Belite Electronics has unveiled a new, patent-pending technology that is capable of detecting water in the fuel tank or fuel line.
Through the use of a small probe, the new technology discriminates between water and fuel and provides an alarm signal to the aircraft operator when water is detected, according to company officials.
“While doing research on fuel level probes that were pertinent to our avionics, I stumbled across a newer technology that would help solve a decades old safety problem,” said James Wiebe, CEO of Belite Enterprises.
“The presence of water in fuel has caused many significant accidents in aviation history,” Wiebe said, “and the use of auto fuel with ethanol content continues to exacerbate this problem, because water will precipitate out of ethanol blended fuel as temperature drops, for instance, overnight.
“Aircraft manufacturers have worked on resolving water contamination issues over the years by providing multiple sump points and by industry wide pilot training and education. Even so, the opportunity for accidents and anxiety caused by water contamination in fuel continues,” Wiebe continued.
The new technology provides a warning signal which may be used in simple applications to trigger a alarm on the instrument panel. In more sophisticated applications, Wiebe noted that the warning signal might be used to drive automatic tank switching so that water is not fed to the engine.
“We believe this technology can be integrated into aircraft systems by aircraft manufacturers to provide pilots with warnings that water is present or in route to the engine from the fuel tank. Water detection probes may be placed, for example, at low points in fuel tanks, or inline (between the fuel tank and the fuel selector or in the engine compartment).
Belite is licensing this technology to OEMs, and will also offer simple water detection probes and warning displays for experimental aircraft.
For more information: BeliteAircraft.com