Fuel

EASA Biofuels Report Fuel Drawback

Current rate is 27.34p per litre. You need to fill in form HO60 and send it to:

Mineral Oils Reliefs Centre
Dobson House
Regent Centre
Newcastle NE4 3PF

You can get a supply of forms from your local airfield or direct from the above address or by phoning 0845-010 9000 or fax on 0191-201-1723.

Basically you can claim for any fuel in the tank when you leave the UK, providing you have UKreciepts to support the claim. In addition if you fill up prior to leaving the UK then you do not pay VAT on the fuel uplift prior to going. If the trip goes pear shaped then as long as you have crossed 50N on the way south then you are ok, otherwise you are supposed to make a confession to Customs.

In real terms this arrangement means you pay about 54p per litre for 100LL. As far as I know I do not think you can get UK duty back on fuel bought in France. You used to be able to pick up duty free fuel in Ireland if you were returning to the UK, but I do not know if you still can.

The forms are fairly self explanatory, but there a few boxes which may confuse. These are designed to deduct fuel used or spilt after loading and whilst you’re still on a flight to a UK destination. You can only claim for fuel that you’ve loaded which is to be consumed after your last point of departure from the UK. ie if you load 70 litres in Manchester, burn 20 litres flying to Lydd, land and clear customs at Lydd and fly to France, you can only claim for 70-20=50 litres. If you fly direct from Manchester to France then you can claim for all 70 litres.

There is some info on the HMCE website www.hmce.gov.uk and although you can download many forms, when I last looked the HO60 wasn’t one of them.

Ethanol

01/01/08

On the fiberglass resins for fuel tanks consider a hard lesson learned by my friends at Tampa Bay Aerosport. They had to disassemble a wing to remove the tanks after a gas station accidentally added ethanol to the premium fuel. Even the vinyl ester is affected as it turns it into a sticky sludge. Epoxy is worse. I never knew that the resins were so intolerant to ethanol. If you use auto fuel rather than 100LL keep an ethanol tester handy or only get auto fuel from a trusted fuel depot. For normal gasoline and av-gas, you’ll have no problem. If you are unlucky like us in the green state of Florida many of our stations are adding 10% ethanol to all blends, they are supposed to post it on the pumps so be careful.

The boating industry up north has sealed all their tanks (mostly poly and vinyl ester tanks) with a special coating for the inside of fiberglass tanks which makes them impervious to ethanol. I’ll see if I can get a brand name and pass it on.

Bud Yerly

From my friends at Tampa Bay Aerosport:

Bill Hirsch auto sealer for fuel tanks is promised to be alcohol resistent. There are to be 3 coats applied. The initial drying seems to show very good bond. The sealer has some MEK built-in so it actually makes a bond into the resin itself. Try it.

Bud Yerly