In our previous SafetyNet blog post, “The GamGram” we told you about The GamGram and what a great resource it is for anyone involved with aviation fuel handling. In the latest GamGram #69, Gammon Technical Products addresses some of the filter vessel maintenance concerns that often get over-looked. Many facilities may think that filter vessel maintenance is pretty much limited to changing filters and monitoring differential pressure. While these tasks are very important and great starting points, there are many other components of filter vessels that can lead to bigger problems down the road, if neglected. Check out GamGram #69 Filter Vessel Concerns to learn more.
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:
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.
Last week, NATA kicked off its 2018 Advanced Line Service (ALS) Workshop training series at Gateway Aviation Services in Mesa, AZ. The two-day event included sessions on motivation and leadership techniques, customer service best practices, misfueling prevention and the impact of human factors on aviation ground handling. Guest speakers Rick Spencer of Facet Filters and Reed Fuller of World Fuel Services also instructed attendees on aviation fuel filtration and quality control. The Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Fire Department provided hands on fire-extinguisher training during the workshop.
NATA would like to thank Matt Nebgen, Shannon Jones and all the staff at Gateway Aviation Services for hosting the association’s first 2018 ALS workshop.
Register now for NATA’s next ALS workshop on February 21-22 at Ross Aviation in Long Beach, CA. Click here for upcoming dates and registration information.
NATA’s New Safety 1st Subscription Program
Expand your training program, not your budget
NATA is pleased to announce the industry-wide launch of its Safety 1st Subscription Program — offering unlimited use of all NATA Safety 1st training at a fixed annual cost and eliminating the additional training expenses incurred by employee turnover. This new program includes a budget-friendly option for monthly billing of the annual fee.
Until now, Safety 1st training has been offered solely on a license-based system, requiring seats to be purchased per student, per course. With 30 online training courses to choose from, the administrative burden of purchasing, assigning and keeping track of licenses can quickly become overwhelming.
The new Subscription Program allows users to access all Safety 1st training at any time, an opportunity to broaden the skills of your staff as you see fit. Courses including health and safety, deicing and hazardous materials are now included in your subscription price. Training your supervisors or line service technicians in 2, 4, 6 or more different disciplines no longer changes your annual training costs and allows your employee to receive even more benefit from their Safety 1st training.
NATA’s Safety 1st Subscription Program also eliminates one of the biggest stressors of the license-based system — paying to train new employees resulting from turnover. Now, the departing employee is simply marked inactive in the system, opening that training slot to your new hire — reducing your additional training expense to zero.
Fixed annual training costs, unlimited use of all Safety 1st training, an option for monthly billing of the annual fee and the elimination of employee training turnover expenses — this new approach is quickly becoming the preferred method of training!
UDPATE: The maximum DP for filter monitors referenced with-in this article has been reverted back to 15psi. See our other NATA SafetyNet blog posts for the latest concerning filter monitors and other industry news.
This month, Airlines for America (A4A) announced several significant changes to their ATA 103 Specification – Standards for Jet Fuel Quality Control at Airports. Chief among these changes is an extension of coalescer filter elements from a one-year replacement schedule to a three-year replacement schedule. The coalescer filter housings are still required to be opened and inspected annually for cleanliness and element integrity, and the maximum allowable differential pressure (DP) remains 15psi. Monitor filter elements had their maximum allowable DP extended to 22psi, but are still required to be replaced annually. Another important change came in the elimination of the required monthly upstream membrane color/particle check, or “Millipore” test (downstream testing is still required monthly).
The announcement came after a “comprehensive review and update” by the A4A Fuel Technical Committee, and included several other key highlights. The new revision ATA 103 2017.1 is expected to be published next month, and will include additional updates not outlined in the announcement. A copy of the full announcement can be viewed here.
Account for all items after performing maintenance tasks!
- Mechanics, or others who help with aircraft maintenance, might leave items or residual debris behind after performing maintenance tasks that could become foreign object debris (FOD). Examples of FOD include tools, hardware, eyeglasses, keys, portable electronic devices (PEDs), paint chips, and metal shavings.
- If mechanics and others do not account for every item that they use in or around an aircraft and clean as they go, this FOD can be ingested into the engine or interfere with critical flight systems, leading to an accident.
What can you do?
- Perform an inventory of tools, personal items, AND personal protective equipment before working on an aircraft. Take only what is necessary for the specific maintenance task. Consider placing nonessential personal items, such as jewelry, coins, keys, and PEDs, in a secure location instead of keeping them with you during maintenance tasks.
- Prepare the workspace on the aircraft by covering up engines, pitot static ports, air inlets, and other areas with protective materials to reduce the likelihood of FOD migration (including residual debris, such as paint chips or metal shavings) to critical flight systems. SA-054 June 2016.
- While working in low visibility areas (ramp/hangar), ensure that proper lighting is used to check for FOD left behind during maintenance.
- Keep hardware and consumables in appropriate containers to prevent them from becoming FOD. Store tools in tool boxes and bags, and organize them in a manner so that you can easily recognize if one or more is missing.
- Distractions can cause you to forget things during maintenance tasks. Always follow the maintenance manual/task card and use a checklist. If you get distracted, go back three steps when restarting your work.
- As you perform the maintenance task, clean as you go to reduce the likelihood of leaving any items. Keep a FOD container next to you during the maintenance task for easy FOD disposal.
- Perform a second inventory of tools, any essential personal items, AND personal protective equipment (such as safety glasses, gloves, and hearing protection) after you have completed the maintenance task to ensure that items have not been left behind. Remove any aircraft protective materials so that they do not become FOD.
- Ask another mechanic to visually inspect your work area for any items that may become FOD. A second set of eyes may see something that you missed.
- Recognize that human factors issues such as complacency, fatigue, pressure, stress, and a lack of situation awareness can contribute to FOD.
- Consider conducting daily FOD walks in areas such as hangars, ramps, and runways to identify and remove FOD.
Interested in more information? Click here to read the full NTSB Safety Alert.