Savings Can Be Made by Using Compressed Air When Testing Aircraft for Fuel Leaks

PLRD-83-69: Published: Apr 22, 1983. Publicly Released: Apr 22, 1983.

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Robert M. Gilroy
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GAO reported to the Secretary of the Air Force on the cost and time savings that can be achieved by using compressed air in lieu of engine runups to check for fuel leaks in aircraft that use external fuel tanks.

In a 1982 report, GAO concluded that large amounts of aviation fuel could be saved if the compressed air test procedure were used to check for fuel leaks in aircraft with external fuel leaks. GAO asked the Tactical Air Command (TAC) to evaluate the compressed air testing procedure on its F-4 aircraft. The TAC evaluation showed that using compressed air saved a substantial amount of fuel annually and also reduced the amount of time and labor needed to test for fuel leaks. As a result of the TAC evaluation, compressors have been authorized for all TAC F-4 aircraft maintenance units.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should investigate the applicability of this fuel leak test procedure to all commands with aircraft that use removable external fuel tanks. The Secretary should also inform America's allies, particularly those that operate F-4 aircraft, of the fuel and other maintenance savings that can result from using compressed air to test for fuel leaks.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force


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