Fuel sampling

Avgas and Jet Fuel sure are some nasty chemicals. At least Avgas dries on you very quickly (as the toxic lead gets absorbed into your body most likely) but Jet Fuel stays with you for a long time. I hate that smell. It’s weird how burned Jet Fuel doesn’t smell all that bad but with raw Jet Fuel you can totally imagine that it is not good for you, even if you haven’t done the research just by the smell alone.

I had my helicopter parked on an oil rig one time when a swarm of ladybugs landed (to rest? not sure what the ladybugs were doing 12 miles offshore) on the aircraft and literally covered the whole thing. It was a crazy phenomena but what really freaked me out watching them was that every bug died instantly the second it came in contact with any kind of oil, grease, or fuel on the aircraft (it was an old Twinstar so there was plenty of either fluid every time I flew the thing covering the engine bay and around the transmission). It kind of makes you wonder what all these chemicals do to your body if you are constantly around them being in this business …

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11 comments on “Fuel sampling
  1. JPKalishek says:

    Don’t Taste The Fuel!

    Snort it up your nose instead

  2. v says:

    Wait, someone made Chuck slap his forehead, instead of the other way around… Fascinating!

  3. Captain Dunsel says:

    Mix it with gin? Worked for quinine…


  4. OLY says:

    My father was a State Trooper back in the 70s. They had a hose spliced into the fuel line to the carb so they could give gas to folks who had ran out. Dad told me one day that he had given the end of the hose to a fellow to put in the filler while he turned the valve on. He turned around in time to see the guy sucking on the hose to start the siphon. MOPAR 440 Interceptors had lots of fuel pressure to feed the 1000CFM carb. Needless to say, the guy got lots of gas quickly.

  5. Luke says:

    What it does? Leads to cancer most likely. The worst component of avgas (petrol) isn’t the lead. Lead just causes lead poisoning. A far worse component is benzene (which is up to 1% of the weight of the fuel) – that penetrates the skin and goes straight to the bone marrow where it causes leukemia, among other things. I think Jet-A is a little safer considering it’s basically refined kerosene (which is quite similar to Diesel). Since it’s made of heavier hydrocarbons the skin absorption is not so drastic.

  6. Ninjated says:

    I heard years ago that people working within the aerospace business have a 25% greater chance of dying from cancers than anyone else, due to the chemicals we handle daily. When Boeing merged with Douglas they supposedly found that the average pension pay out was only for around 7 years! I spent years cleaning my hands with JET A1, MEK and Trike 111, used asbestos, Strontium chromate, paints & thinners, greases etc etc. all usually with bare hands. At least now most of the industry and the young guys have wised up and use neoprene gloves nearly all day and have decent dust masks and respirators provided. You think it won’t get you when you are young but as you get older your not so sure.

  7. markm says:

    Even the de-icer fluid may be carcinogenic. There’s a big fuss right now in MIchigan over decades of de-icer spreading in the ground water from a decomissioned Air Force Base, and they have no idea how much the arimen and their families were exposed to..

  8. Quill says:

    Discovery: Brake fluid tastes awful! Conclusion: Vacuum bleeding brakes by sucking on a hose, to my surprise, actually works, but I do not recommend it. I hate to think of how many chemicals I have come into contact with or ingested working on my car – engine oil, transmission oil, various sorts of grease, gasoline, brake fluid. Splashed brake cleaner in the same eye (left I think) twice before I finally figured out that I should probably put on safety glasses – that hurt like unprintable words, I must say. My method for sampling AvGas while I was a student pilot was similar to this – I didn’t taste it, but I would sometimes sniff it – if I recoiled in disgust and felt a number of brain cells die, I knew the gas was good. Don’t usually do that anymore (on the rare occasion that I fly that is), I just look at the color, I’ve gotten more familiar with it.

  9. Flying Wrench says:

    It is a pretty safe assumption that if you can wipe it off of an aircraft, it is really bad for you. Where I work, there are a few chemicals that are coloquially known as “cancer in a can.”

  10. JPKalishek says:

    I thought they used Propylene Glycol as deicing?(Also used as “Child and Pet Safe” antifreeze for your car) PG is in food, drinks and the MSDS/SDS says “May cause stomach upset if consumed in large quantities”.

  11. markm says:

    They used AFFF, which includes PFC’s:


    Maybe because Wurtsmith is pretty far north and near Lake Huron, they felt they needed extra effectiveness in the de-icers, or possibly the Air Force picked that because they have to plan ahead for deployments to bare fields in remote areas, and operate from them in extreme areas. If AFFF reduces the amount of de-icer that they might have to airlift in, that would be a major point in favor – and this decision was made when we knew a lot less about carcinogens and how pollutants spread in ground water.

    There are environmental concerns even with PG, if enough of it is used. The Thornapple River was supposedly running with pink foam from de-icing runoff at the Grand Rapids commercial airport (GRR) until they put in a very expensive system to catch the runoff.

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