Questions tagged [refueling]

The process of supplying an aircraft with more fuel.

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Why are fuel tanks in the wings filled first, and why are they used last?

When fueling airliners, why is fuel filled first in the tanks in the wings and then the center tanks? And why do they use fuel from the center tanks first and then from the tanks in the wings? From ...
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35 votes
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Why don't airliners use in-air refueling systems?

Right now if an airliner wants to fly a really long distance (eg., a Boeing 787 flying from Seattle to Tokyo), it has to load itself down with lots and lots of fuel, which in turn weighs thousands and ...
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31 votes
5 answers
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How do aircraft refueling in-air deal with wake turbulence?

Many fighter planes have the capability to refuel in air. When a plane moves in air, turbulence is generated at its back. To refuel, the fighter plane must come near to the parent plane (which has ...
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29 votes
2 answers
12k views

Where does Air Force One refuel?

Obama came to Greece and then to Germany. That's a long trip, even for the majestic Jumbo. There was a lot of discussion about where the aircraft was refuelled during that trip. Do we know, in general,...
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23 votes
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How is it safe for helicopters and Ospreys to refuel in mid-air?

How do military helicopters like the Blackhawk and CH-53, as well as the V-22 Osprey, perform mid-air refueling without their rotor blades (periodically and accidentally) contacting the drogue or fuel ...
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23 votes
3 answers
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What does the term "tanker" mean when used in regards to a passenger airliner?

In a comment on this answer: Airlines will tanker fuel if it's substantially cheaper at another airport I've wondered what that term meant before, and now this comment leads me to think that ...
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23 votes
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How long does it take to refuel a big jumbo jet?

How long does it take to refuel a big jumbo jet? What about a smaller A320?
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22 votes
4 answers
24k views

Why does the US use two types of aerial refueling?

There are two main types of aerial refueling, the boom and the drogue. The US uses both, while most other countries use just the drogue. How are they different and why does the US use both?
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22 votes
1 answer
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How is fuel vapor dealt with at large airports?

When I fill my tank at a gas station, I can see fuel vapor coming out of the tank. I imagine the space above the aircraft tank has fuel vapor mixing with air (at lower oxygen than normal thanks to ...
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20 votes
14 answers
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Why is mid-air refueling worth it? (or is it at all?)

Surely, mid-air refueling is a cool thing, but is it worth it? It's obvious that the military, for one, has some requirements to keep aircraft airborne so that they can keep patrolling, for example. ...
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17 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the work routine of a boomer operator in a refueling aircraft?

This is a boomer operator: (source by John E. Lasky - United States Air Force) If he is not refueling an aircraft, or the plane is not on a refueling mission, what is he doing? Is he sitting in that ...
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16 votes
2 answers
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If I'm on a IFR flight plan with appropriate IFR reserves, and I'm given a lower altitude which will consume more fuel, what should I do?

Let's say I'm on a long-range flight at my requested altitude of FL250, and I am handed off into a very busy sector where the controller tells me "Descend and maintain FL210, for traffic." At FL250, ...
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16 votes
3 answers
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Why ground a plane while fueling?

Why does a plane need to be grounded while fueling, but we never ground our cars? Does the potential for a spark magically exist for an airborne vehicle but not for an earth bound one?
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16 votes
2 answers
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What is pressure refuelling and how does it work?

In this answer to this question, "pressure refueling" was given as a reason to not worry about fuel vapors escaping when refueling larger aircraft. What is pressure refueling and how does it work?
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15 votes
1 answer
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How are in-air refuelling craft grounded to each other?

This answer mentions that before refueling equipment is connected the F-16 and the refueling vehicle must be connected to each other. This does not seem to be the case for in-air refueling. Why is ...
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14 votes
1 answer
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Do tanker aircraft distribute their own fuel?

Do tanker aircraft, (such as the KC-135, KC-10, S-3B, etc), distribute fuel from their own fuel tanks, or is it strictly from a separate cargo tank? Obviously, some cargo tanks are going to be ...
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13 votes
4 answers
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What is the official term for a gas / petrol station for planes?

I'm talking specifically about small airports where they don't have the fancy equipment and they actually have to go to a specific place to refuel for example cars go to gas station / petrol station ...
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2 answers
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Is it normal practice to refuel commerical planes whilst boarding is taking place?

The other day, I was on a KLM Boeing 737. I had just sat down in my seat, and the captain was making announcement. He said something along the lines of, As we are refuelling at this moment, please ...
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13 votes
2 answers
4k views

Can a private pilot refuel his small private airplane internationally without passing through immigration or customs?

I've been a private pilot for many years, but I have never flown internationally in small private aircraft. I'm about to buy a tiny, high-tech, super-efficient 2-seat airplane that has extended range ...
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12 votes
2 answers
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What would happen if a helicopters rotor hit the [in-air] refueling probe?

My first guess is that they would catastrophically fail - but I also read the Eurocopter Cougar has propeller blades that will withstand the impact of a 20mm round (I'm guessing other military ...
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12 votes
1 answer
693 views

Do large aircraft accumulate water in their tanks?

Do large aircraft accumulate water in their tanks? If so, how is it drained? How often is it drained? At what rate per hour does it accumulate? If not what was done to circumvent the problem?
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11 votes
3 answers
709 views

What was this vehicle doing?

On a trip a few weeks ago traveling out of Charlotte (CLT), I took this picture of a vehicle at the airport. Our plane was fueled as we were about to board but due to various factors, boarding didn’t ...
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10 votes
2 answers
558 views

Russian-built and NATO (USN, European) probe-and-drogue -- are they interoperable?

Considering the current diversity of coalition air fleets in some parts of the world (the Horn of Africa situation comes to mind), can Russian-built tankers refuel NATO probe-and-drogue receivers, and ...
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10 votes
1 answer
503 views

Does mid-air refueling have very hard constraints on weather?

I'm guessing mid-air refueling has constraints on windspeed and wind direction, visibility, and precipitation. I may have missed some, but those alone make me feel like mid-air refueling can't be done ...
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9 votes
4 answers
3k views

How do you know which fuel an aircraft uses?

Other than the decals on the plane, how would you know what fuel to use in an aircraft? Where is this limitation documented? For some aircraft, does this limitation include some sort of substitute ...
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9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Could the Airbus A350 be converted into the role of air tanker / be used for aerial refuelling?

Since the A350 is one of the most efficient jets out there, Is it possible that it can be transformed into a fuel tanker for Aerial refuelling?
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9 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the stall speed of the KC130?

Saw the video of the helicopter chopping off its own refueling probe. That made me wonder what the stall speed of the tanker is, and how difficult it is to fly slow enough for the helis to keep up.
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9 votes
1 answer
536 views

What's the refueling process like for a light aircraft?

This is for a writing project. I've only been able to find descriptions of refueling large jet aircraft. The plane, a de Hallivand DHC-6 Twin Otter, carries 4 passengers, all minors. None have any ...
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9 votes
1 answer
199 views

How is the fuel quality monitored/assured for jetliners?

With tens of thousands of flights daily, many out of smaller and perhaps 'sketchy' airports, it would seem that serious incidents caused by contaminated fuel should happen a lot more often (in a quick ...
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8 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why do pilots sample the fuel before a flight?

I was reading this checkup writeup and it says the pilot took fuel samples before the flight. So I Googled and found out, there are several fuel samplers/testers available. Now I am wondering: Why ...
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8 votes
3 answers
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How do large airport refuelling systems work?

As I am sitting on board my plane and have been informed that there may be a three-hour delay due to a pressure problem in the fuelling system at the destination, it seems like an appropriate moment ...
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8 votes
3 answers
2k views

How should Isopropyl Alcohol be used as an AvGas Fuel System Icing Inhibitor?

I understand that 100% Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) is used as a Fuel System Icing Inhibitor (FSII) additive in aviation gasoline systems—including 87 through 100LL fuel types—for cold weather operations. ...
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8 votes
3 answers
7k views

Which airports have the highest fuel upload?

Which airports consume the most fuel for aircraft refueling, and how much fuel do they use? I was able to find that "Heathrow uses about 20m litres of fuel a day", but it isn't easy to find figures ...
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8 votes
1 answer
444 views

What drives the design decision of where to place the refueling receptacle?

What has driven the decision to place the refueling receptacle behind the pilot and to rear of the plane. Is this simply driven by the change away from drogue and probe and the location decided by ...
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7 votes
1 answer
6k views

How is fuel stored in a tanker aircraft? [duplicate]

How is fuel stored in a tanker aircraft? What arrangements are made to make the aircraft liquid tight?
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7 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does the airport fuel market look like?

The single biggest cost for many airlines is fuel. Given this, I'm sure they work hard to reduce the cost they pay per gallon of fuel as much as possible. How does that translate to the way fuel is ...
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6 votes
1 answer
296 views

How might one fly from KRYN to SDRS in a de Hallivand DHC-6 Twin Otter?

First of all, this is not a flight I'm attempting myself; it's for a writing project. I myself have absolutely no knowledge at all of flight. The plane would depart from Ryan Airfield, Arizona (ICAO: ...
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6 votes
2 answers
4k views

Are there any regulations on fueling aircraft inside hangars?

My FBO routinely refuels aircraft with 100LL while they're parked inside hangars. I have complained about this being a dangerous practice. My previous FBO required aircraft to be at least 10ft outside ...
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5 votes
1 answer
3k views

Can an airliner be refueled while the APU is running?

Race cars can be refueled while the engine is running. I assume this is a dangerous task done by highly specialised technicians. If ground support is not available, an airliner may keep the APU ...
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5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why do children need to leave the plane during a refueling operation?

On a flight at the end of the 90s, the plane -- most likely a 747 -- made a stopover at an airport to refuel. In my recollection, during the refueling process all of the children needed to leave ...
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5 votes
1 answer
185 views

How is airline fuel hedging actually done?

When airlines refuel at the airport are they all billed at the same rate on the day? Similar to cars at a gas station? For example if Southwest has hedged and paying a dollar less per gallon than its ...
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5 votes
2 answers
6k views

How can I correctly calculate fuel for a Cessna 152?

I'm learning to fly in a C152 and I've found the fuel calculation to be a little ambiguous. Based on information from my instructor, Internet and the Cessna 152 Information Manual (1980), I've home ...
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4 votes
4 answers
482 views

Why is Iceland an efficient connection point between London and Boston/NYC?

Air connections thru Iceland (Keflavik) have been increasing explosively in recent years. Keflavik is used as a transfer point on trans-Atlantic itineraries. The highest-traffic city pair involving ...
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4 votes
2 answers
360 views

Would a refueling stop be cheaper than finding lodging for all the passengers?

This is somewhat late followup question to my original question. Basic story was flight got delayed by almost 24 hours because first, technical reasons, secondly temperatures were very high. As far ...
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  • 1,685
3 votes
1 answer
341 views

How much does a refueling stop for an Avro RJ85 cost in Bolivia/Colombia?

One possible motive for the LaMia disaster is that they were attempting to save money by not refueling. That may or may not be true and this is not the place to debate that. Reports say they were ...
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3 votes
5 answers
3k views

Would it be feasible to develop a dirigible-based refueling station for fighter aircraft?

The impossibly bad 2005 film Stealth featured a dirigible-based, mid-air refueling tanker station for the stealth fighters to use. At first, this seemed like it might have been the singular good ...
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3 votes
1 answer
142 views

Do airports commonly have mogas for sale on campus?

The ICON A5 POH gently implies, and other sources outright claim, that its Rotax 120iS prefers a diet of 87 octane mogas, and I've found a couple of sources claiming that while it'll take 100LL, the ...
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3 votes
1 answer
368 views

B-52 inflight refuelling

I saw a photo of a B-52 - early model - just dropping off the inflight refueling boom, and the landing gear was extended. Was this a common operation or something out of the ordinary - flight test, ...
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  • 31
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why is there always a fire truck present before refuelling?

Whenever I fly within Europe, I notice there is always a fire truck present for refuelling before takeoff. Is this standard procedure for every flight in commercial aviation? If yes, is this a global ...
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2 votes
3 answers
131 views

Technical factors to consider for retrofitting aerial refueling for commericial aircraft

What are the factor that need to be taken into account to retrofit and an airliner like an a330 or 777 or maybe even a business jet like a global 5000 to an aerial refuelable (receiving) aircraft. Is ...
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