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Thread: best practices for transporting fuel

  1. #1
    JMBreitinger's Avatar
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    best practices for transporting fuel

    Being based on a field with services, I have never had to worry much about this but will be needing to transport fuel in smaller containers. Does it matter what type -- metal vs. plastic? How stable is AvGas -- can it be stored for some time? Any other concerns?

  2. #2
    Bill Ingerson's Avatar
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    Fuel

    John

    I'm glad you posted this subject on fuel. I'm right now having the same question's. I have a 12v. transfer pump and want to store a 30 or 50 gallon drum in my hanger. Maybe not a good idea ? but I could top off my low fuel tanks at times. Right now I have 100 LL in red plastic fuel jugs sitting on the floor. I can buy when the price is right and add to my drum as it gets low. I know that plastic drums are far thicker and steel drums are used all the time. What I would like to find is a 30 gallon steel drum, the same diameter as a 55 gallon drum. I don't know where to find one. Be sure to ground your plane what ever you use.

    Bill

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    SteveE's Avatar
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    Seems like there was a hanger that burnt a couple of supercubs and a beaver in Ak. It was posted here a year or so ago. Something about the fuel tank inside the hanger, if memory serves me right. Maybe somebody in AK knows the story. (might have been Canada, but I believe it was AK)

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    If stored indoors plastic works fine for me but I would worry about UV rays outside. I metal would be better there. If you store outside be sure to tip your drums to the side so water can run off and not collect around the bung hole. It will leak in!!!!!!!!!

    I don't know the official shelf life for avgas, but a few years back the outfit I was working for had a couple of 55 gallon drums that they had drained from an airplane. They guessed it had to be at least 5 years old at the time. They gave one to me and one to another co worker. When we opened them up they smelled just fine. While I wouldn't dare even think about running the gas in an airplane, I did run it in an old jeep I had at the time with no ill effects.



    Trent

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    My friend removed av fuel from an aircraft he purchased that hadn't been touched for ten full years. It smelled perfect and he burned it in his mower.

  6. #6
    DW's Avatar
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    The hanger fire was in Canada--Nimpo Lake over buy logans place.


    memory???

  7. #7
    this would be a title NimpoCub's Avatar
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    Nimpo Lake Logan... boonie SuperCubber
    200mi (300km) from nearest stoplight... just right! - "Que hesitatus fornicatus est"

  8. #8
    SteveE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DW
    The hanger fire was in Canada--Nimpo Lake over buy logans place.


    memory???
    Must have been that last bump on my head.

  9. #9
    Patrol Guy's Avatar
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    I have two 550 gallon steel tanks in my hangar. I use to have them on a trailer, parked in the hangar. I drove 15 miles to the airport early on Sunday mornings (almost no traffic) to re-fill about every 6 weeks. I was always afraid of getting picked up with out proper permits. I had a big decal on the back tank that said diesel.

    I think different states have different rules, but farmers and contractors carry gas and fuel in 300 and 500 gallon containers all the time.

    I bought a cessna once, that came with a 110 gallon tank and 12 volt pump that fit under the truck tool boxes that guy used for the airplane.
    Those who pound their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not.

  10. #10
    marker60's Avatar
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    When I flew the cub up the Alaska Highway in 2005, I had to stop and overnight at an abandoned airstrip in Canada due to weather. Sikanni Chief, if memory serves. There was a cache of two barrels of 100LL and two barrels of Jet-A. Another pilot who was also there said that the local helicopter outfit had staged the fuel there some years ago and it was apparently common practice to extend the range of the helicopters. The labels on the barrels indicated they were staged in 2002.

  11. #11
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    I haul about a 1000 gal of mogas a year in plastic jugs,I hate it but have to do it. Be careful. NEVER, fill cans in the back of a truck, or trunk of a car or SUV. ALWAYS place the cans on the GROUND. When filling, the fuel nozzle must stay in contact with the fuel can, to dissipate any static that is generated from the swirling fuel as it enters the plastic cans, [ think balloon rubbed on your shirt ] The people who pump gas don't know this so try to teach a few along the way, might save some kid from being toasted. I am always interested in a better way, but this way has allowed me to have the same mustache for over 30+ years

    Glenn
    PS find some old style cans, the new ones suck.

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    The plastic jugs should be in contact with the ground or a cement apron when filling them, not asphalt.

    I have grounded the plastic jugs by alligator clipping a wire to a stake.

    8 year old avgas has worked fine in my mower, chain saw and 6 hp Coleman generator. It didn't work very well in a new model snowblower with an 8 hp engine.

    There was an article in the EAA magazine about 10 years ago about a F4F Wildcat that was recovered from the Great Lakes after about 50 years on the bottom. Not only is the airplane flying again but the avgas was drained out and used to run airport vehicles.

    Some chemists out there could probably explain that avgas has very stable carbon chains, like parafin, as opposed to car gas which has chains that deteriorate rapidly in storage.

  13. #13
    high time cub's Avatar
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    A friend of mine is doing some re-design work for this company. I've suggested they make another version with a larger hose and nozzle. It does have some potential.

    http://www.fueltool.com/

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    During hunting season I haul gas in 5 gallon plastic jugs to my base camp. I take about 11 jugs at a time and works just fine. At the end of the season my left over gas goes in to steel drums that get covered with a tarp in a shaded place. My plastic jugs (with or without gas) go in a bear proof shelter till the next year.

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    Here's a twist on the question of plastic vs. metal;1.* As you are gaining 5,000 ft altitude, how much pressure develops in the fuel containers in your baggage compartment?2.* And what are you going to do if your plastic 5gal container ruptures and starts leaking into the bottom of the fuselage?3.* Should you leave a little air space or a lot of air space in the container; does it make any difference?A hangar burned in Wasilla AK triggered by fueling a cub with a plastic 5gal container.* The hangar burned along with 3 aircraft.I have fueled from metal 5 gal cans, and I ground the can to the airplane with a wire with alligator clips.* I also have a bare copper wire (from a 12-3 romex wire) that runs down my funnel into the fuel tank.* I think there is more static when it is cold and dry but static sparks can occur from pouring water, or in humid weather.* And I think about what clothing I am wearing while fueling (nylon rubbing on the wing should generate a static spark easier than a cotton shirt).I have friends who fuel from 5 gal plastic containers and they never ground anything.* They haven't burned up (yet).Bill

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    No chemistry or physics classes in Homer?

    Liquids essentially do not expand in normal atmospheric conditions; their volume is fixed so there are negligible pressure changes with changes in altitude but potentially significant pressure changes due to changing temperature in a volatile fluid like gasoline due to the liquid - gas phase change. I have seen a photograph of a .mil jerry can of gas that was left on a 135 F asphalt surface all day. The bulge in the can was really scary but it held.

    The change in air pressure from S.L. to 5K msl is about 2 psi and slightly less than 2 psi from 5-10K msl. So your cans would only have to withstand 4-6 psi with a safety factor of 2X.

    None of this is a worry using a "real" fuel cans like the .mil Scepter plastic cans (that they will no longer sell in the USA) or any .mil metal can. Of course, you cannot buy any of these in a conventional manner in the US any longer. Meth, crack, and marijuana are easier to come by in the Land of Fruits and Nuts than a real fuel container. The "toy" fuel containers that us civilian serfs are allowed to buy in the US are not acceptable for use in aircraft, in my opinion.

    Keep all the pieces well connected (you+can+aircraft+spout) and all that connected to the actual ground, and fueling will be safe enough.

  17. #17
    JMBreitinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Grubb
    None of his is a worry using a "real" fuel cans like the .mil Scepter plastic cans (that they will no longer sell in the USA) or any .mil metal can. Of course, you cannot buy any of these in a conventional manner in the US any longer. Meth, crack, and marijuana are easier to come by in the Land of Fruits and Nuts than a real fuel container. The "toy" fuel containers that us civilian serfs are allowed to buy in the US are not acceptable for use in aircraft, in my opinion.

    Keep all the pieces well connected (you+can+aircraft+spout) and all that connected to the actual ground, and fueling will be safe enough.

    This is really helpful.

    How does one get the right cans?

    Can you elaborate on the how to keep all of the pieces connected? Is it enough to make sure that there is positive contact between the pieces or do I need to rig up some sort of cable?

  18. #18
    scout88305's Avatar
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    I have saved thousands of dollars with this small 52 gallon tank. Not too big but can fill your plane and some cans for a long trip.

    Thank a sheepdog today for they are standing guard!

  19. #19
    this would be a title NimpoCub's Avatar
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    I'm reading lots about - going to GET your fuel -
    Won't they deliver it to your hangar/dockside in the ol US?

    I got a 300 gal stationary tank & just call the truck when I need it filled.
    I learned early in my av. experience (near 3 yrs now! ) that pouring gas into the wing SUCKS.
    Nimpo Lake Logan... boonie SuperCubber
    200mi (300km) from nearest stoplight... just right! - "Que hesitatus fornicatus est"

  20. #20
    scout88305's Avatar
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    Several issues.
    To deliver they require a minimum amount of gallons. I wouldn't want that much, I think at least 1000 here. My location is very remote and I have some concern about security for an outside tank since I am not living there. My plane runs best on auto fuel so I buy premium 91 and hopefully I have fresh fuel.
    Thank a sheepdog today for they are standing guard!

  21. #21
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    I guess I need to eat more Wheaties, what do you think, would it be better if I pushed, or pulled, that 300 gal tank, down my 18" wide X 196' long boardwalk, that crosses the swamp, that leads to the dock? Cans suck, just ask my shoulders, 6 gals each arm, each trip.

    Glenn

  22. #22
    RedEye's Avatar
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    I do the same as Eric. 91 octane auto fuel in a 50 gal transfer tank with a 12 volt pump for transferring it to the wings. Saves thousands over the years and the gas is always fresh.

  23. #23
    RedEye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2
    I guess I need to eat more Wheaties, what do you think, would it be better if I pushed, or pulled, that 300 gal tank, down my 18" wide X 196' long boardwalk, that crosses the swamp, that leads to the dock? Cans suck, just ask my shoulders, 6 gals each arm, each trip.

    Glenn
    Elevate the 300 gallon tank, then plumb down to the plane with a shut off at the tank and a fuel nozzle at the plane. Gravity will do the hard work and you'll never spill all over a wing again. When I'm on floats this is what I do.

  24. #24
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    David, I like that idea, I don't own the land,the nice people who let me use it are great, but I don't want to push my luck. Besides, I live in the great state of NY "think Moscow" the DEC guy lives right down the road, and I don't need to give him any ammo. Hauling the cans will be helpful some day, I won't have to bend over to pick things up soon.

    Glenn

  25. #25
    Coyote Ugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scout88305
    I have saved thousands of dollars with this small 52 gallon tank. Not too big but can fill your plane and some cans for a long trip.

    Thats what I use too, but to be the safest, ya ought to replace that farm hose with one from a service station supply. It will be UL listed, and that means it has a grounding wire built in. The service station hose will last forever too.... The farm hose is definitely not grounded tho, and will seep.

    Really the only time ya hear of problems, it's filling a gas can, that's not sitting on the ground, or once in a great while, filling something out of a can. After 35 years in the gas sta business, and that would be my two bits worth.
    "Pops Dory"
    They used to say there are no old, bold pilots, Hell, looka here...

  26. #26
    Randy's Avatar
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    avgas fuel transportation

    I bought a 110 gal "field service tank" that fits in the back of the pickup and 12v electric pump from a fuel tank supplier locally.
    I told him what I intended to do with it...haul airplane gas.
    He said he didn't want to know anything about that...and that the pump had a label on it that said "NOT FOR FUELING AIRCRAFT"...and that the tank had a label that was welded on that read "FOR DIESEL FUEL ONLY"
    He also informed me that a 110 gallon tank was the maximum amount that I could haul with out "hazardous " placards places on all four sides of the hauling vehicle, trailer ect.
    BUT..he also added that I could have 3 or 4 of these tanks in the same vehicle at the same time and not require placards. (as long as the maximum capacity of the tanks were only 110 gallons)
    A quirk in the law, I suppose.
    I don't know if these are universally applied laws in the USA..but I'm betting they are.
    Also...in my area..avgas is hard to get unless you can hold a 7500 gallon tanker at one time...no local suppliers unless you buy it from an FBO.
    I doubt if a person would get into trouble with any of the regulations...but if you had a fire, accident...the insurance companys might be able to find a way out.
    Randy

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    How to get "Real" gas cans? Uhhhh, shoot the idiots that run our country, kick ourselves in the ass for allowing this mess to happen, and reinstating a reality-based decisionmaking process in the USA.

    There are people in e-bay selling new and used scepter cans for 2.5X their retail price. They end up costing around $90 for a $40 container. Same with the filling nozzles.

    I suppose you or a friend could smuggle them across the border from Canada or set up a dummy corporation in Mexico and buy a pallet load. Or have a .mil buddy "procure" some new/used ones from his/her base. It is interesting that several e-bay seller live close to bases and one guy had a .mil address.

    As far as ground connections, I am happiest with copper wire cabling to connect everything. Large and small alligator clips work well.

  28. #28

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    fuel

    Fellers
    Look at atitank.com or transferfow.com for legal gasoline transfer tanks. I am using the 110 gallon model built by aluminum tank industries in Winter Haven FL. I have a 100 ft reel with good quality fuel hose for fueling my floatplanes with av gas. They will custom build any tank to fit under a pickup roll cover also and no one even knows its there. I am going to buy a second one for 91 premium non ethanol back at the farm strip in MN and put it on a trailer along with my diesel tank for the bobcat and john deere. These tanks are high quality and legal with paperwork to go with it. My paperwork says 119 gallons is the most you can have legally.

  29. #29

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    You guys that can still get ethanol free mogas are lucky! Oregon and Washington will soon be (or already are) all laced with ethanol. I was ready top buy a transfer tank for my truck and then the mandatory ethanol law was passed....bummer.

  30. #30
    mvivion's Avatar
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    The biggest issue with plastic cans is that it is simply impossible to adequately bond them to your airplane while fueling. Putting a bonding wire between the can and the plane is pointless, because the static charge builds on the OUTSIDE of the can, and since plastic is an insulator, not a conductor, that charge won't dissipate through a bonding wire. Same for putting a piece of hardware cloth inside the can, and bonding that via a wire to the plane. The static charge builds on the outside of the can, not the inside.

    Unfortunately, there are no really good metal cans appropriate for aircraft use that I've found. I know at least one fellow who welded some up out of aluminum.

    I know of at least two airplanes burned to the ground using plastic cans. One was in winter, the other was summer. Dry conditions.

    I also know of a helicopter that burned to the ground fueling from plastic barrel. Major bummer.

    I have carried a LOT of fuel in plastic jugs. I never liked it, and was always really careful with it. I would NEVER transfer gas in plastic cans in winter, when the static is particularly bad.

    The Scepter cans, while arguably stronger than the cheap crap sold at wal mart, are still plastic, and you still face the static issue.

    I really wish someone would build good metal cans for gas.

    BY the way, if you look at the labels on MOST metal truck bed tanks, they are approved ONLY for diesel fuel. Gasoline tanks require MUCH larger vents, and different fillers, generally the big difference in these tanks. It's certainly possible to build a legal transfer tank. As Brian points out, there is a limit to how much gas you can move over the road, though.

    MTV.

  31. #31

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    You might still be able to find metal 5gal cans in some of the smaller auto parts stores located out in the boondocks. I found metal 5gal cans in Wasilla NAPA store (sitting on a high shelf)- but admittedly that was probably 8 years ago.

    My copper wire does rest against the outside of the container, but I still use a metal can while fueling the wing tanks. If I have to, I first transfer the gas from a plastic container to a metal one while away from the cub. It is a bit anal, I realize, but what would a guy do if there was a "pop" while fueling the wing tank? You'd want to save your face, but as you jumped clear I can just imagine having that 5 gal following you down! Things would get exciting fast! Just like Socialism in this country, "I don't never want to see that!"

  32. #32
    Bill Ingerson's Avatar
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    Static

    I had a interesting display of static the other night. My wife was on the couch with the cat in her lap. I got up out of my chair and went over to the cat and lightly grabbed each ear. Wow, I got shocked, the cat got shocked a spark jumped from his foot and shocked my wife. It sparked so hard that we both heard the snap of the spark from the cat to my wife. Every body laughed except the cat. There is no doubt that would have ignited fumes. Just dry cold weather really gets that static super charged. I'm going to pump fuel out of a 55 Gallon metal drum with a good ground to the drum and another to the plane, then touch the nozzel to the metal on the plane and start pumping. Thats probably the best way I know of doing that. I have a friend that has been doing that for 20 years with no problem.

    Bill

  33. #33
    this would be a title NimpoCub's Avatar
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    I always touch the nozzle to the lift eye before I even think of opening the fuel cap.

    I don't have a grounding wire, tho, do ya's think that is necessary?
    I'm thinking that the friction/static of the running gas is connected (via the gas) to the tank anyway so the charge would remain neutral.

    Have I been risking life/airplane???
    Nimpo Lake Logan... boonie SuperCubber
    200mi (300km) from nearest stoplight... just right! - "Que hesitatus fornicatus est"

  34. #34
    aktango58's Avatar
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    A note about Placards:

    Get the correct one. If you are ever in any situation with a wreck, when emergency guys show up, guess how they determine the next move?

    If you say you have diesel, and have gas, you may cost a life when an unexpected explosion happens

    It does not matter gas or diesel for Packards, your fuel and container must weigh under 1010 lbs total I believe... total hauled. So even in three barrels, you are in need of the signs, or one big tank.

    Just to think about.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion
    I really wish someone would build good metal cans for gas.

    Vicki found a source for the old round cans last year, and I think they even had the metal pop-out spout and cap rather than the plastic tubes and lids that don't like it colder than about +20. She had them for sale at Tamarack, but I have not checked for them this winter.

  36. #36
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Nimpo,

    If you are using metal cans, touching the can to the plane prior to pouring should do the trick. Then, KEEP the spout in contact with the plane. Same for fueling with a standard hose and nozzle--keep the nozzle in contact with the filler neck at all times.

    If you're using plastic cans, it doesn't make any difference, really, cause the plastic is going to cause the charge to build up on the outside of the whole can. It may dissipate a tiny local portion of the charge from the nozzle if you touch it to the filler, but bottom line is that if ENOUGH static builds on the outside of the can, it will arc to the plane and that MAY ignite the fuel vapors.

    Fuel being poured is NOT a good conductor.

    Be safe out there. As I noted, I've fueled a lot out of plastic cans, but it always gives me the willys. A friend burned an airplane down pouring gas out of a plastic can. He said at one point he heard an odd sound, not loud, and looked down at the fuel filler, and he said he could see a blueish glow inside the tank. He jumped off the wing about the time it went up. He wasn't hurt, but the plane was a total. Winter.

    MTV

  37. #37
    brown bear's Avatar
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    best practices for transporting fuel

    When I built my plane I put the tank fill cap to far out board , making it hard to fill the wing tanks from a can while standing on the tire.
    So I had to come up with something to fill the plane when in the bush.
    I took a 5 gal. plastic fuel can and put a "AN838-8" fitting in the top with
    a 1/2" alum. tube attached on the inside for a stand pipe. Then I drilled, taped and then JB welded a 1/8" brass fitting with a tire valve stem in the very top of the gas jug next to the handle.then I put 8 foot of 1/2" hose on the AN fitting.
    I always carry a small hand tire pump like the bicycle guys carry, it is very small and only weights 10ozs.
    With the can on the ground I atach the tire pump and and use air to push the fuel, it takes a little less than 4 mins. of slow pumping to empty the 5 gal. plastic jug.
    With the jug on the ground I think{hope} I will not get a spark!!
    Doug

  38. #38
    Randy's Avatar
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    transporting fuel

    a few years back our leader S.J. posted this link about static electricity.
    Very interesting and informative...
    Thanks S.J.
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...08358801&hl=en

  39. #39

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    West Marine sells a 35gal. fueling tank on wheels and it comes with a fuel hose and nozzel. You pump it up with a air. Maybe and option.

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