BY TIA NICHOLE MCMILLEN, PUBLIC AFFAIRS
NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER SIGONELLA
NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Sigonella’s Fuel Team, led by fuels officer Lt. j.g. Igor Mendel, successfully operated a new hydrant system to refill a C-17 aircraft on March 22, 2017.
This effort took extensive teamwork, involving personnel from NAVSUP Energy, NAVSUP FLC Sigonella, Naval Air Station Sigonella, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facility Engineering Sigonella, and Defense Logistics Agency. The team conducted proper testing for environmental compliance, and was followed by a comprehensive training effort.
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Sailors and civilians of NAVSUP FLC Sigonella operate a new hydrant system, fueling a C-17 aircraft. The aircraft received 5,980 gallons of aviation fuel in 14 minutes, 20 seconds, which is about 420 gallons a minute. The entire evolution lasted around 30 minutes – more than 50 percent less time than refueling with the current truck refueling method. –photo by Tia Nichole McMillen
The aircraft received 5,980 gallons of aviation fuel in 14 minutes, 20 seconds, or approximately 420 gallons per minute. The entire evolution lasted 30 minutes, which is 50 percent less time than refueling with the current truck refueling method. This is a significant cost savings, manpower savings and, most importantly, time savings, to the warfighter.
A hydrant system is a loop of pipeline located under the aircraft parking ramp that delivers fuel straight from the hydrant fuel tanks to the aircraft. This is done through a mobile pantograph – a stainless steel pipeline to connect the underground hydrant loop to the aircraft. These pantographs are mounted on wheels so they can be maneuvered to connect an aircraft parked within 135 feet of a hydrant pit to the hydrant piping, allowing continuous fuel delivery to the aircraft. By comparison, a truck fueling delivery is normally limited to less than 5,000 gallons of fuel.
“We are extremely satisfied that the evolution went so smoothly,” said Mendel, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella fuels officer.
“This is how fueling should be done!” echoed Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Luis Sanchez, as he refueled the aircraft.
The evolution’s cost and time savings led the air crew and the Naval Air Station Sigonella airfield manager to request use of the hydrant to refuel the next time they fly through the region.
“It’s been a long, hard-fought battle to get this project to completion, but it was definitely worth it to see how smoothly everything went. We are now in an even better situation to support and sustain the warfighter,” said Lt. Cmdr. Michael Wheeler, NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Sigonella regional fuel’s director.