Friday, 12 June 2015

Fuelling up

The topic of fuel has a reasonable amount of ground school time allocated to it, because it’s kind of important. We are taught to check for water in the fuel (bad thing), metal bits in the fuel (also bad) and finally the colour of the fuel.

Again this isn’t a fashion item, different grades of fuel are dyed different colours, so it is relatively easy to tell if the stuff that is in your tanks is going to make the engine purr sweetly or blow up in your face.

The Cessna 172s I fly use 100LL grade fuel, which is dyed blue. At a pinch they’ll also just use standard 100 fuel as well (LL stands for low lead) which is dyed green.

Anything red in the tank is bad  as is anything clear or straw coloured.

There are things about fuel that they don’t tell you in ground school though, like the fact that if you get it in your eye that it can dissolve your contact lenses.

They also don’t cover the important topic of pilot fuel.  Pilots run on two types of fuel, Brunch and Butter tarts. Sometimes both at the same time.

For the former it is well know that no matter what time of day they land, most pilots will, when given the chance, order brunch. I’ve been at flyouts where the kitchen has had to send out for extra eggs. 

Airport destinations are not picked for their runway lengths, configurations or conditions but for the quality of the restaurants. Any change in ownership is investigated and reported on at length.  If you run a restaurant at an airport then you pretty much have to consider every customer as a potential “mystery shopper”, they WILL be filing a report.

As for the butter tarts, these are essential. The best location for the purchasing of said baked goods is usually a hotly contested topic.

They are used to top up blood sugar levels (often to near diabetic coma inducing levels), bribe dispatch, make peace with mechanics and a thousand other things.

Either way pilots simply don’t function without them.

Ok, I didn’t actually start writing this post with food in mind. I actually meant to talk about my first foray into refuelling an aircraft or at least helping S

Guess that’ll be another post then!


  1. This was too funny! xD
    Also great advice for us future pilots. I know I need to be snacking on things and stopping by the corner store for goodies is not an option while up in the air.

  2. We don't have ground crew around these parts. It's all DIY, I was shown how to refuel an aircraft on lesson 2 and since then it's been my responsibility to ensure the aircraft has fuel and oil prior to and after the lesson. As for food, I recommend bananas because they taste as good on the way up as they do on the way down. Useful for airsick pax.