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Shop Talk

October 2018 Issue

Plane and Simple

Filling without spilling.

You may have seen this device on vendor tables at the big airshow conventions. You may have even seen it at your local auto parts store. At first glance it could be mistaken for a gimmick that rarely gets used. But in case you are not familiar with the function and benefit of this little invention, I am going to describe how it is a must-have for many aircraft owners and pilots—particularly for high-wing aircraft.

The copper “pump” fitting is submerged into the container and shaken to fill the tube.

High-wing aircraft that use auto gas usually require the likes of several 5-gallon containers for the fueling process between the gas station and wing tanks. For many of us, lifting a 30-pound container up a small ladder to the top of the wing is the easier half of a fueling process. Tipping it carefully and holding it in place for a couple minutes as you pour a controlled stream while on that ladder (without spilling a drop) is the less desirable second half. And this process has to be repeated several times until all containers are emptied. Rags are needed for the inevitable cleanup after each pour.

A clear tube lets you witness the start of the flow.

True, this gadget is not much more than a siphon hose—but with an important twist. It is sold under several names such as: Super Jiggler siphon hose (look for any combination of the words shaker, jiggler, and siphon somewhere in the name). The key to this product is not the hose; in fact, the device can be purchased without a hose. Rather, it is the copper-colored “pump” fitting that goes on one end of the hose. When this fitting is submerged in a fluid and then shaken vigorously for several seconds, it pumps the hose full of the fluid. With a full hose, you are primed for a siphon transfer from a high to lower point. It is the simplicity and speed of starting a siphon that makes this so convenient.

I can empty a full 5-gallon can into a wing tank by simply placing the container next to the fueling port and placing the ends of the jiggler hose into each opening. The copper pump fitting goes into the gas container, and the other end into the wing. With 5 seconds of vigorous jiggling, the fuel flow starts, and the entire 5 gallons is transferred in less than 3 minutes. Not a drop is spilled. Those 3 minutes can be spent doing other tasks preparing the aircraft for flight.

You can walk away, and 3 minutes later the job will be complete.

The amount of time and effort spent wrestling with heavy containers during high-wing fueling has been reduced substantially, and even more time is saved from the lack of cleanup. I have replaced my original hose for one with a thicker wall and trimmed the length to my liking, making the fueling effort even easier. Low-wing aircraft will gain the same benefit during fueling, less the need for a ladder. About an inch of gas is left in the container after the flow ceases. I think this is a bonus because any heavy foreign particles in the container will typically be left behind (compared to pouring everything into the wing). This is one gadget you can get everywhere (Amazon has several brands), and not only does it really work, it saves time, reduces container lifting, and prevents those nasty gas stains from occurring due to fuel missing the hole.

As the founder of, Jon Croke has produced instructional videos for Experimental aircraft builders for over 10 years. He has built (and helped others build) over a dozen kit aircraft of all makes and models. Jon is a private pilot and currently owns and flies a Zenith Cruzer.

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