In the previous post, we shared with you the causes of corrosion in aircraft fuel tanks & how to control and remove corrosion. If your aircraft fleet is affected by corrosion that has resulted in aircraft fuel leaks, it is time for you consider the repair in order to prevent hazardous situation during flight. Repairing fuel leaks can be time consuming, especially finding the source of the leak. The steps described later in this post will help you in finding the source of the leak and seeking professional help if needed in fixing the leak. It is important to put a process in place for scheduled maintenance of aircraft fuel tanks in order to prevent costly repairs.
Aircraft Fuel Leaks Repair
Corrosion can cause your fuel tank to be compromised, causing leaks and other significant problems. A fuel leak can ground an aircraft for days or even weeks, as time consuming repairs are performed. In fact, aircraft fuel leaks repair is one of the most time consuming repairs. The steps occur over days, rather than hours, and require intense scrutiny to ensure appropriate leak repair.
The first step is to perform a thorough inspection. During this step, it is crucial for several questions to be answered, including:
- When does the leak appear?
- Is it leaking only when the tank is full?
- Does the leak stop when the tank is only half full?
- Does it leak continuously?
- Where is the leak visible on the aircraft?
- Is the leak only coming from a rivet?
Next, confirm the type of fuel system in your aircraft. The manufacturer’s maintenance manual provides important information about your fuel tank system. There are three primary fuel tank types – integral or “wet wing”, fuel cell, and built-up metal or fiberglass inside the wing. Each requires specific steps to perform appropriate repairs.
Once you have determined the fuel tank system in your aircraft, it is time to perform a second inspection. This should be a more thorough inspection accessing the fuel tank. During this inspection, note if panels are wet or contain a strong odor of fuel. It is important to remember that leaks can travel a long way, making aircraft fuel leaks repair a difficult process.
Once leaks are discovered, the repairs can be done in the field or performed by an FAA-approved repair station. Each fuel tank requires slightly difference processes to complete the repair. Once completed, it is critical to reinstall any fuel tanks removed by using the maintenance manual procedures.
Check again for large leaks. If none are found, it is important to wait at least one more day before installing access panels to ensure that small leaks are not present. If there are no leaks, the access panels can be installed and the aircraft readied for flight.
Corrosion control in aircraft fuel tanks will prevent costly repairs and keep the aircraft flightworthy. Utilizing a continued maintenance and inspection program will keep corrosion in check and prevent the need for corrosion rework and removal, as well as aircraft fuel leaks repairs due to corrosion.
For more information on Scheduled Maintenance of Aircraft Fuel Tank & Fuel Leak Repairs visit our Website.