How To Use Fuel Transfer Pumps to Move Fuel

In Air Force One, the movie that starred Harrison Ford as the President of the United States, the plane that is used by the President was hijacked while airborne. One scene featured a risky and perilous attempt to transfer fuel to Air Force One from another plane when it ran low of fuel. This aerial refueling is called air-to-air refueling (AAR) or tanking which is made possible by a boom and receptacle system. This is comprised of a rigid, telescoping tube controlled by V-shaped wings and operated from within a fuel transfer tanker aircraft especially designed for fuel transfer. Upon refueling a plane, the tube is extended until it is inserted into the receptacle of the receiving airplane filling it with fuel.

It is not only during air-to-air transfer that fuel can be moved. On land, cars, construction sites, and agricultural equipment use fuel pumps to power equipment and to transfer diesel and gasoline seamlessly.

These types of fuel transfer pumps are as follows:

  • The safest type to use is the Pneumatic or air-driven pump which as implied uses air compression to force air into pressure-sensitive valves that in turn make the pump work.
  • The most inexpensive type is the hand-pump which uses a crank or a lever for it to work. The pump must be anchored to something tough and sturdy like a metal tank so that the lever will be able to withstand the force that’s applied to it. Though inexpensive, you must make a mental note to shy away from buying the cheapest ones you can find as these won’t get you very far usage-wise. Be aware too that this type of fuel transfer pump is the hardest to do out of the entire lot.
  • A motor-driven fuel transfer pump is the fastest way of transferring fuel because it runs on electrical or battery power. Fuel is transferred into containers from a diaphragm or a turbine which runs on very high PSI (pounds per square inch) level. Simply put, it means more fuel is transferred with a higher PSI. The only drawback you have when using this type of fuel equipment is that it cannot take excess load and may even burn when improperly used.

All fuel transfer pumps have manual or automatic nozzles and cords with various lengths. There are also easily-to-install types with suctions you can adjust to your ease. 

You now have a whole range of choices to make refueling easier or harder depending on which one makes your motor run, so to speak. When you are ready to purchase a fuel pump based on those presented here, you might get sidetracked when you see that there are other varieties that are available to you. You should not be confused about it. Just make sure you are clear about what you need and why you need it before making it official. Your best bet is the type that makes fuel transfer faster, easier, is fast flying off the shelves no matter how costly it is, and carries a maximum warranty period.


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