Another thing that Wilkinson says has been "spreading through the industry are tank level gauges" for inventory control. "In the past," Wilkinson says, "to inventory the fuel on wheels, people climbed to the top of the tank with a stick in their hands." Pointing out that there are rules against introducing foreign materials or objects to a tank of fuel, Wilkinson explains that installation of tank level gauges is to "a) keep the fuel clean and; b) to avoid the potential liability of having somebody climb to the top of the tank on a rainy day and fall off. We have all had that happen. We’re giving the customer reasons not to do that again."
Another innovation that is becoming popular with airlines is the mass flow Coriolis metering system that has no moving parts. The Coriolis measures specific gravity rather than the standard positive displacement meters that measure volume. By measuring specific gravity, it doesn’t have to compensate for temperature, it does it automatically; the specific gravity doesn’t change. And because of specific gravity, the meter is able to immediately detect what the product flowing through is. In other words, avgas can’t accidentally get into a jet fuel tank and vice versa.
All of the innovations on refuelers and hydrant carts, Bosserman says, add cost, "but long term your cost is going to come down from the standpoint of less maintenance, less downtime. A lot of people don’t factor it in, but every time that truck comes out of service you’re not able to fuel an aircraft, or you delay an aircraft because you’re underneath and it freezes up on you. A lot of people in today’s market don’t have surplus trucks."