HINTS AND TIPS

The Buttons below will take you through the different hints and tips that I feel will make your helicopter safer and more reliable.

   

Fuel Tank Outlet Fittings

Fuel tank outlet fittings

 

The Rotorway factory now provides complete new fuel outlet fittings with an inside washer to prevent the fuel outlets from coming out of the bottom of the fuel tanks. I am pleased that they have adopted my inside washer modification and include it on all new ships. Whether you purchase the new style fittings from the factory or fabricate your own, a simple task, this area should get some special attention if you have a pre-Talon ship.

  • If your ship is a Rotorway 162F the fuel tank outlet fittings may need to be modified if they have not already been.
  • I noticed this problem while I was providing flight instruction in a Rotorway 162F. We had just refueled between flight training sessions and were flying at altitude when I thought I smelled fuel. I queried my student and he also smelled the distinctive odor of gasoline when all at once the odor intensity became unbearable. I announced "I've got it" and initiated an emergency descent and set down. Upon landing we immediately shut off all electrical components and rapidly departed the helicopter. It was then that we noticed that fuel was pouring from the underside of the body tub. It was a miracle that the fuel did not ignite and consume us and the helicopter as it poured over the hot engine and exhaust.
  • Upon examination we immediately noticed that the fuel tank outlet fitting had fallen out from the bottom of one fuel tank allowing all of the fuel in both tanks (both tanks outlet lines are connected) to spray all over the engine compartment. Since I discovered this inherent design problem with this fitting installation and published the incident and the fix, I have been contacted by several individuals who found that the fuel fitting pulled out of their own fuel tanks with no more than a gentle tug or had started leaking on their own.

Here is an email that I recently received:

Orv,

Just want to drop a note to thank you for all the safety tips and fixes you have shared. From the wiring, to the extended gear, to the fuel tank mods, I have incorporated them in my machine. Without a doubt, you saved me from certain disaster on the fuel tank outlet modification. I bought my 162f with 82 hours on it. When I saw your posting I checked my fuel outlets. When I put a wrench on the right side outlet, the fitting literally fell out of the tank. Luckily, the tank only had a gallon or so but it was all over the shop floor. I still shudder when I think I almost flew the ship home 60 miles. I am convinced there is no way an owner can properly inspect the outlet on an every-flight basis which the stock configuration requires. Waiting to see seepage near a hot engine and muffler and over the battery may end up being a bit too late. It was an easy fix and great piece of mind. I have attached a picture of my son and I in the helicopter that shows the extended gear. Thanks for all your service.

Regards,

Todd Mason

  • Here is the fix that I came up with that is simple to do and works very well. It provides a positive mechanical stop inside of the fuel tank that will prevent the fuel outlet fitting from falling or pulling out. You can access the fuel outlet fitting by removing the screws on the bottom half of the body tub in the fuel tank area and then pulling the body panel away from the fuel tank enough to get your wrenches in to do the work. A set of stubby wrenches is a big help.
  • Remove any fuel(if your fitting already fell out it took care of this step for you) from the tank and remove the outlet fittings. This is done by backing off the nut that is on the threaded portion of the outlet fitting on the bottom of the tank. There is a flat for a wrench to hold the fitting secure while you use another to loosen the nut. Once the nut is loose the fitting should pull straight down. If the grommets have been pushed up into the tank by the washer you may need to work the fitting a bit to get it to slide out.
  • Drill about an 1/8th inch diameter hole in the center of the top flat of the outlet fitting. I find it simple to drill up through the bottom into the inside of the top. Clean any burrs off the fitting left by drilling the hole.
  • The following photos were taken by Don Charniak of the custom washers that he fabricated and installed on his ship. Thanks Don for providing the great detail .

  • Find or fabricate a metal washer that fits over the threads and bevel on outlet fitting but will not pass ledge on the fitting. Next tie a ¼ thread (approximate) nut onto the end of a six foot piece of string and drop the nut into the fuel tank. Jiggle the string at the tank top opening until the nut pulls the string out or the bottom fuel outlet hole in the tank. The dimensions shown on the photos of the calipers below will give you an idea of the needed size. The bevel is a nice touch but not necessary to achieve the desired result. It was designed to conform to the bevel on the outlet fitting. I have found washers at the local hardware store that are of the correct diameter and work just fine. You need to trial fit the washer to insure that the inside diameter does not catch on the bevel of the outlet fitting before firmly contacting the entire circumference of the lip.

 

  • Next drop the washer (that you already trial fitted onto the fitting) onto string and into tank. You may want to tie off the bottom end of the string to prevent it from pulling back through the tank outlet hole while you are working at the top of the tank.
  • Thread the string up through the bottom of the outlet fitting and out through hole drilled through the top.
  • Drop the outlet fitting into the tank while holding onto both string ends so that the bottom end is not pulled into the tank.
  • Manipulate the string until the outlet fitting threads protrude through the bottom of the tank, it will pass through the washer and out the hole in the tank bottom.
  • If the rubber grommet is good, place it over the fitting threads and into the space around the threads inside tank bottom opening. (if the grommet is damaged then order new ones from factory)
  • Install the factory washer and nut and tighten
  • This will now provide a positive mechanical stop that will prevent the fuel tank outlet fitting from pulling out of the bottom of the fuel tanks and allows the rubber grommet to have a positive stop to compress against as the bottom washer is forced up against it by tightening the nut.Your fuel tank will now have a tough and leak-free fuel outlet fitting that you will no longer need to worry about.

When I arrived at Andrew Burr's home in South Eastern Missouri we removed his fuel tank outlet fittings to install the washers inside the tanks. The following photo shows the deterioration of the rubber grommet that seals both the fuel from leaking from the tank and also is supposed to keep the fuel fitting from falling out of the tank in flight.

What is the condition of the grommets in your Rotorway 162F fuel tanks? If you have an older Rotorway you may want to consult with the factory regarding the purchase of new grommets and the new style fuel outlet fittings.

The grommets were split and deteriorating and obviously in need of replacing which we did when the outlet fittings were installed from the inside of the tanks .

 

Click Here for more fuel tank info.

DISCLAIMER:

The material on each page is the opinion of the author only and any actions taken by the reader relating to information on this site is the responsibility of the builder.