In response to the NTSB’s issuance of a preliminary report on the fatal crash of a Piper Aerostar last week indicating misfueling as the possible cause of the accident, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is urging all FBOs, association members or not, to use its free website on best practices to prevent such mistakes.
“Aircraft misfuelings are preventable through proper training, and eliminating these accidents is a top priority for NATA and our membership,” said NATA president Gary Dempsey.
According to the NTSB report, the FBO worker, spotting the Aerostar on approach to Indiana’s Kokomo Municipal Airport and thinking it was a jet, asked the pilot via radio if he wanted jet fuel, to which the pilot answered yes. Upon arrival, the line worker parked the well-marked jet-A fuel truck in front of the airplane, again queried the pilot if he wanted jet fuel and again received an affirmative reply.
The FBO employee then described the need to rotate the fuel nozzle relative to the aircraft’s fuel tank filler necks, after spilling a gallon of fuel, in an attempt to overcome the different shape of the fueling nozzle, relative to the airplane’s fueling receptacle, which itself is a misfueling-prevention device. The worker pumped approximately 163 gallons of jet-A into the piston-engined aircraft, which crashed soon after takeoff, killing the pilot.