Summary of Recent NATA Webinar: Filter Monitors and What You Need to Know

NATA would like to thank everyone who attended last week’s webinar on recent changes concerning filter monitors and give a special thanks to our expert panelists Amy Carico of Airlines for America (A4A) and John Leonard of Facet Filters.

The webinar was held to update our members on the status of filter monitors following the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), and Energy Institute’s (EI) position statement that filter monitors be phased out of all aviation fuel handling systems. The position statement came after eight separate documented incidents in which super absorbent polymer or SAP (which is the media used in filter monitors) was found downstream in engine/airframe fuel system components.

We have provided a summary of the questions and answers covered during the webinar below:

Q: How has A4A responded to the findings of the IATA and EI special interest group on SAP?

A: A4A has issued the following 6 actions to be implemented at sites which use filter monitors and operate to the ATA 103 standard:

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Q: What if my site is not required to meet the ATA 103?

A: The recommendations of A4A concerning the action items above come after thorough industry research and are recommended to be implemented at all facilities currently using filter monitor elements. NATA also recommends you contact your filter manufacturer and fuel provider for additional guidance.

 

Q: Do the same concerns that exist regarding filter monitors for use with jet fuel also apply to avgas?

A: Yes, and while the ATA 103 does not provide a standard for avgas, the same recommendations provided for use with jet fuel are also recommended for avgas. NATA recommends you contact your filter manufacturer and fuel provider for specific guidance.

 

Q: The EI outlined a December 31st, 2020 revocation date for the 1583 qualification standard for filter monitors. What does that mean for my location if we use filter monitors?

A: Filter manufacturers are currently working with the EI and other industry partners to develop a replacement for filter monitors by December 31st, 2020. Until a replacement is decided upon and approved industry wide, the six action items outlined above should be implemented as a precaution against SAP media migration downstream.

 

Q: Is there currently a 7th edition specification approved for 2’’, 5’’ and 6’’ in-to-out flow filter monitors?

A: 2’’ monitors have received 7th edition EI qualification and are currently available from all three filter manufactures. 5’’ and 6’’ elements are currently awaiting EI 7th edition qualification. NATA recommends you contact your filter manufacturer for timelines.

 

Q: What should I do if my site currently uses 6’’ in-to-out flow monitor elements?

A: 6’’ in-to-out flow monitor elements were developed to convert existing filter/water separator vessels (FWS), also known as coalescer/separator vessels, to monitor filtration. As noted by A4A in the table above, these vessels should be converted back to using filter/water separator elements. It is important to note, that FWS vessels require water defense systems so you must ensure that your vessel is equipped with a functioning water defense.

 

Q: What about 5’’ and 6’’ out-to-in flow monitor elements used in small canister vessels like the VF-61, VF-21, and VF-22?

A: The three major filter element manufacturers Facet, Velcon, and Faudi all make single-element filter/separator filters for these vessels so you should contact your filter supplier to determine the element which would be required. Like traditional FWS vessels however, a water defense system must be installed.

FAA Issues CertAlert – Increases in GSE & Vehicles Hitting and Damaging Aircraft

Yesterday the FAA Airports Office issues a National Part 139 CertAlert titled; Increase in the Numbers of Vehicles and/or Equipment Inadvertently Hitting and Damaging Airplanes in the Ramp/Gate Areas. FAA CertAlerts are a publication designed to “ provid[e] additional guidance on Part 139 Airport Certification and related issues to FAA inspectors and staff” but are also available to airports, industry stakeholders and the public in the interest of increasing safety.

In this CertAlert FAA notes that:

 “There have been several recent accidents in the non-movement area of airports involving vehicles such as food service trucks, airplane tugs, baggage tow vehicles and their carts, and other wheeled vehicle and equipment used to service aircraft. These accidents resulted in people being killed or injured, and/or damaged aircraft.”

Some of FAA’s recommendations include:

a. Conduct a comprehensive review of the Airport Driver’s Training Program and any assigned tenant driver’s training programs for vehicle operations in and around the ramp or gate areas. Continue to emphasize that only those vehicles and vehicle operators necessary to conduct airport/air carrier operations are authorized on the ramp areas.

b. Review, and consider implementing as appropriate, applicable items from the Airport Cooperative Research Program’s (ACRP’s) Synthesis 29, Ramp Safety Practices. You can access the report at http://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/166314.aspx.

c. Review any existing Letters of Agreement or Memorandums of Understanding involving vehicles and vehicle operators that the airport has with airport tenants, Fixed Base Operators, and airport contracted services. Ensure only essential vehicles have access to the ramp area and operators are appropriately trained.

d. If practical, reduce the number of non-essential or infrequent vehicle operators to lessen the exposure and risk for incidents on the ramp. For example, an airport may wish to review and limit a tenant’s operational area to further reduce potential accidents in the ramp environment.

e. Implement and/or increase the periodic vehicle spot checks by airport operations staff or associated airport law enforcement officers to raise awareness of safe vehicle operations on the ramp area.

The full CertAlert can be downloaded here

The FAA CertAlert webpage is located at:

www.faa.gov/airports/airport_safety/certalerts

Visit or return to NATA website: http://www.nata.aero