3 Aircraft Fueling Myths

Dec. 14, 2023
When it comes to fueling aircraft, clear communication and attention to detail is a must. Avoid these pitfalls that could lead to disaster.

As a champion for the Save a Life, Verify Fuel Type campaign, Keith Clark – senior quality control and technical representative at Phillips 66 – is one of the largest advocates for safe aircraft fueling operations.

During a recent webinar presented by the Aviation Week Network, Clark highlighted several initiatives designed to improve fueling safety at FBOs. During this presentation, Clark also warned the industry of three commonly believed myths.


Myth #1: If jet fuel is mixed with avgas 100LL, it will separate because jet fuel is heavier than avgas.

“Jet fuel is heavier than avgas, but they’re both a petroleum product,” Clark clarifies. “When you mix jet fuel and avgas, they’re going to mix straight together and you’re not going to be able to tell. It’s not going to separate like water.

“There’s pilots out there that think it’ll separate,” he continued. “No. It’ll smell different. But it will not separate. It’ll leave a stain on a piece of paper or something like that. But it will not separate from avgas.

“It’ll just be a new product that’s part jet fuel and part avgas.”


Myth #2: Avgas and a Jet A mixture of fuel will not be blue.

Actually, Clark explained, this mixture will be blue.

“It’ll just be a little lighter shade blue, but you won’t be able to notice it,” he explained. “With UL94 and other products coming out – unleaded 100s – they’re going to be different colors. And when we start mixing stuff, it’s going to get really crazy. We’ve got to be thinking ahead to the day when we get to that unleaded product. Or if you’ve got UL94, we’ve got to be thinking right now."


Myth #3: A jet nozzle won’t fit my aircraft, so I can’t be misfueled.

Clark referenced a tragic accident in 2019, when an aircraft was misfueled with a duckbill nozzle positioned at a 45-degree angle. By the end of the fueling event, 161 gallons of incorrect fuel was put into the aircraft and no one noticed.

“There was a breakdown in communication. There was a breakdown all the way through. A tragedy,” Clark said. “A pilot lost his life, and a line person made a mistake.

“This is why we’re trying to prevent this in the future," he continued. "Save a Life, Verify Fuel Type – every time. Look at those placards every time. Take two seconds, take three seconds and communicate the process.”


Clark advised members of the industry not to get trapped by thinking “it will never happen to me.”

“Everybody’s human. That’s why we have to have the check and balances,” he said.

“There’s too many people that think it’s never going to happen,” Clark added. “But it happens all the time.”