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Aviation fuel sniffing in Arnhem Land sparks health emergency warning

Jaba-who

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#2
Arnhem Land children sniffing aviation fuel in 'public health emergency'

Urk. I cannot imagine the thought processes that lead to doing this to yourself!

The fuels and the engines they are used in are highly regulated. It will be interesting to see what long term solution the regulator will have.
Umm? You have to remember we are talking about arnhem land here. Not Archerfield.
The fuel is not regulated - you can buy it from airport bowser, refueller or roadhouse ( with prior notice mostly). There are drums sitting in sheds and outstations. These kids steal it from the plane tank so it's often not acquired by the pilot from anywhere near where it's stolen so " regulation" is non existent.
The aircraft are parked on the line, parked in a bare spot near the runway or sometimes pushed back under a tree on a dusty bare patch that could possibly be called an apron if you were being generous.
The airstrips are sometimes " regulated" by having a fence around them to keep out the Roos but often nothing else at all. Some strips have a terminal and some facilities - some have a dirt track heading over from the nearest community.

As for doing this to oneself. It's no different to doing any other drug. All have risks, all have some degree of illegality and all are done with no consideration of what it's doing to people's own health.
It's not a regulator ( CASA) problem. It's a social issue of the communities and the individuals.
 

aplund

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#3
I was more thinking about the exact chemistry of 100LL w.r.t regulations. This is, as far as I know, the last fuel with lead additive still in active widespread use. Presumably it's the sniff-ability of the fuel that they are after and not the effects of Lead poisoning (correct me if I'm wrong). But to create new formulations which meet the required performance numbers which don't have lead and are unsniffable will require new investments and regulations or somehow a mass migration off to unsniffable unleaded MoGas?
 

Jaba-who

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#4
Opal ( the non-sniffable petrol available through most of NT) is not suitable for aviation engines. I can't recall the issue but I think it's multifactoral. Doesn't have enough octane rating, the stuff in it degrades seals, gaskets or other components. Can't recall exactly - I did know once when it first came in. Most of the small aircraft in charter category have Lycs and conty's and can't run on anything other than avgas.
The aviation fleet using avgas is too small to sustain any major changes in engine types etc. it will gradually go the way of Europe where engines will be made to run on diesel or turbine fuel but in a place like Oz that will only happen with the gradual attrition of the current fleet not a wholesale legislated forced change to new engines.

As I said this is a social problem and at present avgas is just one of the drug issues it faces. Ice is a far bigger problem affecting far more across a bigger age range and more communities than avgas. But so is marijuana and alcohol ( in some places - many communities are alcohol dry but replacement drugs are rife), narcotics and cocaine apparently aren't as big but still existent in some communities.

I suspect this is a bit of slow news day stuff as it's being going on for more than 20 years or so. That's why OPAL was introduced and avgas has been stolen frequently for about as long. I recall someone got a star picket through the wing tank at Mataranka at least 10 years ago and probably more. Problem may have moved across the territory a bit to the north east.
 

Capt Wally

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#5
Opal ( the non-sniffable petrol available through most of NT) is not suitable for aviation engines. I can't recall the issue but I think it's multifactoral. Doesn't have enough octane rating, the stuff in it degrades seals, gaskets or other components. Can't recall exactly - I did know once when it first came in. Most of the small aircraft in charter category have Lycs and conty's and can't run on anything other than avgas.
The aviation fleet using avgas is too small to sustain any major changes in engine types etc. it will gradually go the way of Europe where engines will be made to run on diesel or turbine fuel but in a place like Oz that will only happen with the gradual attrition of the current fleet not a wholesale legislated forced change to new engines.

As I said this is a social problem and at present avgas is just one of the drug issues it faces. Ice is a far bigger problem affecting far more across a bigger age range and more communities than avgas. But so is marijuana and alcohol ( in some places - many communities are alcohol dry but replacement drugs are rife), narcotics and cocaine apparently aren't as big but still existent in some communities.

I suspect this is a bit of slow news day stuff as it's being going on for more than 20 years or so. That's why OPAL was introduced and avgas has been stolen frequently for about as long. I recall someone got a star picket through the wing tank at Mataranka at least 10 years ago and probably more. Problem may have moved across the territory a bit to the north east.
The petrol sniffing is one thing, as said that's a social issue that will never be resolved, fact of our sad society but what would bother me more is the fact that these no hopers are tampering with aircraft!
 

ozbear

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#8
I would be worried about elevator control and hinge damage from them climbing over the aircraft I'm pretty sure if I was caught on camera stealing fuel and tampering with an aircraft I would be arrested
 

Jaba-who

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#10
Saw a news report where they said that Elcho island had now a security guard with a dog and there had been no issues at all since then. sounds like problem solved ( albeit at great expense to us). That's of course ok at Elcho but was also a problem at Milingimbi and they named somewhere else I've forgotten.
 

bexrbetter

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#11
Saw a news report where they said that Elcho island had now a security guard with a dog and there had been no issues at all since then. sounds like problem solved ( albeit at great expense to us).
Bit cheaper than the 30 million per year Government subsidy we are paying for to keep the more expensive OPAL and Comgas fuels going.
 

Old Koreelah

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#12
I would be worried about elevator control and hinge damage from them climbing over the aircraft I'm pretty sure if I was caught on camera stealing fuel and tampering with an aircraft I would be arrested
Valid point Ozbear, but that sort of damage can also happen at Fly-ins. I was in conversation with a mature aged bloke when he suddenly tried to sit on my fabric wing. I believe he was a pilot too.
A thorough preflight may not detect the damage inflicted on parked aircraft by curious visitors when the owners are not around.
 

Old Koreelah

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#14
You guys would cringe and cry if you went to a Chinese airshow.

Read: Kindergarden playground equipment.
A family member was at an art gallery in Beijing to see some masterpieces which had been loaned by some European galleries. He was incensed to see locals actually touching the surface of priceless oil paintings; officials did nothing.
 

Vev

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#15
I'm surprised to hear these kids are using Avgas to sniff. Avgas is made from just about 100% isooctane, which is extremely low in aromatics and has low volatility. In fact Opel fuel is made from isooctane (Avgas), without the lead, so as to making sniffing almost pointless. All these kids are getting high on is lead poisoning.