Aviation Leak Detection using Fluorescent Leak Detection

Fuel Leaks in Aircraft

Typical Process for Finding Leaks

Finding and fixing aircraft fuel tank leaks has always been an arduous and time-consuming process, many times best left to a specialist. Generally, the aircraft is pulled from service and parked in a hangar or designated safe area.

The general area of the leak is marked; the tank defueled, opened, vented and allowed to dry. A trained AMT dresses in anti-static clothing and ensures that the tank environment meets safety standards before entering the tank. Once inside, the area in question is located, sealant removed, and fasteners replaced if necessary. Safety is of highest importance, so the worked-on area is cleaned thoroughly and prepare for the reseal.

Next, the sealant is allowed to dry, and openings are closed. The tank is pressurized with shop air and the suspected area is sprayed with a soap solution. The soap solution is used to look for the telltale bubbles coming from a leak. If bubbles do appear, the process is repeated, and oversized fasteners are installed and/or another round of sealant is applied. If no bubbles appear, the tank is refueled and put on watch for leaks. If no leaks appear, the aircraft can be returned to service.

UV Fluorescent dye for Aircraft Fuel Systems. Checks an entire system in just minutes! Ideal for use as part of a diagnostic/preventive maintenance program for commercial and military aircraft fuel and fluid systems! Fluoresces Green.

Spectronics Aviation Leak Detection Solutions

Spectronics produces Aero-Brite universal fluorescent leak detection dye that can be used to locate leaks in all petroleum- and synthetic-based aviation fluid systems. Aero-Brite is “safe to use in aircraft fuel, hydraulic and lubricating systems” and “safe to use in turbine and reciprocating engines.” Using the Aero-Brite for leak detection is about as easy as it gets. You add a prescribed amount of fluorescent dye to the leaking fluid system and let it circulate.

It can be used under all normal operating conditions and temperatures. When the mixture escapes at the leak site, it glows a bright fluorescent yellow-green color when illuminated with a Spectroline high-intensity UV inspection lamp. Aero-Brite comes in different sized containers and works with violet or ultraviolet flashlights to easily to check for leaks in those hard-to-get-to places.

According to Sales Experts, Spectroline aviation leak detection kit would be a better solution for specialty shops and crews needing a more robust system. They suggest that “using the fluorescent leak detection products will help decrease the number of aircraft grounded for repair work.” As a tip to AMTs using Aero-Brite, the company recommends that “wherever possible, leak sites should be scanned with the UV lamp under low ambient light conditions in order to enhance the fluorescent response of the dye.”