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Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
New Resources Available to Prevent Misfueling in General Aviation

The consequences of placing the incorrect grade or type of fuel in an aircraft are very serious. This situation is referred to as “misfueling”. In General Aviation (GA), where the majority of aircraft are fueled over-the-wing, there is a significant risk of misfueling which can lead to vapor lock, ignition failure or total engine failure. However, following proper safety measures will prevent potential disaster. 

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has launched the “Safety 1st Misfueling Prevention Program: Awareness Training for Line Service Professionals, FBO Managers, Customer Service Representatives and Pilots”.  


The program includes short videos that provide education about simple steps that can be taken to prevent misfuelings. A quiz follows the video presentation, after which individuals who pass can print a certificate of completion. NATA says the program is not intended to be a comprehensive training program, which must be completed before individuals attempt to fuel an aircraft. But it covers essential elements that serve as a good primer for those in each outlined job category.

The “Big Three”

NATA focuses on what it calls the Big Three items required to get the right fuel into aircraft every time: Proper fuel orders, the use of selective spouts, and grade verification.  

Let’s take a moment to focus on spouts. Industry standards and best practices require that selective spouts be installed on all aviation overwing nozzles, which in essence are designed to prevent jet fuel from being inadvertently put into aircraft requiring Avgas.  

The Jet A Wide Oval Spout, also known as duckbill or J-Spout, is designed so it cannot be placed into most fuel openings for Avgas powered aircraft. However, some Avgas aircraft may not have restricted size filler ports. Other exceptions potentially include helicopters.  So the selective spouts only provide a layer of protection against misfueling; they are not fail-safe. It is up to the ground fuel handler to make sure they have covered the big three fueling checks before dispensing the fuel into the aircraft.  There are no exceptions to these checks. 

One interesting point of the NATA online presentation is that if you want to use jet fuel, but need to use a round spout, the round spout can only be used temporarily. And it must be immediately removed after use.  This is a very important practice to prevent any mistakes during the next refueling.

Additional Safety Practices

One additional layer of protection that is found in the field for Aviation nozzles is the use of colored nozzle handles. Black handles are in place for nozzles using Jet fuel. Red handles depict nozzles that dispense Avgas. Hewitt always asks customers about the type of fuel to be dispensed and the handle-color required before orders for nozzles are entered.   

An additional resource with detailed information on preventing misfuelings is NATA Safety 1st eToolKit which is available at the following link.


Information on Husky /Hewitt nozzles can be found at  www.husky.com.  Be sure to check out our Osprey and Eagle Nozzles.

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