Aeromedical services supplier Ambulance by Air Trek is seeking monetary damages for the loss of two Cessna Citation jets due to fuel contamination by diesel exhaust fluid (DEF).
The contamination caused both Cessna Citation 550s to lose power in their engines in May, although the pilots were able to land safely and no injuries were sustained in either incident.
The air ambulance provider, a subsidiary of air charter company Air trek, is set to file a lawsuit against Florida’s Punta Gorda Airport for compensation, as the jets suffered irreparable damage in both cases.
The aircraft were both fuelled at the airport’s fixed-based operator (FBO), with a spokeswoman saying: “The incident was isolated to the operations of one fuel truck, but the fuel itself on the truck had not been (and is not) contaminated. However, the icing-inhibitor injective additive appears to have been cross-contaminated with DEF.”
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report on the incidents which stated that an FBO lineman had admitted to accidentally mixing fuel system icing inhibitor (FSII) with a container of DEF.
DEF is indistinguishable from the FSII that engines require to prevent fuel icing at high altitudes, but if mixed with jet fuel it forms crystals which build up and can cause disastrous clogs throughout the fuel system.