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


Most Rotorway owners refuel their ships with plastic fuel cans. You need to be aware that static electricity can build up in the fuel container prior to touching the aircraft. I always touch the fuel spout/nozzle to the aircraft in an area away from the fuel tank to dissipate any built up electrical charge to prevent a spark from igniting the fuel vapors that will come pouring out of your fuel tank opening during refueling. I also suggest that you fabricate a fuel funnel for this purpose. I did not have any photos of any of the funnels that I had assisted my students to make so I asked Tom Delaney for some shots of the one that we made while I was giving him flight instruction. Thanks for the great photos, Tom.

There are several important considerations when refueling your helicopter.

  • You do not want to introduce any foreign materials into the helicopter fuel system. Water and debris can cause an engine failure with undesirable results.

Thanks to Tom Delaney for the great photos of the fuel funnel we made while I was at his place for advanced flight training.

  • The one funnel that I usually help my students construct begins with an extra fuel tank cap that can be purchased at any auto parts store. Pop the top of the cap off by prying with a screwdriver (on most caps)and remove any restricting parts inside so that you are left with the outside cap threads. Save the rubber seal that is at the top of the threads that will seal your new funnel to the top lip of your fuel tank once it is screwed into place.


  • Now find a fuel funnel at the auto parts store that has a fine mesh stainless steel or brass screen in the throat that will stop both water and debris but will allow the fuel to flow through it, most auto part stores carry them.


  • Purchase a 12" brake line, stiff fuel line, or some other straight metal tube of about a 1/8" to 1/4" diameter that will serve as a vent tube for venting the air/vapors displaced by the incoming fuel from the fuel tank while refueling.


  • Remove the fine screen from the funnel and using tin snips make a small hole in the edge so that when installed the vent line (with the nuts removed if brake line is used) will slip through the hole and rest against the side of the funnel and pass through the fuel cap threads that the funnel will be epoxied to. You may be able to leave the screen in place and poke or drill a hole through it for the vent tube.

  • I usually find that the bottom of the funnel needs to be trimmed to allow the narrow end of the funnel to fit snugly on the inside of the fuel cap threaded fitting. Once everything is trimmed and is fitting snugly it is time for final assembly.


  • Mix up some JB weld or Blade epoxy and epoxy the funnel into the top portion of the fuel cap that you modified. The epoxy should be fuel resistant.


  • Now glue the screen back into position with the vent tube sticking about one half inch below the bottom of the threads of the fuel cap body.

  • Put enough epoxy around the vent line to seal it to the screen and to the side of the funnel .

Let the epoxy set up and by the next day you have a funnel that should separate out water and debris that may have been in your re-fueling container.

You now have a better way to add fuel to your ship that should keep unwanted material out of the helicopter fuel system. The funnel with it's rubber washer can now be screwed onto the fuel tank securely and will help prevent fuel spills over your nice paint job and from running down the tank and into your hot engine compartment. If you overfill, the fuel backs up into the clear funnel and you can watch it as the level slowly goes down as the tanks fuel levels equalize.

The piece of vent tubing allows the fuel vapor to escape so that the fuel in your funnel will not bubble back and splash all over the side of your helicopter by releasing the pressure from building in the helo fuel tank as fuel is added.

Each time that you fuel your helicopter you can monitor the cleanliness of your fuel containers by looking at the strainer screen for any water or debris. You do not want them in your fuel system.

Re-fueling tanks.

You will need a way to re-fuel your helicopter. Following are a few photos of students re-fueling rigs. The first is Scott Peterson's answer. He installed a platform that attaches to his vehicle at the trailer hitch receiver. He can then run to the fuel station to refuel and then drive it right up to the helicopter. I believe it holds around 30 gallons.

Former student Greg S. has a tank mounted on a trailer complete with 12 volt pump and water-block filter
Another student build a system similar to Greg's rig above. He added a plywood box around the entire refueling apparatus to hide the contents from the public eye. He can pull into a gas station and fill his tank by just opening a door in the top of the trailer to access the tank filler. He also has a door that swings down on the side to allow for easy access to the fuel hose and nozzle. He has a coiled grounding cable that easily unrolls to ground his refueling system to his helicopter. With today's fuel prices it is good to not advertise that you are parking a trailer with fuel in it where it can be accessed by someone less honest than yourself.

Above Billy Evans uses a factory built fuel trailer to refuel his Exec. In Tx they do everything BIG. Billy pulls 500 gallons of fuel behind his pickup to insure that he has plenty of fuel at his cattle ranch during mustering time.

Raymond Butler has fabricated a fuel transfer trailer to move fuel from his main storage tank to his helicopter.

In the photo above Doug Barnett chose to install the vent tube next to the screen so that he did not need to remove it or cut it. A portion of the vent tube runs on the outside as seen in the photo below.
By installing the vent tube in this manner, the screen is not disturbed.
This funnel made the refuleing with a fuel can a simple task. Doug was surprized to find some water and other debris that was caught by the fine screen in the funnel. There was obviously some contamination in the fuel can although it looked perfectly clean. With the funnel and screen, the debris was caught before it could enter the helicopter fuel system. This funnel is a good idea no matter how you refuel, it allows you to inspect your fuel source for debris.


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