In the wake of several high-profile incidents where business aircraft had their fuel systems contaminated with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), aviation fuel handling and testing equipment provider Gammon Technical Products (GTP) is now distributing a field test kit for the detection of DEF in fuel system icing inhibitor (FSII). Developed by fuel testing equipment manufacturer Emcee Electronics, the new DEFKIT can detect DEF contamination concentrations in FSII as low as 2 percent.
According to GTP, the test requires no special training or instruments and is recommended after each refilling of the FSII reservoir on aviation refueling equipment.
Both DEF and FSII are colorless liquids and the former has been mistaken for the latter with near-catastrophic results. In the event of a failed DEFKIT test, GTP notes that the reservoir, the entire additive injection system, and refueling equipment downstream of the injection point must be considered contaminated. Also in this case, aircraft fueled with additive, at least since the reservoir was last filled, should be considered not flight worthy, notified, and grounded until it can be determined that they are safe to fly.
“DEF contamination is 100 percent preventable with the proper training and controls in place,” said Michael France, managing director for safety and training for NATA, which is working with its members to bring awareness of this new kit. “The DEFKIT…adds an extra layer of protection to ensure we don’t experience another contamination event.”
NATA currently offers a free operational guide for DEF Handling and Contamination Prevention through its Safety 1st program, and a spokesperson told AIN the organization has not modified its operational best practices or training to include the use of the test kit, but added it will work through its Safety Committee to assess future changes to its training and programs.