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Flight Testing with Hot JP‐4 Fuel

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The hot ambient/high altitude operating environments of modern helicopters with crashworthy suction fuel systems put stringent demands on the design of fuel pumps and lines, especially when using volatile fuels such as JP‐4. Flight testing of engine/airframe fuel systems designed to meet these requirements is a task equally as stringent. A recent flight test program of the Black Hawk helicopter using hot JP‐4 fuel developed techniques which could be used on any hot fuel test program. An innovative fuel heating system was developed that quickly heats the fuel to the desired temperature without unduly “weathering” the fuel or driving off the volatile “light ends” and lowering the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP). The tests were conducted with “worst case” JP‐4 fuel volatility (RVP = 3.0) to assure end point acquisition. The aircraft was instrumented in such a way that whatever problems arose, data to investigate the problem was available. The aircraft performed a series of maneuvers that separated the fuel system performance variables as much as possible and duplicated operational usage. All of the techniques were conducted within the framework of safety demanded by working with volatile fuels in a flight test environment.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Sikorsky Aircraft Division, United Technologies Corporation, West Palm Beach, Florida

Publication date: July 1, 1984

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  • The Journal of the American Helicopter Society is the world's only scientific journal dedicated to vertical flight technology. It is a peer-reviewed technical journal published quarterly by AHS International and presents innovative papers covering the state-of-the-art in all disciplines of rotorcraft design, research and development. (Please note that AHS members receive significant discounts on articles and subscriptions.)

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