to another thread, since it works so well.
     
  21. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    Good question. I might look into testing that. Not sure though, both are gasoline so I doubt they'd fall out of each other (due to hydrocarbon overlapping). Would it be as bad as Jet A in piston engines though? I think in a pinch we used 100LL in the avgas truck once or twice in a pinch and it still ran, just with more difficulty.

    :cheers:

    Precisely why I did the testing. Seriously if I was still in flight training, I would've looked at the sample, saw it was blue, and threw it out without a second thought. Now I know better :yes:

    I've heard the same thing but my boss definitely wouldn't like me throwing matches into fuel! :rofl:
     
  22. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    They mix just fine - I usually use auto fuel but add 100LL when traveling. The only issues would be with octane (mix will be lower than 100) and vapor pressure. E-10 is not good for some of the rubber components often found in aircraft, but a one time contamination is not likely to make a difference.
     
  23. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    Found a good source from AOPA on things to watch for with fuel in general today, specifically...
    Back in 2005 and they were saying that the color test is a poor one to detect contamination :D

    flighttraining.aopa.org/pdfs/SA16_Fuel_Awareness.pdf for those who are interested.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  24. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    Looks like it's confirmed mis-fueling with the 421 that went down in TX this month:

    http://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=20150417X20434&key=1
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  25. Dennis McKim

    Dennis McKim Line Up and Wait

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    Per the all-knowing Wikipedia:
    Is it reasonable to think that, while being present during the fueling of one's plane is always advisable, it is even more important if similar looking but turbine-powered aircraft exist?

    Edited to add: I ask that because I sometimes peruse the comments section of AirNav's FBO listings, and frequently see laudatory comments similar to "when we returned in the morning, they had already pulled it from the hangar and fueled it, just as we requested." I'm now seeing the downside of this...
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  26. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    Makes you wonder why they don't dye the jet-a, red perhaps, red and blue makes purple, you got purple, you got a problem.

    I would've said yellow but that would make green which is 100.

    Awesome job to OP on this thread!
     
  27. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    Also, never handled Jet-A how would you describe the distinct smell? Kerosene?
     
  28. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A little Jet A would be hard to spot, regardless of dye. A lot is not blue.

    The standard way to test for Jet A in gasoline is to drip it on white paper and let it evaporate. Gasoline evaporates readily. The Jet A won't.
     
  29. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    Right, I see that from OP photos, I think CFI's should add this to standard pre-flight routine. POH should add it to checklist items.
     
  30. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    If I owned a 421 or 425, I would absolutely go out of my way to make it expressly known what to fuel with and would double check fuel sumping/receipts if I couldn't supervise fueling myself. Any aircraft I've flown since this I did the testing has been subject to the paper test at the expense of maybe 1 minute in the preflight.

    Thank you! :D

    Isn't/wasn't 80 octane red though? Also not sure how they'd combine color wise considering I know little about the chemistry involved but the choice behind the straw color for Jet A is interesting/questionable maybe.

    It has a sharp edge to it, like kerosene or nail polish. Ours includes Prist which is an anti-icing additive, but I don't think that has any effect on the smell. Could be wrong though.

    Mostly bumping the thread for awareness and because it mirrors what happened last year and I'm sure a few more times before that. Tell your friends!
     
  31. Cpt_Kirk

    Cpt_Kirk En-Route

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    Just now saw this thread. Good work.
     
  32. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    Not trying to beat this thread to death but I had one last thought on this, Question for the scientists/engineers out there. Wouldn't it be possible to design a sensor for this sort of thing? Have a nice idiot light on the annunciator panel, fuel ERROR, :)

    I mean if a Kia can tell you if the tire is low or the oil needs changing based on a viscosity detector, c'mon.
     
  33. Geico266

    Geico266 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The sensor is called the PIC, but that would be a good idea. ;)
     
  34. Chrisj13

    Chrisj13 Pre-Flight

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    [​IMG]

    No need to carry paper around to test which fuel is which....One should taste like straw, one like blueberries or something...
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
  35. overdrive148

    overdrive148 En-Route

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    Raising this thread up from the dead for more awareness, especially since flying season is upon us again.
     
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  36. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    What an awesome thread!!!
     
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  37. PaulMillner

    PaulMillner Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sure, a vibrating reed densitometer could distinguish between jet and gasoline, or a near-IR analyzer could distinguish between 50 octane jet fuel and 100 octane gasoline... who wants the cost and weight penalty for such an unlikely (though not of course impossible) error?

    Paul
     
  38. nrpetersen

    nrpetersen Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Maybe the know-mores can answer but my guess is the Jet A fraction only has to be more than a couple of percent before a piston engine would begin detonating. Right?
     
  39. NordicDave

    NordicDave Cleared for Takeoff

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    Alway save your fuel receipts with your tail number.

    A few years ago in my area Shell sold contaminated fuel. No incidents occurred, but they bought new engines for everyone who had a fuel receipt within a certain time window.