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Aviation Fuel

Dudester · 20

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Offline Dudester

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on: December 02, 2023, 07:58:49 PM
It all started a month or two after the pandemic started, the house would, 3 to 5 times a day absolutely reek of gasoline. It made me, my roommate and neighbor wonder why. Because I live in a "multiple use subdivision", there is a garage next door that repairs cars. For the overwhelming smell, the garage would have had to dump at least 55 gallons of gas on the ground (or in the sewer) on a daily basis. Go ahead and cross them off of the list. So, there is a gas station a block away, but in order to have that smell, their underground storage tanks would have to have a major leak and that would register the fire department responding, city crews coming out and the media crawling all over the station. Nope, cross them off of the list.

A couple of years go by and I'm getting educated weekly by a growing number of aviation channels I was subscribing to on Utube. From a number of clues I came to realize that I live 3 to 5 miles from an "outer marker."

There are two major airports in the city. And you can't see them, but there are "highways in the skies", basically traffic lanes in the sky where planes travel. If planes divert from these routes, air traffic control is quick to challenge them (to prevent another 9/11 event). So, the outer marker 3 to 5 miles from my house is where planes have to confirm which airport that they are going to and make adjustments (turn northeast for one airport, descend to 3,000 feet for the one closer to my humble abode.

I put the final piece together when I traveled 5 miles due north of my house to get my quarterly haircut. As the car neared the barbershop, suddenly that overwhelming smell of gasoline. I looked up and there was a 3 plane procession turning northeast.  Conclusion-planes were dumping fuel. Why? I have to presume it had to do with federal regulations and a desire by airlines to make trips more expensive. Very suddenly, a month ago, the fuel dumping stopped. At the same time, utube channels, websites and news organizations reported that the airlines were finding themselves in a pinch. During the pandemic, airlines suddenly let go of a bunch of pilots and now that the pandemic is over, senior (and overworked) pilots are retiring and the airlines are struggling to find pilots because the laid off pilots either walked away from flying, let their licenses lapse, or just didn't keep up on simulator training (on their own dime) to keep them from active status. So, the airlines are finding themselves in a pinch and dumping fuel isn't cost effective anymore, especially because the airlines are now actively recruiting pilots and have even resorted to allowing first officers to only have 500 hours of flight hours (pre pandemic, it was common to have first officers that had 10,000 (give or take) hours of flight time).