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Aerospace [results]testing for microbial Contamination in jet fuel

  1. Apr 16, 2009 #1


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    Hello I am sharing the results of my analytical report on "comparison on methods of testing for microbial contamination in jet fuel for private jet aircraft owners" for those who were interested (namely Cyrus)

    First I would like to talk a little about the scope and the limitations of my report before sharing my findings. I should note that the criteria for methods available to private owners need to not require any lab training and has to be easily accessible.

    Also I had to make my report slightly less detailed in comparison to stay within the page numbering limits.

    I found that the “Guidance Material on Microbiological Contamination in Aircraft Fuel Tanks" by the IATA contained a wealth of information about this but was not available during the time of this report. However, the university has ordered a copy and I plan to rewrite my report to include information from that book and create a more detailed report (partly because I am very interested in the topic and would like to create a professional report).

    Also rather than comparing fairly unreliable tests such as the "clear and bright" and the milipore gravimetric test, I focused more on the ones that were proven to be reliable and others that were recommended by the IATA. This narrowed my search down to three such types of tests that a few of you should be familiar with: Automatic Particle Counting, Detection tests and Growth tests.

    My report can be found http://www.2shared.com/file/5369027/a15e2f25/Microbial_Report_Final.html" You should note that this was an academic exercise and the letter of transmittal placed as page two is not meant to be real, the scenario and the appendix section were placed there at the request of my professor.

    I have found that the detection tests recommended by the IATA are ideal for private owners in all of the conditions I have outlined in my report. This is because compared to the other methods, it has a smaller and cheaper price range, can be performed in 10 minutes or less, and is just as reliable as all the other methods.

    In the future
    In the future I would like to do a more detailed cost analysis on these tests because over time it seems a few of these tests can become fairly expensive, however, that depends on whether or not you fly in high risk conditions. The IATA recommends once a year testing but more frequently for high risk fliers and as experience suggests.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 17, 2009 #2
    Hi Brendon,

    I've read over your paper. Here are a few comments I have about it.

    Opening Letter:
    In your letter to "Mr. Carr" you talk about the IATA. I (and Mr. Carr) don't know what this is. If you are introducing an acronym for the first time in your paper, make sure you say what IATA stands for. Also, you talk about high and low risk environments, but you don't define what they are. You then mention frequent fliers. What constitutes a frequent flyer, 1 hour a week? 4 hours a week? 10 hours a week?

    Here you start off talking about diesel fuel, but then you talk about jet engines. Jet engines don't run on diesel fuel, but JET-A.

    Here again, the sentence you say:
    does not make sense. If you are testing for contamination, either it is contaminated or it isn't. The test wont prevent contamination from ever occuring. It will simply tell you if it has happened yet or not.

    Here you say:
    In general, never say anything you can't back up. What are the rates of such incidents, and how much of a rise is there?

    I really don't think this section should even be in your paper, this is already in the references. In general, if you can omit a sentence and not loose any information, it shouldn't be in your paper.

    Scope of analysis:
    It seems like you are saying the same thing too many times here.
    I've read this three times now and im only on page 9. I would get rid of this all together.

    Automatic Particle Counting (APC):
    This section is very good, and well referenced.

    Detection Test:

    Growth Test:

    As a rule, you never introduce new material in a conclusion. You only sumarize. Here you present a very nice table with times it takes to run each test, but this information is nowhere to be found in the body of the text. This should be dedicated to a section somewhere before the conclusion.

    Overall Interpretation of Findings:
    Don't use I or We in a technical paper.

    Overall, I would give the paper a (82%) B- if I were grading it. The paper seems fundamentally OK; however, it needs quite a bit of reworking in the presentation of content as per my comments above.
  4. Apr 17, 2009 #3


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    Thanks for the constructive comments:

    For the opening letter it was assumed that the person or organizing body that I was sending it to had some knowledge of this, the IATA is presented and defined in the intro, and also there is a section on definitions which defines those terms used. In general I wasn't taught anyway around this and any suggestions would be helpful. Keep in mind that part is purely fictitious.

    I'm not sure what I was thinking when I wrote that

    That whole paragraph was sourced if I remember correctly, and in that journal the author did indeed say so. I don't know how credible that information is I can only assume all of the sources I get are credible as it was directed to use for my research by the university

    mandatory by the professor

    again mandatory by the professor

    I should review the paper because I really do think I placed times of testing in each section albeit one sentence or two

    Hmm I seriously cannot believe I forgot that
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