ATA Spec 103

ATA SPEC 103 Determining what it does and does not intend to do By Lindsay M. Hitch, Assistant Editor April 2001 The "Standard for Jet Fuel Quality Control at Airports," commonly known as ATA 103, sets guidelines for the safe...

The issue now becomes a question of how closely to follow ATA 103.
Wilkinson repeats, "They do a good job with the clean, dry fuel standard. That’s not the problem at all. They should not dabble in the mechanical end."
And Boling freely admits that the document still needs a lot of work. "There are definitely problems with the document. I have tried to weed out what didn’t really fit in a fuel quality or fuel handling safety document. It is not finished. I’d really like the industry to understand that this document isn’t everything."
Part of the reason ATA 103 has been used for more than it was intended, is that there is no existing maintenance guideline. SAE has a committee working on a fuel truck and hydrant cart spec that will outline what is and is not acceptable for fuel trucks.
NATA has released a new procedures manual with 13 pages devoted to aircraft fueling vehicles that outlines daily, weekly, and periodic vehicle and hose checks, as well as a section on quality control.
The consensus on ATA 103 is that the standards for clean, dry fuel are effective in conjunction with a complete fuel truck maintenance program. ATA 103 is not sufficient alone, but it can be an important part of regular safety and maintenance procedures, say sources.


United’s Eric Boling did a presentation at last year’s AS3 show in Tampa entitled, "ATA 103, What it is not.’ The main points were as follows:
• It is not a government document;
• It is not a mandatory industry standard;
• It is not an international standard;
• It is not an aircraft fueling standard;
• It is not a facility or system design document;
• It is not intended for off-airport use, such as in refineries;
• It does not talk about inventory;
• It is not a handbook for auditors;
• It does not cover general or corporate aviation;
• It is not all-inclusive;
• And it is not finished.
At the end of the presentation, Boling remembers one gentleman jumping up and down who said, "So, what is the damn thing?" Boling’s response? "Just a recommendation."

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