The helicopter rotor blades are usually stopped, and both the aircraft and the refueling unit properly grounded prior to any refueling operation. The pilot should ensure that the proper grade of fuel and the proper additives, when required, are being dispensed.
Refueling of a turbine aircraft while the blades are turning, known as “hot refueling,” may be practical for certain types of operation. However, this can be hazardous if not properly conducted. Pilots should remain at the flight controls; and refueling personnel should be knowledgeable about the proper refueling procedures and properly briefed for specific helicopter makes and models.
The pilot may need to train the refueling personnel on proper hot refueling procedures for that specific helicopter. The pilot should explain communication signs or calls, normal servicing procedures, and emergency procedures as a minimum. At all times during the refueling process, the pilot should remain vigilant and ready to immediately shut down the engine(s) and egress the aircraft. Several accidents have occurred due to hot refueling performed by improperly trained personnel.
Refueling units should be positioned to ensure adequate rotor blade clearance. Persons not involved with the refueling operation should keep clear of the area. Smoking must be prohibited in and around the aircraft during all refueling operations.
If operations dictate that the pilot must leave the helicopter during refueling operations, the throttle should be rolled back to flight idle and flight control friction firmly applied to prevent uncommanded control movements. The pilot should be thoroughly trained on setting the controls and egressing/ingressing the helicopter.Are you ready to start your journey learning to fly helicopters? Learning to Fly Helicopters, Second Edition, provides details on the technical and practical aspects of rotarywing flight. Written in a conversational style, the book demystifies the art and science of helicopter flying.