Third DEF Contamination Incident Highlights Need for Additional Training

Earlier this month, another jet fuel contamination event occurred at an FBO in Southwest Florida.  This latest incident marks the third time in less than two years that Diesel Exhaust Fluid, or DEF has contaminated the fuel supply of a jet fuel truck. In all three cases, multiple in-flight engine failures occurred, with the possibility of significant damage to aircraft fuel systems and engines. Fortunately, none of these cases resulted in an aircraft crash.

Following the first contamination incident in late 2017, NATA, through its Safety Committee, reviewed the risk of jet fuel contamination with DEF and created a free DEF Contamination Prevention training course. This most recent incident, however, highlights yet again, just how serious the DEF contamination risk is, and how it is still a very real threat. FBO’s and aircraft operators must be diligent in ensuring that staff are not only properly trained, but that company policies and procedures used to prevent DEF contamination are being followed.

The following Q & A highlights key information all FBOs and fuel providers should be aware of.

  1. What is Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) and what is it used for?

DEF is a clear liquid containing a mixture of urea and demineralized water that is used to reduce emissions in modern diesel engine vehicles. DEF is designed to be used only in 2010 or later year vehicles equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems.

  1. How does DEF get into jet fuel?

Details of the latest incident are still pending, but in previous incidents, the identified risk occurs when DEF is inadvertently added to the fuel truck’s Fuel System Icing Inhibitor (FSII) storage tank and then injected into the fuel.

  1. What happens when DEF contaminated jet fuel is delivered to aircraft?

DEF reacts with certain chemical components in jet fuel to form crystalline deposits in the aircraft fuel system.  This can lead to a very high likelihood of inflight engine failure, damage to aircraft fuel systems and engines, and represents a serious risk to flight safety.

  1. What can FBO’s and other fuel providers do to reduce the risk of DEF contamination?

In addition to reviewing the FAA’s Office of Airport Safety and Operations, October 2018  letter on the inadvertent use of DEF instead FSII in aircraft, NATA’s Safety 1st DEF Contamination Prevention training recommends the following 4 actions:

  1. DEF & FSII should be stored in separate, locked locations with differently keyed locks. Keys should also be labeled and not kept on the same key ring.
  2. All staff should be trained on the locations of DEF and FSII and the differences between the packaging and labeling of the two products.
  3. Only trained and approved personnel should handle DEF or fill fuel truck DEF tanks.
  4. All FSII transfers from storage to refueling equipment FSII containers should be recorded in a dedicated log that includes
    1. Date
    2. Time
    3. Transfer to/from
    4. Name of individual who completed the transfer
  1. What should I do if I believe that aviation fuel has been contaminated with DEF?

Currently there is no field test to check jet fuel for DEF contamination, although it has been reported the industry is working on such a test. NATA recommends that all FBO’s and other aviation fuel providers work with their fuel distributer to develop a response protocol to aviation fuel contamination incidents. Such a protocol should include the training needs for FBO staff.

  1. How can my team access the NATA Safety 1st DEF Contamination Prevention training?
  • Companies that currently use the NATA Safety 1st program can simply assign the DEF training as they would any other course. There is no charge for the DEF training.
  • Companies that do not currently use the NATA Safety 1st program can contact us at safety1st@nata.aero for complementary access to the DEF program.

 

For more information or for additional questions please contact NATA at safety1st@nata.aero

Congratulations: American Aero FTW Becomes First FBO to Earn IS-BAH Stage III Registration

American Aero FTW, an FBO based at Meacham International Airport in Fort Worth, Texas became the first FBO in the world to earn a new Stage III safety and ground handling certificate of registration from the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC). IBAC’s International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) registration is a global, voluntary code of best practices for business aviation ground handlers. IS-BAH is a joint program between IBAC and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). It incorporates the NATA Safety 1st ground audit program and a safety management system (SMS) in all aspects of FBO operations and is aligned with the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO). In 2015, American Aero FTW was the first FBO in the Western Hemisphere to the earn IS-BAH Stage I registration. In 2017, the FBO was one of the first in the world to earn Stage II.

sdf

“When I created American Aero FTW, I set forth to redefine the FBO experience for passengers and crews and deliver an exceptional customer experience at every touchpoint,” said American Aero FTW founder Robert M. Bass. “This milestone reflects that vision and demonstrates our commitment to deliver unparalleled safety and service.” Read more.

NATA Wraps Up Successful Second Annual Ground Handling Safety Symposium

Continuing its leadership role in driving general aviation ground handling safety initiatives, NATA concluded the second annual Ground Handling Safety Symposium (GHSS) on September 12, 2018. The NATA GHSS is the first industry event dedicated solely to general aviation ground handling safety and includes expert speakers, open forum discussions and industry incident case-studies to provide attendees an interactive experience.

Attendees explored the dynamics between just culture and individual accountability, the challenges of managing safety in a multi-generational workforce and the role of risk management in dealing with fatigue on the ramp. During the open forum sessions, moderated by members of the NATA Safety Committee, attendees discussed the common challenges affecting safety management system implementation, fuel contamination prevention, on-ramp usage of personal electronics and more.

In addition to the great sessions, discussions and case studies, NATA GHSS attendees were able to network with other safety professionals from across our industry at the networking event held at Top Golf in Ashburn, VA.

The 2018 NATA GHSS was made possible with the support of ServiceElements International, Facet Filters, Baldwin Aviation Safety, FBOPartners, Chubb Insurance and CrewID.

NATA Concludes First Certified QC Inspector Workshop

Last week, NATA held its first Certified QC Inspector Workshop at Wilson Air Center in Charlotte, NC. The two-day event focused exclusively on aviation fuel quality control and how to deliver clean, dry and on specification fuel to aircraft, through proper receipt, storage, and handling procedures.

The workshop was led by Steve Berry, NATA’s Trainer and Content Manager and Keith Clark, Phillips 66’s QC Technical Representative. Through classroom and hands-on sessions, attendees learned how to setup and organize fuel quality control records and documentation for the receipt of fuel and QC inspections. Attendees were also provided an industry update by Scott Drafall of Facet Filters on the status of the monitor filter issue.

NATA would like to thank Phillips 66, Facet Filters and Wilson Air Center staff for making this event possible. For more information on other upcoming NATA events, please visit www.nata.aero/events.

Qc1

QC Technical Rep Keith Clark demonstrates the free water test using a Velcon Hydro-Kit.

 

qc2

Attendee Josh Matekovic of Clovis Airport in Texico, NM participates in the quarterly external water defense check of a filter/separator vessel.

qc3

Scott Drafall of Facet Filters provides attendees an industry update on the status of monitor filters.

NATA Launches In-Person Training with Safety 1st OnSITE

Last week, NATA Safety 1st launched its new Safety 1st OnSITE program. Safety 1st OnSITE is a supplementary training resource that allows users to customize a one, two or three-day in-person safety and operational training experience at their location.

Built upon the NATA Safety 1st online training foundation, Safety 1st OnSITE goes beyond the industry standard and provides aviation businesses customized training that will improve safety, operations and team morale.

Safety 1st OnSITE provides users the ability to create their custom in-person training experience from any of the following course topics:

  • Aviation Fuel Quality Control & Misfueling Prevention
  • Safety 1st Training Program Review
  • Safety 1st Towing Safety Program
  • Ground Handling Human Factors
  • General Ramp Safety
  • Customer Service Excellence
  • Hazard Communication
  • Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasure
  • Fire Safety – Classroom & Hands-On

Safety 1st OnSITE is open to any company that currently participates in the NATA Safety 1st program.

For pricing or more information, contact NATA at Safety1st@nata.aero. To view the press release for the Safety 1st OnSITE launch, click here.

Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) Contamination Risk | NATA Fuel QC Training and Resources Available

Our industry has seen several incidents in recent months where DEF was accidently injected into jet fuel instead of FSII, causing significant aircraft damage. Although none of these incidents led to an aircraft crash, there is a substantial risk of engine failure in aircraft fueled with DEF contaminated fuel. NATA urges its members that utilize Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) and Fuel System Icing Inhibitor (FSII or Prist) to review their storage, handling and personnel training procedures to prevent dangerous fuel contamination.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) that addresses the dangers of DEF contaminated aviation fuel.

In December of 2017, NATA released a DEF Contamination Prevention training course through its Safety 1st Supplemental Safety Training program. This course is provided free of charge to anyone in the industry and could help prevent future incidents related to DEF Contamination. Current Safety 1st users have the ability to assign the DEF Contamination Prevention course to their employees utilizing their Safety 1st training account. Companies that are not current Safety 1st users should contact us for complimentary access to the DEF Contamination Prevention course.

Current Safety 1st Users – click here for directions on assigning courses

Non Safety 1st Users – click here to contact us at safety1st@nata.aero

Additionally, NATA provides the following resources to assist and educate our members on aviation fuel management:

For questions regarding DEF contamination prevention or any of the resources described in this alert, please contact safety1st@nata.aero.

What’s New for the Upcoming Annual Ground Handling Safety Symposium | September 11-12 Ashburn, VA

On September 11-12 in Ashburn, VA (IAD), attendees of NATA’s Ground Handling Safety Symposium (GHSS) will participate in open forum discussions focused on the operational safety needs of FBOs and other GA ground handlers. In NATA’s latest podcast, hear more about how we’re expanding opportunities to collaborate and share what’s happening in the world of ground handling safety. For more information or to register, please visit www.nata.aero/ghss.