Learn the best facts on aeroplane types and the fuel they use. Find out why they use it and how it is produced.
New technologies and inventions appear even more often. Nowadays we have plenty of facilities and improvements around us, which should make our life better and easier. And means of transport aren’t an exception. One of the fastest and most comfortable ones is plane. However, such technological developments influence people and make them more concerned of the ecological issues. That’s why many of us keep asking “What does aeroplane use as fuel?”
Let's look at the word’ notion. Airplane is described as a powered flying vehicle having fixed wings, which is heavier than the air. It's usually propelled forward by thrust from a jet engine. Depending on the form, size, type of engine, and some other factors the fuel can also vary.
Types of aircrafts
As we’ve mentioned, the fuel may differ according to the features of the vehicle. That is why it’s necessary to know the main types. They include the following:
Single-Engine Piston. The name is quite descriptive. Such type has one piston engine. And it's used as a propeller if it is at the plane nose. If it’s at the back, then it’s called a pusher. About 70% of GA (America’s General Aviation) fleet members have such vehicles.
Business Jets. There exist different sizes of this type. There are small ones created just for seven persons (like Learjet 35A). There are also big ones (like Boeings). Most of such planes can house about nine passengers and fly from several hundred to 1500 miles. These jets are not obligatory luxurious. Very often, they carry different employees, customers or even replacement parts.
- Tricycle Gear. According to its design, two main landing gears are put further back on the airplane, under the wing, with a steerable nose wheel in the front. The arrangement resembles a children’s tricycle, thus, the title has appeared.
- Amphibians. They are like floatplanes. However, they have retractable wheels to operate both on paved runways and grass strips.
- Helicopters. Helicopters couple their engines to an overhead rotor, which serves as the rotating wing. Thanks to it, they are able take off, hover, and land.
- Taildraggers. They have two main landing gears and wheels toward the front of the aircraft and a small tail wheel under the tail. They sit with their tails low to the ground, that where they’ve taken their name. Such aircrafts are able to fly from dirt and grass strips, which ability makes them popular in wilderness. Nevertheless, they are hard to taxi, takeoff, and land.
- Tiltrotors. Such jets combine vertical takeoff, hover, and landing capabilities of a helicopter. Their engines and propellers form a rotor, which allows vertical flight and high-speed.
- Ultralights. It is lightweight and capable of carrying just five gallons of fuel. Its maximum speed achieves 63 mph.
- Multiengine Piston. Again a very descriptive name. They've at least two engines using propellers to drive a vehicle. They have better speed and performance compXared to the “Singles”.
Turboprops. Gas turbine engine is used here. Such aircrafts combine jet engine reliability with the short takeoff and landing performance of a propeller-driven aeroplane. The majority of models have two engines. However, the one, being on the nose, is usually applied.
- Floatplanes. These vehicles have kind of “boats” instead of the wheels. Thus, they may land on or take off from water.
- Biplanes. They are popular among the agricultural pilots. Such vehicles have two wings.
What does aeroplane use as fuel - the types
Now when you’ve found out about the aircrafts we may answer the question “What does aeroplane use as fuel?”. The main types of it, used for aero planes usually contain the following:
Kerosene. It’s a kind of petroleum fuel. It’s characterized by extremely high combustion temperature, which makes it suitable for the jet engines conditions.
As a jet fuel, it can be divided into two groups – Jet A and Jet B. Variations of Jet A (including Jet A-1) are used for civilian planes, while Jet B is applied only in the extremely cold climate conditions as it’s very dangerous and flammable.
As for the military airplanes, there is another classification. They vary from JP-1 to JP-8. JP-8 is similar to Jet A-1, and JP-4 is equivalent to Jet B. However, the majority of military vehicles use JP-8 fuel.
Avgas. It is short for aviation gasoline. This type is used for piston-engine aircraft (like those described above). The most widespread variation of it is 100LL (100-octane low-lead). Unleaded kind is applied very rarely because of altitude the aircrafts engines operate. In the past higher-octane fuels were applicable.
Mogas. The last of the three main fuel types. This shortening stands for motor vehicle gasoline. It includes typical car gasoline, like 80-, 87-, or 92-octane. Some of the piston airplanes owners have converted their vehicles for using this type. They’ve done so, because it possesses several great advantages, among which there is money saving (avgas costs $3 or $4 more for one gallon).
The two last fuels are colored to make sure you’ve selected the right one for your plane. The colors are:
- blue for 100LL,
- green for 100,
- purple for 130,
- red for mogas.
Sometimes the vehicles are changed to use the other fuel variations, such as natural gas, 94UL or 102UL.
It's not a secret that any fuel used nowadays has bad influence on the ecology. And the one used for aviation is not an exception. The harmful effect occurs because of the following factors:
- heat emission,
- noise production,
- particulates discharge,
- gas emission.
All these factors lead to the climate changes and global dimming. Despite of the reduction of such emissions into the air (thanks to new engines), the growing number of flights in recent years has made a great damage. And the total pollution hasn’t been decreased.
Most types of aviation release a large amount of carbon dioxide and some other gases into the atmosphere by burning such fuels as Jet-A or avgas. It accelerates not only global warming, but also ocean acidification. About 8.3 million people fly every day. And it doesn’t change the situation for the better. Everything has becoming even worse in the course of time. You may compare: about 3 billion people use planes every year, which is twice as more than in 1999.
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Besides the emissions from planes themselves, other airport vehicles, passengers’ cars, and energy production buildings also produce harmful effects. The emissions from the whole aviation industry may include:
- nitric oxide,
- nitrogen dioxide,
- water vapor and particulates,
- sulfur oxides,
- carbon monoxide,
- incompletely burned hydrocarbons,
They say that modern technologies try to make the world a better place. However, is it true really? Even using a new, more ecologically safe engines and fuel types, aeroplanes make great damage to the Earth’s atmosphere, as more and more people use them.
It’s vital to start thinking of it, because it will finally affect everyone with global warming and other disasters. If people don't get concerned, it will soon be too late to save our planet.