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Thu, May 25, 2023

Another Diesel Exhaust Fluid Incident Invites Review

NATA Calls Attention to Helpful DEF Aids

The NATA brought attention to “another incident of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) contaminating jet fuel”, offering their guidance to help prevent future catastrophe.

The incident happened at a Southwestern US FBO, when the contaminated fuel went unnoticed…until an aircraft was forced to perform an off-airport landing with a pair of dead engines. Since no injuries were reported, the incident remained mostly unknown in the public eye, at once a blessing and a curse. The NATA said that “the risks for more catastrophic results remain high”, citing 5 separate reported instances of similar DEF contamination over the last 5 years. The same luck holds there, too, since none of the incidents led to loss of life or a dramatic crash.

The NATA has published a short brief on preventing DEF contamination, in addition to some visual aids for the unacquainted to learn exactly what happens inside a contaminated fuel tank. The distinct crystallization formed by the urea used in the fluid rapidly builds up throughout the aircraft’s fuel system, contaminating tubing, pumps, and filters with an impassible crust. The FAA has issued guidance on the issue numerous times, too, publishing two Special Airworthiness Information Bulletins (AIR-12-08 and HQ-18-28) and a Safety Alert for Air Operators (18015). While their guidance is helpful, FBOs and line personnel will likely find NATA resources far easier to work with, between training center courses, and test kit guidance. 



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