USA — Langley tests new fuel delivery system

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFNS) — Air­men here are test­ing a new fuel deliv­ery sys­tem that offi­cials say could rev­o­lu­tion­ize flight­line oper­a­tions and save the Air Force mil­lions of dol­lars.

Air­man 1st Class John Jus­tini­ano, a 633rd Logis­tics Readi­ness Squadron refu­el­ing unit oper­a­tor, con­nects a hose to the hydrant fuel­ing sys­tem on the flight­line at Lan­g­ley Air Force Base, Va., March 7, 2012. The 633rd LRS is respon­si­ble for all the fuels dis­bursed on the base, whether ground prod­ucts like gas or diesel, or jet fuel des­ig­nat­ed for use in Lan­g­ley AFB’s fight­er jets. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kay­la New­man)
Click to enlarge

The new Hydrant Mobile Refu­el­er has been in devel­op­ment for rough­ly a year and a half, and it could be imple­ment­ed through­out the Air Force in 2012, accord­ing to the 633rd Logis­tics Readi­ness Squadron fuels man­age­ment super­in­ten­dent.

“We’ve added a hydrant con­nec­tion that we can con­nect to our Type 3, con­stant-pres­sure hydrant sys­tem, which will allow us to be able to pump fuel direct­ly from the hydrant sys­tem, through the (truck), going straight to the air­craft,” Senior Mas­ter Sgt. Patrick Smith said.

In oth­er words, where the R-11 fuel trucks nor­mal­ly pump fuel from their tanks into wait­ing air­craft, this mod­i­fi­ca­tion allows the fuel truck to sim­ply serve as a con­nec­tion point and fil­ter. The fuel stored in under­ground tanks will trav­el direct­ly into the air­craft being ser­viced. One of the major hur­dles this mod­i­fi­ca­tion address­es is ser­vic­ing heavy air­craft not assigned to Lan­g­ley.

“When we have large-frame air­craft that come in, and they’re not parked direct­ly on the pits where we can use the pan­to­graph, we can bring the HYMORE truck out,” Smith said. “This truck will be able to pump as much fuel as our sys­tem is able to push to it.

“We are here test­ing a lot of great ideas for the fuels are­na,” Smith added. “Lan­g­ley has been a test base for many years, but this is the one that we are hang­ing our hat on. Time and mon­ey is what we are real­ly excit­ed about with this new HYMORE, and it’s already proven itself here at Lan­g­ley.”

The 633rd LRS is respon­si­ble for all the fuels dis­bursed on the base, whether ground prod­ucts like gas or diesel, or jet fuel des­ig­nat­ed for use in Lan­g­ley AFB’s fight­er jets. Fuels man­age­ment per­son­nel receive, test and dis­trib­ute fuel as need­ed, 24 hours a day, sev­en days a week.

Mas­ter Sgt. Joseph Eve­son, the 633rd LRS Fuels Man­age­ment NCO in charge of facil­i­ties, said on any giv­en day, fuels man­age­ment ser­vices about 40 air­craft, includ­ing Lan­g­ley AFB’s fight­ers and any tran­sient air­craft. Fuels man­age­ment has 14 R-11 fuel trucks to ser­vice the air­craft and two trucks des­ig­nat­ed to ser­vice ground vehi­cles.

“With a stan­dard R-11, you can issue 6,000 gal­lons, and then you have to come back and fill your truck,” Eve­son said. “With the HYMORE, you’re only lim­it­ed to capac­i­ty of the hydrant sys­tem — up to 900,000 (gal­lons) here at Lan­g­ley.

“Lan­g­ley is cur­rent­ly the only place that has the sys­tem attached to the trucks,” he said. “They are in the process of putting them on out at Nel­lis (Air Force Base, Nev.). If all goes well at Lan­g­ley and Nel­lis, they are going to take them out to the desert.”

Eve­son said the HYMORE saves time and mon­ey, it’s eas­i­er to use and takes few­er peo­ple to set up.

“If we’re using the pan­to­graph, you have to take the addi­tion­al piece of equip­ment and tow it out to the flight­line,” Eve­son said. “You have to hook it up, dri­ve five miles an hour to the air­craft, and it takes two peo­ple to set up. Once you’re done, its takes two peo­ple to take it all apart and dri­ve it back to its spot. With the HYMORE, you can just send one oper­a­tor with his truck out to the air­craft.”

Eve­son said once the sys­tem is approved for use Air Force wide, each base would have the option to pur­chase fuels hydrant ser­vice vehi­cles with the HYMORE mod­i­fi­ca­tion.

“Instead of buy­ing a new R-11, an R-12 and a pan­to­graph, they could buy an R-11 and get the HYMORE attach­ment as an add-on,” Eve­son said. “A pan­to­graph costs about $130,000; an HSV costs about $200,000. The HYMORE costs about $18,000; so you’re look­ing at sav­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars.”

Eve­son said anoth­er ben­e­fit of the mod­i­fi­ca­tion is that it requires almost zero train­ing for the refu­el­ing oper­a­tors because it is such a sim­ple piece of equip­ment to oper­ate.

Senior Air­man Lloyd Nau, a 633rd LRS refu­el­ing oper­a­tor, works out of the fuels man­age­ment sec­tion on the north­ern end of the flight­line. He said using the trucks with the mod­i­fi­ca­tion can save 45 min­utes to an hour for every fuel­ing oper­a­tion.

“The biggest ben­e­fit would be that it stops us from hav­ing to come all the way back here to fill up our truck, and then go all the way back out to the air­craft and hook back up to it,” Nau said. “We can stay on the air­craft the entire time and refu­el it.”

Smith said the Air Force would con­sid­er the HYMORE a suc­cess once it deter­mines trucks with the mod­i­fi­ca­tion can ser­vice air­craft at the same rate, or bet­ter, than the cur­rent equip­ment can. He said since 633rd LRS per­son­nel have already done that, now it’s just a mat­ter of work­ing out the details.

“The next step would be that we would have this on the next (pur­chase),” Smith said. “That’s why we are test­ing hot and heavy here at Lan­g­ley, because we are try­ing to get the data and pro­vide it to the engi­neers. We’ve already leaned way for­ward on this, and it is some­thing you are prob­a­bly going to see before this year is out.”

U.S. Air Force

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter