Curious About Dumping Of Fuel

Tue Feb 15, 2000 1:36 pm

With the increased attention by the media lately to emergency landings, in the wake of the Alaska Airlines accident, it's made me wonder... What happens when an aircraft is required to dump fuel before making an emergency landing at an airport that is well inland from the nearest body of water? Is the pilot limited at all in his/her options of where fuel may or may not be dumped? Does any fuel reach the ground or is it dissipated in the air? If it does reach the ground, is the airline responsible for clean up of any environmental contamination? Just curious... YEG 757
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Joined: Sun Nov 21, 1999 11:44 pm

RE: Curious About Dumping Of Fuel

Tue Feb 15, 2000 3:21 pm

Hi YEG, Buzz here. When i've seen fuel dumping, the fuel atomizes , well it sure disspates shortly after leaving the airplane. I haven't seen a jet fuel slick from low altitude dumps.
Let's see, 737's and 757's and A320's don't dump fuel, they land overweight (hopefully gently) and then guys like me do an overweight landing inspection.
Some towns might get touchy about the jet fuel dump issue, but then i'll let the office workers in Chicago deal with that. I'm the kind who belives in a certain kind of noise abatement: the sound of an airplane crashing.
Buzz Fuselsausage: Line Mechanic by night, DC-3 crew chief by choice. g'nite

RE: Curious About Dumping Of Fuel

Wed Feb 16, 2000 3:07 am

Typically an aircraft will dump fuel for performance reason, losing an engine or for an immediate need to return back to the airport (emergency) and you have rwy length, brake energy limits..etc, to consider. Reducing your gross weight reduces your approach speed and thus, reduces the amount of rwy needed.

You'll need to notify ATC (if able) that you need to dump and they might have a designated area in which to accomplish this. Usually the fuel will atomize or vaporize within 5000ft, so if you're above this alt there shouldn't be a problem for folks on the ground.

As "Buzz" said, the plane can land overweight if needed but will need an overweight inspection and is a required write up by the pilot in the aircraft logbook.

This a general overview..your milelage may vary. Consult your owners manual.


RE: Curious About Dumping Of Fuel

Wed Feb 16, 2000 1:50 pm

Buzz / Heavyjet:

Thanks for the explanantion (and for the intro, Buzz).

Me, I'm a mild-mannered beancounter by day, commercial aviation fanatic by night.

YEG 757