About this chapter: Chapter 20 specifies minimum requirements for the fire-safe operation of airports, heliports and helistops. The principal nonflight operational hazards associated with aviation involve fuel, facilities and operations. Therefore, safe use of flammable and combustible liquids during fueling and maintenance operations is emphasized. Availability of portable Class B:C-rated fire extinguishers for prompt control or suppression of incipient fires is required.
Portable fire extinguishers at fuel-dispensing stations shall be located such that pumps or dispensers are not more than 75 feet (22 860 mm) from one such extinguisher. Fire extinguishers shall be provided as follows:
- Where the open-hose discharge capacity of the fueling system is not more than 200 gallons per minute (13 L/s), not less than two listed portable fire extinguishers complying with Section 906 and having a minimum rating of 20-B:C shall be provided.
- Where the open-hose discharge capacity of the fueling system is more than 200 gallons per minute (13 L/s) but not more than 350 gallons per minute (22 L/s), not less than one listed wheeled extinguisher complying with Section 906 and having a minimum extinguishing rating of 80-B:C, and a minimum agent capacity of 125 pounds (57 kg), shall be provided.
- Where the open-hose discharge capacity of the fueling system is more than 350 gallons per minute (22 L/s), not less than two listed wheeled extinguishers complying with Section 906 and having a minimum rating of 80-B:C each, and a minimum capacity agent of 125 pounds (57 kg) of each, shall be provided.
Ladders, hose reels and similar accessory equipment shall be of an approved type and constructed substantially as follows:
- Ladders constructed of noncombustible material are allowed to be used with or attached to aircraft-fueling vehicles, provided that the manner of attachment or use of such ladders is approved and does not constitute an additional fire or accident hazard in the operation of such fueling vehicles.
- Hose reels used in connection with fueling vehicles shall be constructed of noncombustible materials and shall be provided with a packing gland or other device that will preclude fuel leakage between reels and fuel manifolds.
Aircraft-fueling vehicles shall not be located, parked or permitted to stand in a position where such unit would obstruct egress from an aircraft should a fire occur during fuel-transfer operations. Aircraft-fueling vehicles shall not be located, parked or permitted to stand under any portion of an aircraft.
Exception: Aircraft-fueling vehicles shall be allowed to be located under aircraft wings during underwing fueling of turbine-engine powered aircraft.
Aircraft-fueling vehicles shall be electrically bonded to the aircraft being fueled or defueled. Bonding connections shall be made prior to making fueling connections and shall not be disconnected until the fuel-transfer operations are completed and the fueling connections have been removed.
Where a hydrant service vehicle or cart is used for fueling, the hydrant coupler shall be connected to the hydrant system prior to bonding the fueling equipment to the aircraft.
Transfer nozzles shall be equipped with approved bonding conductors that shall be clipped or otherwise positively engaged with the bonding attachment provided on the aircraft adjacent to the fuel tank cap prior to removal of the cap.
Exception: In the case of overwing fueling where an appropriate bonding attachment adjacent to the fuel fill port has not been provided on the aircraft, the fueling operator shall touch the fuel tank cap with the nozzle spout prior to removal of the cap. The nozzle shall be kept in contact with the fill port until fueling is completed.
During fuel-transfer operations, a qualified person shall be in control of each transfer nozzle and another qualified person shall be in immediate control of the fuel-pumping equipment to shut off or otherwise control the flow of fuel from the time fueling operations are begun until they are completed.
- For underwing refueling, the person stationed at the point of fuel intake is not required.
- For overwing refueling, the person stationed at the fuel pumping equipment shall not be required where the person at the fuel dispensing device is within 75 feet (22 800 mm) of the emergency shutoff device; is not on the wing of the aircraft and has a clear and unencumbered path to the fuel pumping equipment; and the fuel dispensing line does not exceed 50 feet (15 240 mm) in length.
The fueling operator shall monitor the panel of the fueling equipment and the aircraft control panel during pressure fueling or shall monitor the fill port during overwing fueling.
Passenger traffic is allowed during the time fuel transfer operations are in progress, provided that the following provisions are strictly enforced by the owner of the aircraft or the owner's authorized employee:
- Passengers shall not be permitted to linger about the plane, but shall proceed directly between the loading gate and the aircraft.
- Passenger loading stands or walkways shall be left in loading position until all fuel transfer operations are completed.
- Fuel transfer operations shall not be performed on the main exit side of any aircraft containing passengers except when the owner of such aircraft or a capable and qualified employee of such owner remains inside the aircraft to direct and assist the escape of such passengers through regular and emergency exits in the event fire should occur during fuel transfer operations.
The fueling-system operator shall establish procedures to follow in the event of a fuel spill. These procedures shall be comprehensive and shall provide for all of the following:
- Upon observation of a fuel spill, the aircraft-fueling operator shall immediately stop the delivery of fuel by releasing hand pressure from the fuel flow-control valve.
- Failure of the fuel control valve to stop the continued spillage of fuel shall be cause for the activation of the appropriate emergency fuel shutoff device.
- A supervisor for the fueling-system operator shall respond to the fuel spill area immediately.
The fire department shall be notified of any fuel spill that is considered a hazard to people or property or which meets one or more of the following criteria:
- Any dimension of the spill is greater than 10 feet (3048 mm).
- The spill area is greater than 50 square feet (4.65 m2).
- The fuel flow is continuous in nature.
Operation of aircraft onboard engines and combustion heaters shall be terminated prior to commencing fuel service operations and shall remain off until the fuel-servicing operation is completed.
Exception: In an emergency, a single jet engine is allowed to be operated during fuel servicing where all of the following conditions are met:
- The emergency shall have resulted from an onboard failure of the aircraft's auxiliary power unit.
- Restoration of auxiliary power to the aircraft by ground support services is not available.
- The engine to be operated is either at the rear of the aircraft or on the opposite side of the aircraft from the fuel service operation.
- The emergency operation is in accordance with a written procedure approved by the fire code official.
During aircraft-fueling operations, only the equipment actively involved in the fueling operation is allowed within 50 feet (15 240 mm) of the aircraft being fueled. Other equipment shall be prohibited in this area until the fueling operation is complete.
A clear space of not less than 10 feet (3048 mm) shall be maintained between aircraft fuel-system vent openings and any part or portion of aircraft-servicing vehicles or equipment.
Exception: Aircraft-fueling operations utilizing single-point refueling with a sealed, mechanically locked fuel line connection and the fuel is not a Class I flammable liquid.
Aircraft fuel-transfer operations shall be prohibited indoors.
Exception: In aircraft hangars built in accordance with the provisions of the International Building Code for Group F-1 occupancies, aircraft fuel-transfer operations are allowed where either of the following conditions exist:
Aircraft fuel-servicing operations shall be prohibited while the weather-mapping radar of that aircraft is operating.
Aircraft fuel-servicing or other operations in which flammable liquids, vapors or mists could be present shall not be conducted within 300 feet (91 440 mm) of an operating aircraft surveillance radar.
Aircraft fuel-servicing or other operations in which flammable liquids, vapors or mists could be present shall not be conducted within 100 feet (30 480 mm) of airport ground traffic surveillance radar equipment.
The beam from ground radar equipment shall not be directed toward fuel storage or loading racks.