Another View

Another View South Carolina operator tells how smaller airports and FBOs can justify a hydrant fueling system By John Boyce, Contributing Editor July 2000 Although by no means a crusader, Mike Shouse is issuing a clarion call to...

Anderson's hydrant system, which will be designed and overseen by Dow Technical Services in Summerton, SC, will be located close to the FBO terminal. The system will be capable of fueling four aircraft simultaneously.

"Everyone will be serviced in one fuel operations area," Shouse says. "There is one center point for which there are four reels that we work out to four different quadrants. Four (aircraft) can be fueled at one time. In actuality, depending on the size of the aircraft, we can position six to eight aircraft at any given time around that central point, in a circular fashion, and simply be able to go from one aircraft to the next."

Shouse favors and is working toward keeping jet fuel and avgas sales separate, but opted for avgas as part of the hydrant system largely to accommodate larger piston aircraft and to give smaller aircraft the choice. However, he does plan to install a self-service avgas island at some distance from the hydrant island and admits he could, depending on sales volume, at some point in the future have an avgas refueler.

"I haven't finished the experiment," Shouse says. "...Our airfield is high percentage jet sales, very little avgas. I want to believe that what little percent of total fuel sales is avgas, that the bulk of that percentage could be accommodated with self-serve, 24-hour pumps. I believe that once I've done that (self-service), a very small percentage of business would be left that wanted us to pump their fuel.

"Now that's the dynamics of this airfield; others may be different. If you have an airfield where the percentages between jet and avgas are more equal, that means that when you start talking about FBOs that are 300,000 gallons and up and 50 percent is avgas — well, the nature of avgas is much smaller gallons per sales. Sometimes it's hard to accommodate that much fueling, that many aircraft, in the hydrant concept. So the truck may, in fact, be the more efficient way to go. In this particular airfield, we're dealing with very high volume jet, very low avgas, and therefore, right now I believe I can probably do without the truck entirely."

Shouse moved the tank farm from a remote location to one in proximity to the hydrant island site, and thus saved money while limiting the disruption to airport operations during the installation. Shouse says having the farm close to the center island reduces costs of piping.

Anderson County's Fueling Initiative
Anderson County recently decided to become a proprietary privilege airport and provide key aeronautical services directly rather than through a private FBO.

In other words, Shouse will be the fuel vendor on the airport and leave such activities as aircraft maintenance, cargo handling, and flight instruction to the private FBO on the field. Shouse says that he and his airport commission plan to provide FBO services in a "very professional manner in every regard" while keeping a sharp eye on costs.

"It is interesting to note," Shouse says, "that this is not a private enterprise where maximizing profits should be paramount. In this instance, it is a county-run facility that is trying to take a very aggressive business look at every aspect of how we invest in the operation and the return on our dollar investment. That has motivated us to go with this hydrant design."

We Recommend