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FAA issues safety alert on jet fuel contaminationFAA issues safety alert on jet fuel contamination

The FAA is continuing to spread the word about dangers of jet-fuel contamination in the aftermath of an incidence of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) being erroneously added to jet fuel instead of an icing-inhibiting solution at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport in August. The incident caused service difficulties for several aircraft.

Following up on a special airworthiness information bulletin it issued in September, the FAA described the problem—which it noted also has occurred in other places—and recommended precautionary actions in a Safety Alert for Operators issued Nov. 13.

The FAA “is monitoring the situation to determine if additional action is required,” and requested that any service difficulties or maintenance and inspection findings about DEF introduced into aircraft fuel systems be reported.

When added to jet fuel, DEF, which is designed to reduce harmful emissions from diesel-powered vehicles, reacts with chemical components to form crystalline deposits in the fuel system that “may accumulate on filters, fuel metering components, other fuel system components, or engine fuel nozzles,” or cause other fuel-system problems. The deposits are not soluble in fuel, making them difficult to eliminate.

The safety alert recommended that operators of the five aircraft that received contaminated fuel and nine others that were serviced with equipment that came in contact with contaminated fuel contact their aircraft, engine, and APU original equipment manufacturers to determine appropriate inspections and maintenance actions; report any service difficulties, fuel system repairs, and fuel system inspection results related to crystalline deposits to the FAA; discard any suspect jet fuel removed from affected aircraft; and discuss with local fueling providers whether their diesel-powered airport service vehicles require DEF, and their procedures “to prevent and test for jet fuel contamination.”

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Jet, Turboprop

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