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Aircraft Fuel Testing

Aircraft Fuel Testing

FUELSTAT®: the 15-minute aircraft fuel testing kit for detecting microbial contamination

Discover the latest ‘test at the tank’ technology, ideal for one-person operation.

  • All-in-one test kits designed for one-person use
  • Conduct tests on-site, even in dirty hangar conditions
  • No specialist equipment or training required
  • Most cost-effective testing method
  • Trusted by over 400 airlines worldwide
Several aircraft in single file on a runway which are grounded until they have completed aircraft fuel testing.
2 engineers looking at the results from an aircraft fuel testing kit hoping there's no signs of contamination.

Aircraft fuel testing kit

Is your aviation fuel at risk from microbial contamination?

Microbial contamination is always a threat to aviation fuel, but never more so than when your aircraft are grounded. Contamination is more likely to develop to serious levels in this situation for several reasons:

  • More time for contamination to grow. The longer fuel is lying unused in a tank, the greater the risk of microbes growing and spreading.
  • Contamination in grounded aircraft can be harder to detect. Fuel that is lying static in a grounded aircraft’s tank isn’t being agitated by movement, so the contamination may stay on one side of the tank.
  • Reduced availability of testing services. In times of crisis, or in certain locations, it can be difficult to send fuel samples to laboratories.
  • Staff limitations. In circumstances where travel is restricted, staff who would normally visit hangars to conduct testing may not be available.

On top of all this, manufacturers’ recommendations are that aviation fuels in grounded airplanes should be tested more regularly—as often as once a month.

Read more >> Aviation Fuel Testing

What will help you get an accurate result when testing grounded aircraft?

Here are some simple measures that may help you achieve the earliest possible detection of contamination in grounded aircraft.

1. Use multiple testing methods. Airlines that wish to be more thorough should check their fuel contamination levels using two or more methods.

2. Move the aircraft to agitate fuel. Towing the aircraft around a hangar area causes the fuel to move around in the tank. This means that means that any contamination is spread and is more likely to be captured at drain points and is therefore more likely to make its way into a fuel sample.

3. Use additional inspection equipment. Equipment such as boroscopes may be useful in detecting contamination far away from sampling points.

4. Invest in convenient on-site testing methods. Modern immunoassay antibody tests allow you to test for microbial contamination levels without sending fuel off-site. As a result, the testing process costs you up to 50% less than traditional methods.

FUELSTAT® jet fuel testing kits

Test your fuel for microbial contamination on-site in just 15 minutes

Corrosion on the hard ground caused by aircraft fuel with micorbial contamination. This is cause for immediate fuel testing.

Why is it important to manage microbial contamination?

aircraft fuel contamination test

Microbial contamination, also called jet fungus, is a serious threat to jet fuel (see Jet Fuel Contamination). It’s capable of growing rapidly, developing into a biofilm or biomass that looks like an algae-like sludge. This material can potentially influence microbial corrosion of metal surfaces.

Serious cases of contamination result in:

  • Blocked filters
  • Engine malfunction or failure
  • Corroded tank walls, leading to fuel leaks
  • Reputation damage
  • Write-off or costly treatment of fuel

With grounded aircraft, the most serious issue is corrosion. Remedial costs for this problem often run into $millions.

Airlines can prevent these problems by:

  1. Following a fuel management program and regularly removing water from tanks.
  2. Testing fuel so that microbial contamination can be detected and managed before it reaches dangerous levels.
  3. Assess the risk in special circumstances, such as when aircraft are grounded, and take all necessary measures by referring to manufacturer guidelines.

Aviation fuel is susceptible to various contaminants including water, particulates (e.g. rust and pollen), other fuels, and microbial contamination.

Microbial contamination originates from microbes that are in the air and on surfaces around us. These microbes are often present in water that enters fuel tanks and pipes through condensation. Once inside tanks, the microbes feed off the nutrients in the fuel and grow in the space between fuel and water.

Diesel and jet fuels are more susceptible to microbial contamination because they are now made with Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME), which attracts and holds water.

When microbial contamination grows unchecked, it eventually forms a slime-like substance called biomass. This material can easily block filters and engines, worsening their performance or completely stopping the engine from working.

The biomass and associated acids can also influence microbial corrosion—to the extent that it can eat through the walls of fuel tanks. In a worst-case scenario, it can cause jet fuel to leak into the environment, leading to government involvement and major reputation damage for the airline.

Fuel that is diagnosed with serious microbial contamination cannot be used.

The fuel can sometimes be restored using specialist treatments known as biocides, where available (their use is not permitted in the EU). In severe cases, the contamination may lead to complete cleansing of the tanks and downgrading or total write-off of the fuel. All of these outcomes—including biocide treatments—are extremely costly.

All this means that prevention is far more economical than treatment. By proactively monitoring and managing microbial contamination, airlines can potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars—or more.


Grounded Aircraft Fuel Testing

Start conducting fuel testing for grounded aircraft in minutes, not days.

FUELSTAT® test kits are ideal when sending fuel samples off-site or bringing in external testing teams isn’t practical. They are also ideal for individual workers carrying out testing alone.

They use a method called immunoassay antibody testing, which looks specifically for the microbes that can harm fuel. This is unlike traditional testing methods such as ATP and CFU, which target any living or culturable microbes in the fuel sample.

Because immunoassay only looks for harmful contaminants, there is no risk that ‘noise’ from other microbes will affect the analysis. Immunoassay antibody test kits can therefore be used anywhere—even in the unsanitary conditions of an aircraft hangar.

What’s more, immunoassay antibody aeroplane fuel tests deliver accurate results in just 15 minutes. This method of testing therefore helps you comply with ASTM D6469 Section 8.5, which stipulates that fuel samples must be tested within 24 hours.

aircraft fuel test kit from FUELSTAT®

Test your fuel for microbial contamination on-site in just 15 minutes

The wing of an aircraft shortly after take-off which has successfully completed an aircraft fuel test kit.

FUELSTAT®: check your fuel for microbial contamination without a professional testing team

FUELSTAT® is the only test on the market that doesn’t require a laboratory. It can be used by a single member of your team, eliminating the need for multiple people or third parties to handle your jet fuel.

The test kits work just like a pregnancy test—simply place a few droplets of sample onto the test wells and wait for the visual readout.

  • No specialist training required. Anyone with a steady hand can use FUELSTAT® after basic training from our instructional videos, which can be viewed on a smartphone before operation.
  • No laboratory equipment needed. All you need is the test kit, a clean beaker for your fuel sample, and a dry surface to place the test wells on.
  • Clear, simple results. The results are displayed in ‘traffic light’ format, with green/amber/red readouts indicating the level of microbial contamination.
  • Log and share results digitally. Scan the test kit using the FUELSTAT® Results mobile app to log and share results with colleagues digitally.

In addition, FUELSTAT® typically is far more cost-effective than other testing methods.

How does a FUELSTAT® aircraft fuel test kit work?

1. Extract a sample of fuel correctly and place 4 drops into each of the kit’s 6 test wells.

2. Wait 15 minutes, then scan the kit with the FUELSTAT® Result app on your smartphone.

3. Get a Full Analysis Report from the app on the FUELSTAT® Result Portal, with all results stored for later retrieval and analysis.


What countries can you deliver aircraft fuel tester kits to?

Our test kits are used in 130 countries worldwide. We have global distributors and can offer next-day delivery to most locations – visit the How to buy page to find out more.

Our kits come with instructions in English and several other major languages.

How does the FUELSTAT® app help with record-keeping?

FUELSTAT® test kits can be used without the app. However, the app is free and gives you a convenient way to keep records of your aircraft fuel tank testing.

The app uses your smartphone’s camera to scan and record the results your test kits show. You can then add additional details such as the date, tank tested, and the name of the person conducting the test.

The FUELSTAT® results app saves all your test results and details online, giving you an easy way to keep records while cutting paperwork. You can export your testing records as a spreadsheet or PDF at any time through the app.

How often should we carry out grounded aircraft fuel testing?

First and foremost, we advise you to follow the testing requirements of any relevant regulating bodies, or the guidelines in your aircraft’s manual.

Some aircraft manufacturers in the aerospace industry recommend that grounded aeroplane fuel testing should be conducted every 30 days. Given that there have been many examples of microbial contamination growing significantly within two weeks, we agree with this recommendation.

How long can I keep a FUELSTAT® aircraft fuel testing kit in storage?

Our airplane fuel tests have a shelf life of approximately 24 months.

Who uses FUELSTAT® aircraft fuel contamination test kits?

FUELSTAT® aircraft fuel contamination test kits are used by more than 400 airlines worldwide, plus more than 10 major oil companies. They are also used by numerous organisations involved in transporting, storing and selling fuel.

FUELSTAT® is recommended by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Conidia Bioscience is a strategic partner of IATA.

Which microbes does FUELSTAT® test for?

FUELSTAT® specifically tests for the microbes that are dangerous to fuel and engines. They include yeast, bacteria, and fungi like Homorconis resinae (formerly known as Cladosporium resinae).

Because FUELSTAT® tests only for microbes that can thrive in jet fuel and do damage (including influencing corrosion) to fuel systems , it’s ideal for aircraft fuel tank testing in dirty hangars and other non-laboratory environments.

No special equipment required

All you need to use FUELSTAT® is a flat, clean surface, a pair of latex gloves and a 200ml fuel sample.

Easy to understand

Drop the fuel sample onto a FUELSTAT® and get a clear colour-coded visual result after a few minutes (similar to a pregnancy test).

Compliant with industry regulations

Results are given in a ‘traffic light’ format indicating negligible, moderate or heavy contamination ranges according to IATA guidelines.

Perfect for on-site testing

Jet Fuel Testing can be done on-site, in non-sterile conditions, so you don’t need to transport samples off-site.

Fast, digitally-recorded results

The entire process takes just 15 minutes, and you can scan your test kit with our free smartphone app to instantly log your results digitally.

FUELSTAT® only detects the relevant fungi, yeasts, and bacteria if they have been growing in the aviation fuel. The kit will ignore any microorganisms that have blown in from outside and have been growing on other sources—so there’s almost no chance of misleading results.


Get a FUELSTAT® aviation fuel test kit

Use FUELSTAT® to test for aviation fuel contamination and avoid costly mechanical and operational problems