633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Airmen here are testing a new fuel delivery system that officials say could revolutionize flightline operations and save the Air Force millions of dollars.
The new Hydrant Mobile Refueler has been in development for roughly a year and a half, and it could be implemented throughout the Air Force in 2012, according to the 633rd Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management superintendent.
“We’ve added a hydrant connection that we can connect to our Type 3, constant-pressure hydrant system, which will allow us to be able to pump fuel directly from the hydrant system, through the (truck), going straight to the aircraft,” Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Smith said.
In other words, where the R-11 fuel trucks normally pump fuel from their tanks into waiting aircraft, this modification allows the fuel truck to simply serve as a connection point and filter. The fuel stored in underground tanks will travel directly into the aircraft being serviced. One of the major hurdles this modification addresses is servicing heavy aircraft not assigned to Langley.
“When we have large-frame aircraft that come in, and they’re not parked directly on the pits where we can use the pantograph, we can bring the HYMORE truck out,” Smith said. “This truck will be able to pump as much fuel as our system is able to push to it.
“We are here testing a lot of great ideas for the fuels arena,” Smith added. “Langley has been a test base for many years, but this is the one that we are hanging our hat on. Time and money is what we are really excited about with this new HYMORE, and it’s already proven itself here at Langley.”
The 633rd LRS is responsible for all the fuels disbursed on the base, whether ground products like gas or diesel, or jet fuel designated for use in Langley AFB’s fighter jets. Fuels management personnel receive, test and distribute fuel as needed, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Master Sgt. Joseph Eveson, the 633rd LRS Fuels Management NCO in charge of facilities, said on any given day, fuels management services about 40 aircraft, including Langley AFB’s fighters and any transient aircraft. Fuels management has 14 R-11 fuel trucks to service the aircraft and two trucks designated to service ground vehicles.
“With a standard R-11, you can issue 6,000 gallons, and then you have to come back and fill your truck,” Eveson said. “With the HYMORE, you’re only limited to capacity of the hydrant system — up to 900,000 (gallons) here at Langley.
“Langley is currently the only place that has the system attached to the trucks,” he said. “They are in the process of putting them on out at Nellis (Air Force Base, Nev.). If all goes well at Langley and Nellis, they are going to take them out to the desert.”
Eveson said the HYMORE saves time and money, it’s easier to use and takes fewer people to set up.
“If we’re using the pantograph, you have to take the additional piece of equipment and tow it out to the flightline,” Eveson said. “You have to hook it up, drive five miles an hour to the aircraft, and it takes two people to set up. Once you’re done, its takes two people to take it all apart and drive it back to its spot. With the HYMORE, you can just send one operator with his truck out to the aircraft.”
Eveson said once the system is approved for use Air Force wide, each base would have the option to purchase fuels hydrant service vehicles with the HYMORE modification.
“Instead of buying a new R-11, an R-12 and a pantograph, they could buy an R-11 and get the HYMORE attachment as an add-on,” Eveson said. “A pantograph costs about $130,000; an HSV costs about $200,000. The HYMORE costs about $18,000; so you’re looking at saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Eveson said another benefit of the modification is that it requires almost zero training for the refueling operators because it is such a simple piece of equipment to operate.
Senior Airman Lloyd Nau, a 633rd LRS refueling operator, works out of the fuels management section on the northern end of the flightline. He said using the trucks with the modification can save 45 minutes to an hour for every fueling operation.
“The biggest benefit would be that it stops us from having to come all the way back here to fill up our truck, and then go all the way back out to the aircraft and hook back up to it,” Nau said. “We can stay on the aircraft the entire time and refuel it.”
Smith said the Air Force would consider the HYMORE a success once it determines trucks with the modification can service aircraft at the same rate, or better, than the current equipment can. He said since 633rd LRS personnel have already done that, now it’s just a matter of working out the details.
“The next step would be that we would have this on the next (purchase),” Smith said. “That’s why we are testing hot and heavy here at Langley, because we are trying to get the data and provide it to the engineers. We’ve already leaned way forward on this, and it is something you are probably going to see before this year is out.”