General resources

General

Pilot responsibilities

Refuelling

Checking fuel and oils CAO 20.9 (3)

The pilot in command of an aircraft shall ensure that the aircraft is not flown unless the:

  • aviation fuel
  • aircraft engine lubricating oil
  • aircraft engine power augmentation fluid
  • aircraft hydraulic system fluid

used in connection with the servicing or operation of the aircraft comply with the specification and grade required or approved for the purpose by CASA.

The pilot in command may assume that the above fluids already on the aircraft comply with the required specification and grade. All ground fuel stock shall be carefully checked for the presence of undissolved water before the fuelling operation is commenced. This precaution is particularly important when handling fuel from drum stocks.

The pilot in command must use a positive method, such as suitable water-detecting paste or paper, to test for the presence of free water, since sensory perceptions of colour and smell, if used alone, can be quite misleading.

In the case of turbine fuels, you must also watch for signs of cloudiness or other indication of the presence of suspended water droplets which will not necessarily be detected by a positive method.

Location of aircraft CAO 20.9 (4)

During refuelling, the aircraft and ground fuelling equipment shall be so located that no fuel tank filling points or vent outlets lie:

  • within 5 m (17 ft) of any sealed building
  • within 6 m (20 ft) of other stationary aircraft
  • within 15 m (50 ft) of any exposed public area
  • within 15 m (50 ft) of any unsealed building in the case of aircraft with a maximum take-off weight in excess of 5700 kg (12,566 lb)
  • within 9 m (30 ft) of any unsealed building in the case of aircraft with a maximum take-off weight not exceeding 5700 kg (12,566 lb).

Apart from the above, limited fuelling operations for maintenance purposes may be carried out in certain hangars under certain conditions.

Passengers on board during refuelling CAO 20.9 (4.2)

The aircraft operator must ensure that AVGAS is not loaded onto an aircraft while passengers are on board, or entering or leaving, the aircraft.

Aircraft safety precautions during fuelling operations CAO 20.9 (4.3)

All engines in the aircraft, including any auxiliary power units, must be shut down.

When an external electrical supply is used, the connections between that supply and the aircraft electrical system shall be made and securely locked before the fuelling operation is connected and shall not be disconnected until the operation has been completed.

During refuelling operations, the pilot in command and the operator shall take reasonable steps to ensure that a person does not:

  • operate or perform maintenance work on the aircraft’s radar equipment except that where the fuel is kerosene, operation or maintenance may be carried out provided the radar transmitter is deactivated
  • except where the fuel involved is kerosene, carry out maintenance on any electrical, electronic or radio systems within the aircraft or operate such equipment other than the aircraft’s interior lighting or electrical apparatus necessary for the fuelling process.

The aircraft and all items of fuelling equipment (including drums, funnels and other loose items of equipment, where used) must connect in such a way as to ensure that they are of the same electrical potential. Also, where a suitable earth point is available at the fuelling site, both the aircraft and the equipment shall be effectively connected to that point.

Where the fuelling operation is performed by a barge to a seaplane, the barge shall be effectively connected to the aircraft in such a way as to ensure that the barge, the fuelling equipment and the aircraft are at the same electrical potential.

All footwear worn by aircraft-servicing personnel and persons operating fuelling equipment shall be of a non-sparking type and such persons shall not carry any matches, cigarette lighters or other objects which could represent an ignition hazard.

Except where automatic shut-off devices limit the capacity of an aircraft fuel tank, the operator and the pilot in command shall ensure that sufficient airspace remains in each fuel tank to allow for anticipated fuel expansion.

When aircraft refuelling is complete, the pilot in command and the operator of the aircraft shall ensure that all fuel and oil tank caps are securely refitted.

Aircraft oil tanks shall not be drained or filled when the aircraft is inside a hangar or other building unless the oiling equipment used complies with the provisions of Appendix I of CAO 20.9.

Safety precautions external to an aircraft during fuelling operations CAO 20.9 (4.4)

The area in which fuelling operations are carried out shall be clearly placarded as a ‘no smoking’ area and the limits of this area shall be a sealed building, or at least 15 m (50 ft) from the aircraft or ground fuelling equipment. Where mobile fuelling equipment is used, the equipment shall be so placed that it can be rapidly moved in the event of fire.

During fuelling operations, the pilot in command and the operator shall take reasonable steps to ensure that a person does not:

  • smoke or use a naked flame within 15 m (50 ft) of the aircraft and ground fuelling equipment
  • operate an internal combustion engine or any electrical switch, battery, generator, motor or other electrical apparatus within 15 m (50 ft) of the aircraft’s fuel tank filling points or vent outlets, and ground fuelling equipment unless the engine, switch, generator, motor or apparatus complies with the provisions of Appendix I to CAO 20.9 and has been inspected.

Two or more fire extinguishers of approved type and capacity shall be positioned within 15 m (50 ft) but not less than 6 m (20 ft) from the aircraft and the fuelling equipment except where two or more fire extinguishers are carried on the fuelling equipment. Where so carried, the fire extinguishers must be fitted with quick release brackets, be readily available from either side of the equipment and be located as far as practicable from the vehicle fuel tanks and fuelling points.

Action in the event of a fire hazard CAO 20.9 (4.5)

A fuelling operation shall be suspended and the airport fire service notified when any fuel of a quantity likely to create a fire hazard is spilled on or within 15 m (50 ft) of the aircraft or ground fuelling equipment, including the bilge of a fuelling barge, and the operation shall not recommence until the fire hazard is removed.

A fuelling operation shall be stopped as soon as it becomes apparent that an infringement exists of any of the relevant requirements of CAO 20.9.

When any fuel of a quantity likely to create a fire hazard is spilled on or within 15 m (50 ft) of the aircraft or ground fuelling equipment, the pilot in command or, in his absence, the operator, shall ensure that:

  • passengers on board—embarking or disembarking—are moved 15 m (50 ft) from spilled fuel.
  • mobile power units, vehicles and power-operated loading devices operating within 15 m (50 ft) of the spilled fuel are shut down
  • maintenance work of any nature on or within the aircraft is suspended and not recommenced until the spilled fuel has been removed.

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