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EAA AirVenture Museum Events
It's Spring:
Pioneer Airport Opens May 3-4

Pioneer Airport’s 2003 season begins next weekend with a flurry of activities that includes the unveiling of a new airplane—a 1930 New Standard D-25 open cockpit bi-plane—dubbed the Canvas Cloud. The New Standard, available for its first public flights, can carry up to four passengers plus the pilot. Opening weekend also features demonstrations of EAA’s other historic vintage airplanes, plus several visiting antique airplanes will be on hand, including a gaggle of Ercoupes from the Ercoupe Owners Club. Antique airplane owners wishing to attend must contact Sean Elliott (920-426-6801) for an arrival briefing.

Guided tours, free Young Eagles flights, and a “Parade of Flight” each day at 2 p.m. also highlight opening weekend. Those who may be interested in joining the Pioneer Airport volunteer staff should contact Kate Phillips, 920-426-6869, or kphillips@eaa.org.

B-17 at Oshkosh This Weekend
Don't forget, EAA Aviation Foundation’s B-17 Flying Fortress kicks off its Midwest “Road to Kitty Hawk Tour” this weekend, on Saturday, April 26. Ground tours of Aluminum Overcast begin at 2 p.m. at Orion Flight Services, located near the main terminal building at Wittman Regional Airport.


May 2-3
Burlington, NC VAA Chapter 3 Annual Spring Fly-In for Antique and Classic Airplane, Raymond Bottom 843-753-7138 

May 2-4
Irvinton, AL EAA chapter 416 Annual Roy E Ray Spring Fly-In, Roy E Ray Airport 5R7 Hillery W. Grice 251-824-4538

Porterville, FL - WAMM Western Association of Mooney Mites, PTV, Ben Favrholdt

May 3
Coatesville, PA - Aviation Day 2003,Chester County/G.O. Carlson A/P 40N, Steve Fortin 610-384-9000

Lawrenceville, GA - Aviation Program and Pancake Breakfast, Briscoe Field LZU, Lnor Levine 770-394-5466

Granbury, TX - Chapter 983 Spring Fly-In, Pecan Plantation 0TX1, Dick Jones

Russell, KS - Russells Celebration of Flight 2003,Russell Municipal Airport RSL 
Phillip Schulz 785-483-6008

Meridian, MS - EAA Chapter 986 Fly-In and Barbeque, Topton Air Estates 0MS0, Bill Ross (601) 693-1858

Oakdale, CA - Oakdale Airport Discovery Day, Oakdale, Donnelly Field O27 Contact Information: Gary Briery (209) 847-4296

Abilene, KS Abilene, KS Fly-In and Pancake Feed, Abilene Municipal Airport K78, Jim Curtis 785-263-3970

Pineville, LA Pancake Breakfast, Pineville Municipal Airport Contact Information: Bruce Underwood (318) 445-9140

Riverside, CA Chapter 33 Vintage Aircraft Open House/Fly-In, Flabob: Travis Gammill 909-686-6268

Cape Girardeau, MO Cape Girardeau Air Festival Pancake Breakfast, Cape Girardeau Regional Airport CGI Contact Information: Kristi Thurman 573-334-6230 

Waynesboro, VT Young Eagles Flights, Eagle's Nest W13 Contact Information: Eldon Bowman 540-896-3992

May 3-4
Gettysburg, PA EAA Chapter 1041 Gettysburg Barnstormers Appley Blossom Pancake Breakfast, Gettysburg, PA Airport and Travel Center W05, Bob Howe 717-637-1587

Oshkosh, WI North Central States Ercoupe Fly In, Wittman Field OSH, Syd Cohen 715-842-7814

Wrens, GA EAA 172 8th Annual Wrens Fly-In, Wrens, Georgia Airport 65J, John Magnan 706-547-3607

Lewiston, ID Take a Chance Fly-in Breakfast, Lewiston-Nezperce County Comm. LWS, Jim Otey (208)746-8488

Winchester, TN Fly-In Pancake Breakfast, Winchester BGF, Winchester Airport 931-967-3148 

Woodland, CA Chapter 52 Young Eagles Rally, Woodland Watts 041 Contact Information: Dave Love 209-951-6864

Danville, VA Airshow 2003, 434-799-5110 

Cross Keys, NJ EAA Chapter 216 ZFly-In/Drive-In Pancake Breakfast, Cross Keys Airport 17N Walt Ballauer 856-589-3354

May 4
MI S.W. Mich. Regional Airport Fly-ins, BEH, 269-468-5530 

Moraine, OH 40th Anniversary Fly-In,Moraine Air Park I73, Michael G. Williams 937-878-2647

Rockford, IL EAA Chapter 22 Fly-In drive-in breakfast, RFD, Tom Janusevic, 815-397-4995

Young Eagles Rallies

May 1
Shannon Airport (EZF) - Fredericksburg, VA Chapter 1099 - Robert O'Nell 540-663-2739 

May 2
Denison Muni (DNS) - Denison, IA Chapter 214 - Edward Murray 712-263-2152 - Rain Date of 5/8/2003

El Dorado Airport (EQA) - El Dorado, KS Chapter 88 - Chuck Powell 316-778-2056 

Capital City Airport (CXY) - Harrisburg, PA Chapter 122 - Dennis Carney 717-258-6402 

May 3
Apple Valley Airport - Apple Valley, CA Chapter 768 - Thomas Gummo 760-242-2669 

Camarillo Apt/Oxnard Apt - Camarillo, CA Chapter 723 - Neal Fowler 805-647-6994 

Buchanon Airport - Concord, CA Chapter 393 - Pat Peters 925-930-6447 

Little River Airport - Little River, CA Chapter 25 - Marilyn Boese 707-964-7005 

Oakdale Airport (O27) - Oakdale, CA Chapter 90 - Kevin Haslebacher 209-845-2077 

Santa Monica Airport (SMO) - Santa Monica, CA Chapter 11 - James Wiebe 310-202-8727 

Watts-Woodland Airport (041) - Woodland, CA Chapter 52 - Steve Taylor 916-393-6605 

Naples Muni Airport - Naples, FL Chapter 1067 - Paul Johnson 239-254-8925 

Wrens Memorial Airport (65J) - Wrens, GA Chapter 172 - John Magnan 706-547-3607 

Taylorville Airport - Taylorville, IL Chapter 1315 - Michael Seeley 217-287-7793 

Delphi Municipal Airport (1I9) - Delphi, IN Chapter 256 - Debbie Lowe 765-654-6073 

Smith Field Airport - Ft Wayne, IN Chapter 2 - Brad Hartz 260-423-8568

Russell Muni Airport - Russell, KS Chapter 1214 - Phillip Schulz 785-483-6008 - Rain Date of 5/4/2003

Warren Co Airport - Bowling Green, KY Chapter 1050 - Roger Wilson 270-782-8786 Rain Date of 5/10/2003

Kalamazoo Intl Apt - Kalamazoo, MI Chapter 221 - J Butcher 269-375-5601, Rain Date of 5/4/2003

Cape Girardeau Airport - Cape Girardeau, MO Chapter 453 - Ernest Chiles 573-243-8489 

Houston Airport (M48) - Houston, MO Chapter 1218 - Phyllis White 417-469-4212 

Smartt Field (SET) - Portage des Sioux, MO Chapter 32 - George Stephenson 314-521-3073 

Kalispell City Airport (S27) - Kalispell, MT Chapter 102 - Jo An Colby 406-837-0450 

Davidson Co Airport (EXX) - Lexington, NC Chapter 1083 - Jana Brown 336-752-2574 

South Jersey Regional Airport - Mt Holly, NJ Chapter 1348 - Joseph Blasenstein 856-829-2486 

Sky Manor Airport (N40) - Pittstown, NJ Chapter 643 - Doug Nelson 908-479-1731 

Rain Date of 5/4/2003 Sussex Airport - Sussex, NJ Chapter 501 - Bill Anderes 201-891-5315 

Cross Keys Airport - Williamstown, NJ Chapter 216 - Walter Ballaver 856-589-3354 

Kingston - Uister Apt (20N) - Kingston, NY Chapter 1359 - John Morrow 914-388-7016 Rain Date of 5/4 

Greater Rochester Intl - Rochester, NY Chapter 44 - Dave Hurd 585-226-2042 

Twin Oaks Airport - Hillsboro, OR Chapter 105 - Rion Bourgeois 503-670-1144 

Gettysburg Airport (WO5) - Gettysburg, PA Chapter 1041 - Henry Hartman 717-637-3741 

Hendrick Co Airport - Danville, TN Chapter 1311 - Tim LeBaron 317-248-9039 

Rain Date of 5/10/2003 Downtown Island Airport - Knoxville, TN Chapter 17 - Donald Miller 865-482-3167 

Lebanon Muni Airport - Lebanon, TN Chapter 863 - Gary Piper 615-824-0342 
Rain Date of 5/10/2003

Pecan Plantation Airport - Granbury, TX Chapter 983 - Dick Jones 817-573-0818 
Rain Date of 5/10/2003

La Port Muni (T41) - La Port, TX Chapter 712 - Robert Powell 713-451-8331 

Hampton Roads Executive Airport (KPVG) - Norfolk, VA Chapter 339 - Richard Reynolds 757-627-8743 

Rain Date of 5/10/2003 Eagle's Nest Airport - Waynesboro, VA Chapter 511 - Eldon Bowman 540-896-3992 

May 3
Jefferson Co Airport - Port Townsend, WA Chapter 430 - James Cone 360-582-9111 - Rain Date of 5/4/2003

Log Cabin Airport - Eleca, WI Chapter 509 - Harold Kelsey 715-832-8770 

Fond Du Lac Skyport - Fond Du Lac, WI Chapter 572 - Tom Kenyon 920-926-0111 

Austin Straubel Airport - Green Bay, WI Chapter 651 - Frank Derginer 920-494-5033 

Palmyra Airport - Palmyra, WI Chapter 1177 - Rick Martin 262-495-3108

May 4
Schaumburg, IL Young Eagles Rally, Regional Airport, Butch Bejna 630-543-9213 

Santa Paula Apt/Oxnard Apt - Santa Paula, CA Chapter 723 - Neal Fowler 805-647-6994 

Schaumburg Regional Airport - Schaumburg, IL Chapter 101 - Butch Bejna 630-543-9213 

Kingman Airport - Kingman, KS Chapter 88 - Chuck Powell 316-778-2056 

Elmira Corning Regional Airport - Horseheads, NY Chapter 533 - Sharon Kaiser 607-732-0357 

West Texas Airport (T27) - El Paso, TX Chapter 125 - Bill Kirkwood 915-533-3176 

May 6
Paradise Airport - Paradise, CA Chapter 735 - Moore Stuart 530-877-3829 

Roscommon Co Airport - Roscommon, MI Chapter 1259 - Jo Ellen McDonald 989-275-7209 - Rain Date of 5/8/2003

Co Regional - Silver City, NM Chapter 555 - Chuck McLean 505-525-2007

April 2003
AA Desktop Calendar

EAA's April desktop calendar sports this colorful pair of Curtiss Jennies, including a homebuilt replica of the Canadian version (forefront) called the "Canuck." To get your copy, visit the EAA website.


  The Official Electronic Newsletter of EAA
Join Us As We Celebrate 100 Years of Powered Flight
at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2003!

April 25, 2003   Volume 3, Number 18

News You Can Use ---

Burt Rutan to Discuss New Space Craft at EAA AirVenture Forums
Pioneering aviation designer Burt Rutan, who has continually expanded the envelope of personal flight over the past three decades, will speak about his latest vision - private travel into space - at two forums during the 51st annual EAA AirVenture fly-in convention scheduled for July 29-August 4 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh. Rutan unveiled his "SpaceShipOne" aircraft in Mojave, Calif., on April 18. It is designed to become the first private craft able to successfully achieve sub-orbital space travel, and win the $10-million "X-Prize" offered to the creators of the first private vehicle to accomplish such a feat. Always a popular speaker at EAA AirVenture, Rutan will talk about the project on Saturday, August 2 at 10 a.m. and Sunday, August 3 at 2:30 p.m.
(read more)

EAA Member Gerard Arpey Named CEO at AMR
EAA extends its congratulations to member Gerard Arpey (EAA 643524) who was just named the Chief Executive Officer for American Airlines Friday. Arpey and his wife, Lisa, are both active general aviation pilots, and he holds an FAA multi-engine instrument rating. “Obviously, with the recent financial problems of American and many other airlines, Gerard faces some major challenges ahead,” said EAA President Tom Poberezny. “His strong interest in aviation will serve him well in his leadership role at American Airlines. We wish him the best.” Arpey was previously president of the airline.

EAA, Foundation, Vintage Boards Meet In Oshkosh
Members of the EAA, EAA Aviation Foundation and Vintage Aircraft Association boards of directors are at EAA headquarters this week in Oshkosh for their spring meetings.

EAA Adds NBAA Convention to Countdown To Kitty Hawk Tour 
The Experimental Aircraft Association has extended its national tour of EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk Presented by Ford Motor Company with a new stop at the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) 56th Annual Meeting & Convention in Orlando, Florida, on October 7-9. This brings the total number of tour stops to seven, and will be the final stop before the historic re-enactment of the Wright brothers’ first sustained, powered flight on December 17, near Kitty Hawk in EAA’s authentic reproduction of the Wright 1903 Flyer. “Few things will be seen as more significant this December than the 100th anniversary of mankind’s first powered flight,” said EAA President and U.S. Centennial of Flight Commissioner Tom Poberezny. “Until the time our Wright Flyer reproduction attempts to duplicate the Wright brothers’ feat at Kitty Hawk, we want as many people as possible to have a chance to see the Flyer up close.”
(read more)

Tickets Now Available for Centennial Celebration at Kitty Hawk
Those planning to attend First Flight Centennial activities at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, can now purchase advance tickets through the National Park Service website for each of the five days, December 13-17, 2003. Adults are $10 per day, $25 for all five days; seniors (62 and older)/disabled are $5 per day, $20 for all five days; and children 12 or under are free.

World's Most Complete Collection of Aviation Expertise at EAA AirVenture Forums Plaza
At EAA AirVenture's Forums Plaza, you can learn just about anything about everything to do with building, flying restoring or maintaining aircraft. Every year the forums Plaza draws the very best from the aviation world--more than 500 innovators, authors, experts, and legends—who share their accumulated knowledge with all who attend. It is the most comprehensive collection of aviation knowledge available anywhere, and it’s all in one location, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
(read more)

EAA, Members Successfully Oppose Obstructive Alabama Utility Pole Project 
The FAA’s recently concluded aeronautical study near the Wetumpka (Alabama) Municipal Airport (08A) found that Alabama Power Company’s (APC) seven tall utility poles near the airport’s approach path create a hazard to air navigation and violate the floor of the transition surface for a planned IFR and VFR runway. 
After member Dan Horton, EAA 443866 alerted the government relations office of the situation, EAA registered its official opposition to the power pole construction by the APC and asked members to forward their objections to the FAA in the form of written comments to the proposal. FAA received a total 1,427 comments opposing the poles.
(read more) 

Poberezny, Boyer Videotape “Airport Watch” Segments 
EAA President Tom Poberezny was joined by Phil Boyer, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh on Friday to videotape segments to be included in the “AOPA Airport Watch” video being distributed to EAA Chapters nationwide. Both Poberezny and Boyer emphasized the vital role pilots play in helping enhance security at their local airports. They asked pilots to be particularly vigilant of their surroundings when they are at the airport and report anything unusual. They also reiterated the need to practice the highest levels of responsibility and airmanship in their own flight planning and piloting skills.
(read more)

Lawrence, Lenz Work on Vintage Airworthiness Issues
EAA Vice President of Industry and Regulatory Affairs Earl Lawrence and EAA Director of Aircraft Maintenance Daryl Lenz took part in a two-day conference focusing on aging aircraft issues at the FAA Small Airplane Directorate in Kansas City April 23-24. Focus was on airplanes older than 30 years not substantially in commercial service, as well as periodic maintenance at 10-, 20- and 30-year levels, utilizing guidance available from type clubs and FAA for owners of vintage and soon-to-be vintage aircraft. The ad hoc team aims to draft advisory materials that will assist the owners and mechanics in maintaining the airworthiness of vintage aircraft. Other areas of discussion included: Minor Alterations; Field Approval Guidance/Library; Limited Repair Station/Type Clubs; Replacement Parts Guidelines; and Education.

EAA AirVenture Museum Welcomes Back Gary Powers Jr. 
Francis Gary Powers Jr., son of U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers, will speak at EAA AirVenture Museum on Saturday, May 3, to mark the final day of the museum’s Gary Powers U-2 exhibit. His presentation, a reprise of the well-received opening in April 2002, coincides with the 43rd anniversary of the May 1, 1960 incident. Powers’ unique insights deal with still-unresolved issues surrounding the downing of his father’s spy plane, such as how his father survived an ejection from 70,000 feet; whether he collaborated with the Soviets or if his aircraft was sabotaged. The program begins at 11 a.m. and is free with regular admission.

Tailwind Group to Celebrate Aircraft’s 50th Anniversary at EAA AirVenture
The year was 1953, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s first, and founder Paul Poberezny was outside the hangar at Curtiss-Wright Airport, Milwaukee, talking with Steve Wittman. Soon the discussion turned to picking a more suitable name for Wittman’s two-year-old airplane design. “He called it the Flying Carpet,” Paul recalls. “I said, ‘Well, it’s fast,’ and Steve said, “Maybe like a tail wind?’ Now that, I told him, would be the proper name for the airplane.” Fifty years later, the Tailwind Group, an Internet-formed group of owners, will celebrate the airplane’s 50th birthday at—where else—EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
(read more)

Legal Defense Fundraisers Planned by Friends of Meigs Field
The Friends of Meigs Field (FOM) will host a series of fundraising events to benefit its legal defense fund, beginning this Sunday, April 27, in Wheeling, Illinois, near Palwaukee Regional Airport. The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Compass Rose at the Palwaukee Inn, 1090 S. Milwaukee Ave. Minimum donation is $60 per person. FOM has incurred considerable legal bills in obtaining a temporary restraining order to prevent further destruction of Meigs Field through at least May 16. Other fundraising events will be held May 4 in the Western suburbs near near DuPage and/or Aurora airports, and May 9 in the South/Southwest suburbs. Details will be announced when finalized on the FOM website, www.friendsofmeigs.org or call 312-458-925.

EAA Centennial Homebuilt of the Week
Patrick Fagan, Pearblossom, California, EAA 480925, spent six years building his Bearhawk - from scratch. N232PF is powered by a Bob Barrows-built Lycoming 0-540. "In the true spirit of EAA, my wife and I performed every part of this project," he said. Read more about the airplane. (To highlight the EAA Centennial Homebuilts' program, each week e-HOT LINE features one plane from the growing list submitted to EAA. Visit the EAA Centennial Homebuilts website for program details.)

On The Flight Line ---

Be A Pilot Ad Campaign Ramps Up This Week
Be A Pilot, the nationwide general aviation pilot-start organization, begins its $1 million summer advertising campaign this week hoping to build on its successful 2002 results. A total of 2,000 ads will appear on targeted cable outlets through September, including the Discovery Wings and Science channels, Tech TV, ESPN, and CNBC. “Be A Pilot is general aviation’s first use of regular, national TV advertising to attract consumers to the benefits of flying,” said Be A Pilot president/CEO Drew Steketee. He noted that of the nearly 35,000 people who requested Be A Pilot’s Introductory Flight Certificate for a $49 first flying lesson, about 25,000 did so in response to the TV ads. Be A Pilot supported by the entire GA community. EAA president Tom Poberezny serves on its Board of Directors. Over 1,700 participating flight schools honor the Be A Pilot Introductory Flight Certificate. For more information, visit www.beapilot.com

First Quarter GA Shipments Fall 16.4 Percent
First quarter shipments of general aviation airplanes fell 16.4 percent compared to the same period last year, from 531 units in 2002 to 444 units this year, reports the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). First quarter industry billings were $1.87 billion, down 33.2 percent from the first quarter of 2002. GAMA President Ed Bolen said the results were expected. “Since 9-11, many general aviation manufacturers have had to lay off workers and slow or even temporarily halt production lines. These are very tough times.” The only stable market segment in the first quarter was the single-engine pistons which, at 315 units, was down only one from 2002. Turboprop shipments decreased from 46 to 31, and business jets fell hardest, from 169 units last year to 98, or 42 percent. First quarter exports of U.S.-produced GA airplanes fell 20 percent. For more information, visit www.GAMA.aero
Goldman-Sachs Makes ‘Significant Investment’ in Adam Aircraft 
GS Capital Partners 2000, L.P., a private equity investment fund managed by Goldman, Sachs & Co., has made a "significant investment" in Adam Aircraft Industries, Inc., the Colorado-based aircraft manufacturer announced on April 22. The investment, terms of which were not disclosed, will help fund Adam Aircraft through FAA certification of its A500 twin piston centerline thrust aircraft and A700 twin light jet aircraft, and as well as certified aircraft production.
(read more)

Scaled Composites Reveals Entry Into X-Prize Sweepstakes 
Burt Rutan's innovative aircraft design company, Scaled Composites LLC, Mojave, California, unveiled on Friday, April 18 a secret manned space program first conceptualized in 1996 and in full development since May 2001. 
Scaled showed off its two new aircraft, the White Knight, an airborne launcher; and suborbital space ship, SpaceShipOne (SS1), along with rocket propulsion, avionics, simulator and ground support elements it hopes will propel the project into space by the end of 2004 to win the X-Prize Foundation's $10 million award.
(read more)

Mooney Returns to Europe

Mooney Airplane Company has returned to the European market with its participation in Aero 2003 in Friedrichshafen, Germany. (The company had discontinued overseas shipments under previous owners.) Rheinland Air Services is currently representing the Mooney Airplane Company in Germany. For more information, visit www.mooney.com or www.ras.de.

SR-71 Program at Love’s Field May 5
Forty-one years ago, the Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” set a speed record that stands to this day. On May 5, the Frontiers of Flight Museum located at Love Field, Dallas, Texas, presents a special focus on the unique contributions to aviation's first century made by the Blackbird. Featured speaker is SR-71 Pilot, Colonel Rich Graham, The program begins at 7 p.m. on the mezzanine of the Main Terminal lobby. Colonel Graham will be available to autograph his new book on the Blackbird during the evening. Call the museum at 214-350-3600, or e-mail margul@flightmuseum.com to make a reservation.

ICAS Foundation Aviation Scholarships Open for Applications
The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) Foundation sponsors several aviation-related scholarships awarded annually to commemorate loved and much-missed members of the close-knit air show community, including: the Jan Jones Memorial Scholarship, awarded to a woman to further aerobatic training; The French Connection (Daniel Heligoin and Montaine Mallet) Memorial Scholarship, awarded to one man CFI and one woman CFI to further aerobatic training; and the Charlie Hillard Memorial Scholarship, awarded to a man or a woman age 18-35 who has demonstrated community involvement. ICAS is accepting applications for these awards, each of which provides $1,000 to the recipient. Applications must be submitted by September 1, 2003, on an application form available from the Foundation’s web site, www.icasfoundation.org.
The ICAS Foundation is also accepting applications through May 31 for the Air Show Hall of Fame. Nominees may include pilots, announcers, stunt persons, producers, designers and builders, but are not limited to these categories.
Scholarship winners and HOF inductees will be announced during the 2003 ICAS Convention on December 9, 2003 in Dallas, Texas.

Q & A: Question of the Week
Question for EAA Aviation Information Services:
Have there been any cautionary articles published on the risks and hazards of static electricity when fueling homebuilt aircraft with auto gas from portable gas cans? Much is made of the cost advantages of using auto gas in GA engines and some people even have their certificated engines TSO’d for auto gas. Rotax and other engine manufacturers tell us that their engines run better on auto fuel. Yet no one mentions the practical difficulties of doing this. Not many airports have pumps for auto gas, so how is one to safely fuel a plane other than by filling it up in stages using small cans, unless one has sufficient means to buy one’s own tanker truck? And even so, how is one to fuel one’s plane at an en-route airport which does not have an auto gas pump? Carry additional fuel (and weight) on-board in more small cans? I don’t think so.

The possibility of static discharge when using portable fuel containers is well known, and has been documented in both aviation and automotive publications. Persons using portable fuel containers should always take precautions to reduce if not eliminate the possibility of static spark. Hear are some suggestions that will help reduce the hazard:

Always place fuel containers on the ground when filling them at the pump. NEVER fill the containers while they are in your car trunk or truck bed! Also, always keep the fuel nozzle in contact with the container while fuel is flowing, and for a couple of seconds after the fuel flow is stopped. This will minimize the static electricity buildup and offer a path to drain the static charge away, either to the ground or through the fuel pump hose (which is grounded to protect against static buildup).

When transferring the fuel from the portable container into your airplane, boat, lawn mower, or whatever, the very best practice is to ground both the can and the vehicle/implement. If you have a metal portable container, this is not difficult to do. If you have a plastic container, grounding is a bit more difficult, but a minor modification of the container will help. Here’s one method:

To properly ground the plastic fuel can, you’ll need to add a conductor of some sort. There are a couple of ways to do this, but my favorite is to get a length of “grounding strap” (a flat, woven metal strap) from the local auto parts store (or from an aviation supply house). This length of grounding strap must be long enough to run down the inside of the can from the filler neck to the bottom, and then all the way along the length of the bottom of the can (inside the can). You’ll also need a brass screw, a couple of large diameter washers and an appropriate nut. The screw should be long enough to pass through the can, the grounding strap, the two washers and the nut and still have enough length left to clip a ground wire to it.

Drill a hole in the can, just below the filler neck opening. This hole should be JUST big enough to get the brass screw through, and should be in a location where you can touch it by reaching down through the filler neck with your fingers. Also drill a hole in the grounding strap for the screw to pass through. Feed the grounding strap down through the filler neck so that it runs down from the filler neck and across the bottom of the can. Then put a large diameter washer on the screw, pass the screw through the grounding strap and then through the hole you made in the can. 
You’ll need some kind of fuel-proof sealer to put around the screw where it passes through the plastic can. Again, your auto parts store will be the best source for this. Put some sealer on the screw where it comes out of the can, then put another large diameter washer on and secure with the nut. Now you’ve provided a path for the static to get from the can to the aircraft, through the screw and a short “jumper” wire that you’ll clip to the screw and to the filler neck of the aircraft. Of course, this will only work properly if you then ground the aircraft itself to a good ground source. A well pipe or a copper rod driven into the ground will work well for this, so you’ll have to make a ground wire to go from the chosen grounding source to the aircraft itself. Even better, you can also run a ground wire from the grounding source to your fuel can. That way, the static electricity will have multiple paths to use to get to ground.

This method can also be used when transferring fuel to your lawn mower, boat, or whatever unit you have that needs to be refueled from a portable container. If there’s no method available for grounding the fuel container, at least always be sure to keep the outlet nozzle of the container in contact with the fuel filler neck on the vehicle/implement at all times while fuel is flowing. Also, whenever possible, keep the end of the nozzle below the level of the fuel in the tank being filled. All this will help minimize static buildup.

Never carry fuel in portable containers in the cabin of the aircraft. If you feel you need to carry a portable can, so as to go off-airport to get auto fuel at an en-route stop, you should carry appropriate grounding wires along as well. This way, you can properly ground your container and your aircraft while you transfer fuel. From a safety standpoint, rather than carrying a fuel container in the aircraft with you, it’s probably a better idea just to use aviation fuel if auto fuel isn’t available on the airport.
How can we help you?
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We are pleased to provide this info to EAA members as a membership benefit. To ensure that this service continues, renew your membership or join EAA today by calling 800/843-3612 or 920/426-5912.

EAA SportAir Workshops


Upcoming Workshops 


May 16-18, 2003, Oshkosh, WI
Topics: RV Assembly 
May 16-18, 2003, Griffin (Atlanta), GA
Topics: TIG Welding

See the complete schedule of upcoming SportAir Workshops.

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