The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has awarded a $10.2 million contract to Garco Construction Inc., of Spokane, to build a second KC-135 hydrant-based aircraft-fueling system at Fairchild Air Force Base and to expand the bases current fueling system.
Garco began working on the project this week, says Hollis Barnett, a project manager at the construction company. The overall project is expected to be completed in January of 2002.
The project involves constructing an about 5,000-square-foot pump house, installing two 420,000-gallon fuel-storage tanks, and building 20 hydrant fueling pits. A fueling pit is a trench that contains a fuel hydrant and fuel lines that connect to the systems pump house. During refueling, a KC-135 is parked in such a way that it would straddle the pit, which is lined with reinforced concrete.
In the refueling process, a steel lid that covers the hydrant would be removed, and a hose that runs from the hydrant would be connected a filter truck, which in turn is connected to the planes fuel tank. The hydrant then dispenses into the plane fuel that is pumped from the huge fuel-storage tanks.
The fuel pits allow the KC-135s to be refueled more quickly than with tanker trucks, Barnett says.
Last year, Garco completed a project that involved developing Fairchilds current hydrant fuel system. That system included eight hydrant fuel pits. As part of its current project, Garco will build an additional 10 hydrant fuel pits to that system, giving it 18 fuel pits in all.
Barnett says that Fairchild is adding the second hydrant fueling system at the base so that it can fuel a greater number of aircraft simultaneously.
The Corp of Engineers designed the hydrant fueling projects.
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