Slimline tankers get up and under
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AIR BP, British Petroleum's airport refuelling company, is investing £250,000 on five airplane fuelling tankers which have been specially designed for use on jumbo jets.
With a height of only 2.54m (100in) they can pass under the wings of these planes and fuel them directly from underneath. When in position, a working platform at the rear of the tanker is raised hydraulically on a scissor lift enabling the operator to reach the fuel ling point in the wing easily.
Two conventional reels are also fitted allowing the tanker to fuel ordinary smaller aircraft from up to 30m (100ft) away. The Bilston Transporter unit of Clarke-Chapman is building the tanks, which have a capacity of 38,641 litres (8,500gal).
Delivery rate is 3,182 litres/ min (700gal/min) and the tanks are made of aluminium alloy with special strengthening at stress points, particularly at the front where the crosssectional diameter changes abruptly.
BP worked closely with Clarke-Chapman during the design and construction of the prototype and has incorporated many safety features in the finished vehicle.
Micro switches apply the brakes of the truck when a fuelling hose is removed from its holder, or if the tanker filling union caps are unscrewed. This prevents the vehicle from being driven off inadvertently during fuelling or filling. Another microswitch applies the brakes if the platform is raised.
As the platform goes up, an inbuilt ladder unrolls at the side to allow the operator to come down to check his gauges. The tankers will be able to unload fuel as well as load it.
The whole of the working platform and reels are pinmounted to the rear of the tank to provide a certain amount of flexibility, reducing the possibility of fatigue.
With a Leyland Mandator tractive unit the outfit is 17m (56ft) long and will have a two-man crew. The first of the tankers starts in service with BP at Heathrow this month, where it is hoped to be able to fuel a big jet in less than an hour.