Air Planes have fallen from the Y2K skys? (Bad Air plane gas in Austrailia due to Y2K?) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Oil, Oil, Oil, that seems to be where Y2K will hit first. I post this news article and I recall that a 330 aircraft carring oil workers crashed in austrailia this week with a dual engine failure, maybe due to BAD GAS, from a refinery which is having problems, maybe even problems that are due to Y2K. More research is needed. Is this a Y2K problem?,2107,500155693-500192610-500830298-0,00.html

'Dreadful gunk' in fuel grounds light aircraft in Australia

Copyright ) 2000 Nando Media Copyright ) 2000 Associated Press

From Time to Time: Nando's in-depth look at the 20th century


SYDNEY, Australia (January 17, 2000 3:19 p.m. EST - From Wagga Wagga to Wee Waa and from Rockhampton to Lightning Ridge, towns in the vast Australian Outback depend on small planes to deliver mail, dust crops, round up cattle, shuttle schoolchildren, bring in doctors and evacuate medical emergencies.

Eleven days ago, half the nation's light aircraft were grounded because of contaminated aviation fuel that thickens when it contacts copper and brass engine parts, raising the risk of clogged fuel lines and motors stalling in flight.

Nobody knows how many planes actually carry the bad fuel. The source of the contamination - Mobil Oil Australia Ltd., a subsidiary of U.S.-based Exxon Mobil Corp. - has no test to find out, and there is no known method to clean contaminated systems.

"This is a contamination crisis of a magnitude that has never been seen before anywhere in the world," said Mick Toller, safety director for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which ordered the planes grounded.

Scientists are working on a three-stage field diagnosis they hope will identify which aircraft have tainted fuel. But pending further tests, grounded planes will not be in the air before Thursday, Toller said Sunday.

The fuel contaminant affects piston-driven engines that turn propellers in aircraft ranging from single-engine Cessnas up to planes that carry a dozen or so passengers.

Bigger turboprop aircraft are not affected, so there is no disruption to major airlines. But hundreds of charter services and flight training schools have shut down. In Victoria state, wildfire-fighting crews scaled back operations, as did the national Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The air force grounded three of its 14 Caribou transport planes, including one in East Timor, where Australia is leading the peacekeeping force, until engine parts were replaced.

Just before Christmas, pilots started reporting discoloration in some fuel. The aviation authority told the pilots not to fly until they had checked and, if necessary, cleaned their fuel systems.

Then, on Jan. 7, the authority grounded all aircraft that had filled their tanks from batches of Avgas 100/130 produced at Mobil's plant in Altona, a suburb of Melbourne, from Nov. 21 to Dec. 23. The affected fuel had been distributed throughout Australia's eastern states. Scientists had found the tainted fuel could set off a chemical chain reaction, producing a viscous material that can clog fuel lines and cause motors to stall.

"What dreadful gunk," Bill Hamilton, president of the Aircraft Owners' and Pilots' Association, said as he examined the substance last week. "You wouldn't put that in your lawn mower, would you?"

Mobil says it inadvertently altered the refining cycle for Avgas 100/130 at the plant Nov. 21 and added corrosion retardants out of the proper sequence, which left traces of ethyl diamine in the finished product. The thick contaminant forms when the ethyl diamine reacts with copper and brass engine components, Mobil said.

The fuel crisis is crippling Australia's network of small airports, flight schools, charter services and bush pilots, an industry worth $330 million a year.

In hangars and on runways across eastern Australia, planes stand idle and owners are canceling orders and laying off pilots and mechanics. Operators say weekly losses are running at $8 million. Airport owners on Friday threatened legal action against Mobil to recover losses.

Besides potential compensation claims, Mobil faces a huge cleanup bill and a government investigation into the cause of two helicopter crashes during flight tests.

The federal Transport and Safety Bureau says it is looking into reports that the contamination occurred before Nov. 21 and that it contributed to the two helicopter accidents, both of which occurred before that date. The flight tests were near ground level, and no one was injured.

Mobil has said it will pay cleanup costs where contamination is found. At a meeting with pilots last Thursday, however, the company refused to discuss compensation, said Hamilton, the head of the pilots and owners group.

Acting Prime Minister John Anderson said the government would defer fees for air traffic control services and has urged banks not to foreclose on small air operators who miss loan repayments.

-- Helium (, January 17, 2000


Link to the air crash maybe from bad gas:

People die here. This is serious.

-- Helium (, January 17, 2000.

Mobil says it inadvertently altered the refining cycle for Avgas 100/130 at the plant Nov. 21 and added corrosion retardants out of the proper sequence, which left traces of ethyl diamine in the finished product. The thick contaminant forms when the ethyl diamine reacts with copper and brass engine components

This comment, along with the date of the change in the process, shows it is not Y2K. But I cannot find any evidence to show that it is not a deliberate act by Fiji to disrupt Australia's aviation industry.

-- Mavis Beatrix (maybeatr@roll.con), January 17, 2000.

to me inadvertently changing the refining cycle and adding retardants out of sequence does not say it is not y2k. depends on how all of this stuff is done, if it is somehow computer controlled in anyway there is a possibility it is related to y2k. of course it did happen before the changeover but that does not necessarily signify that it was not y2k related. does anyone know what type of process this is and if there is any computer or embedded chip input?

-- boop (, January 17, 2000.

See, I told you planes would fall from the sky!

-- Chicken Little (, January 17, 2000.


Err...the Shorts 330 crashed in Libya, not Australia. The Shorts 330 is a turbprop so this problem couldn't have affected it even if the fuel was somehow transported from Australia to Libya. There hasn't even been a preliminary investigation done yet to determine the cause. To my knowledge, there were no crashes due to this contaminated fuel. It sounds like a manuafacturing problem, at any rate, no a Y2K problem.


-- Jim Cooke (, January 18, 2000.

Hi, below is an e-mail from an earlier thread on the Libyan Crash. I have no evidence to support the theory that there is additional fuel contamination. However, one responder reported the following

Subj: Response to APstory: "Technical Fault" reported cause of Libyan Oil Worker Plane Crash that killed 17 Date: 01/14/2000 10:33:00 AM Pacific Standard Time From: To:

Earl ( responded to a message you left in the TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) bboard:

Subject: Response to APstory: "Technical Fault" reported cause of Libyan Oil Worker Plane Crash that killed 17

Most probable cause of both engines quiting at once is fuel contamination.

Link to earlier thread: 28Y2000%29

If the posterof this comment is lurking, perhaps he could enlighten us on the reason for his statement....

-- Carl Jenkins (, January 18, 2000.


The report of "both engines quiting" came from a news report. My experience is that news reports of air crashes in the hours after they occur are invariably incorrect. It's extemely unlikely that both engines would quit because of fuel contamination. If this is actually what occured, an electrical malfunction is much more likely.


-- Jim Cooke (, January 18, 2000.

Hi Jim, I agree it is premature to draw any conclusions. I only passed along the comment of one poster who suggested the failure could be a result of fuel contamination.

In light of the fuel contamination in Australia, however, it would be prudent to keep an open mind concerning the possibility of fuel contamination elsewhere in the world. For example...if...and this is pure speculation...if the Avgas problem in Australia was caused by a computer glitch which caused the wrong mixture, isn't it conceivable that a similar glitch could have occurred at one or more of Exxon's many other refineries around the world? Anyone knowledgable care to speculate?

-- Carl Jenkins (, January 18, 2000.

Jim, You may also want to look at this story from the BBC and explore the other threads below. The BBC story clearly states that fuel system failure is being investigated. What sort? No answer yet. Anyway, here's the report.

BBC Update: Fuel system failure being investigated in crash of oilworker plane that killed 22

The British experts' role is expected to focus on claims that the fuel system may have been at fault, causing both the twin-engined plane's Pratt & Whitney turbo-prop engines to fail simultaneously.

Survivors have spoken of how the Libyan crew warned passengers that both engines had failed and their only chance was to ditch in the sea.

Link to story:


Link to one of several TB 2000 thread:

-- Carl Jenkins (, January 18, 2000.


Here is a companion story from the same link titled "Shorts 360- Commuter Workhorse"

Initial reports suggest the aircraft suffered engine failure. David Learmount, operations editor of industry magazine Flight International, said there were two reasons for multiple engine failure. "One is you run out of fuel," he told BBC News 24. "The other is that there has been a maintenance error, that is that both engines have been under the same maintenance, probably routine and the same error was made on both of them."

Running out of fuel is far and way the most likely reason for two engines to quit at once. Second would be mechanical or electrical problems.

Since this is at least an expert guess (given that no knows what really happened), I think this might have more validity than other guesses.


-- Jim Cooke (, January 18, 2000.

I have flown the Shorts 330 many times, is the 360 just an upgrade to better engines and stuff like that, or is it a different airplane?

-- Helium (, January 18, 2000.


The Shorts 360 only retains about 10% commonality with the Shorts 330. The main visual difference is a single rudder on the 360 compared to dual rudders on the 330. If you've flown a lot on 330's it must have been overseas as there are almost no 330's in passenger service in the US.


-- Jim Cooke (, January 18, 2000.

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