Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fuelie Forever

Temperature: -42.6C
Wind Chill: -59.9C
Wind Speed: 12.3 kts

I took a little break today around 11 o'clock to go down to the flight line. Two of his crew and I went to wish him well. The guy on the left, Dog, and John on the right came out to see off Travis, or Moose, as his friends liked to call him.

I was on the flight line for a couple reasons, though. A couple of us have gotten Fuelie training for opening next summer, and I wanted to come back out to see if any of the previous week's information had sunk in! While I was there, though, I got some pretty good shots of planes and what I would be doing in about eight months.

don't worry, the plane will get a little closer than that. I just liked the shot of it landing.

The first two flights that I got to hang out for, Dan was in charge of getting the fuel line out to the plane. The Engineer on board would actually hook up the fuel line, but there is a second cable that Dan is carrying that acts like a ground so there isn't a lot of current built up between the plane and our fuel line. Those propeller blades are still moving!

Dan will follow the Engineer out to the plane, they will hook up both lines, then Dan will come back to the pump house, make sure there is positive flow. When the Engineer gives the "high idle" sign, Dan will engage a booster pump that we use for the C-130 Hercs, ramping the flow up close to 200 gallons a minute! While the flow is going, the Engineer has the thankless job of sitting under the wing, watching the flow, and making sure everything is going according to plan. While he does that, our Cargo department either adds cargo to the plane's payload, or takes off cargo for us, which, with any luck is either mail or freshies!

When they have offloaded enough fuel (usually around 3000 gallons), Dan will go back out, and pull our lines back towards the pump house.

Once the fuel has been offloaded, any passengers are loaded onto the plane, and the plane gets ready to take off. One of the steps with this I noticed (actually was told about and then noticed) is they check the mechanics of the skis on the plane, before they go anywhere, by lifting them...

setting them back down, and at that point they are a couple minutes from getting underway. Today, we had three flights around noon, and I stayed to be an extra pair of hands for the first two, which was fun...but the third one was where I think I got to do a lot more! Cricket, the Fuelie Supervisor, had me run through setting up the fuel lines, opening appropriate valves, closing others, in order to get the fuel from the plane to our fuel arch for winter. She checked my work, and everything was good to go. I then got to go out to the pit, and help her bring in the plane. I got to do this before R&R, too, but this time my camera didn't freeze!

At this point, it was time to head back to ARO and do some afternoon daily checks, but I got in a little Fuelie time today, and that was a lot of fun. I really like the days they have, even if it is one of the colder jobs on station. They get to play with C-130s, Baslers and Twin Otters! What a deal!! Our second day of training, we fueled a Basler. Those pictures are coming...

Take care
Capt. Splash

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