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Refueled and ready to go!

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Keenan Berry
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
For many years, fuel has been a vital source behind multiple forms of transportation mobility. This source is an important piece to the Whiteman mission because the base and the B-2 Spirit's success depend on it to keep the mission going.

The 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron's fuel management flight works 24/7 to equip the aircraft with Jet-A fuel.

"Our primary responsibilities are to put clean, dry fuel onto an aircraft," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Wolf, 509th LRS fuels distribution mobile supervisor. "We ensure there are no contaminants and very little water, if possible, within the fuel."

The flight relies on filter separators to ensure no contaminants and very little water is in the fuel. These filter separators are drained daily.

"Once the fuel goes to the tank, we use the centrifugal pumps to spin and splotch the fuel in a scoop formation, and send it where it needs to go," said Senior Airman Nicholas Flamm, 509th LRS fixed facilities technician. "The fuels go to our filter separators where the water and contaminants are separated from the fuel. The water is heavier than fuel, causing it to sink to the bottom."

The technicians refuel the B-2 using pantographs, the pantographs connect to the '"moose head," also known as the hydrant coupler. The hydrant coupler has two single point nozzles, one rated at 600 gallons per minute and other rated at 300 gallons a minute.

"When the fuel tanks reach a certain level, we have to restrict the flow to 300 gallons a minute or the pressure will damage the aircraft. If the tank gets too full, the piping seals keeping the aircraft in tact will rupture damaging the aircraft," Flamm said.

Teamwork between the 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron B-2 crew chiefs and the fuel management helps prevent damage to the aircraft.

Safety is always a priority. Because the fuel management personnel are constantly subjected to hazardous situations, they must don proper personal protective equipment.

If fuel or hydrocarbons come into contact with liquid oxygen, this could cause a violent explosion, Flamm said. To prevent this, the fuel management flight wears white aprons because it is easier to see fuel stains before they work with liquid oxygen. If there is a fuel stain, the apron is washed or replaced.

For the Airmen of the fuel management, a key requirement for maintaining shop morale is camaraderie

"Every day is an interesting day in the fuel management shop," Wolf said. "I enjoy working with these guys. This shop is an extremely tight knit family and there's no other shop like it."