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The Pegasus Fuel Line

The Pegasus fuel line is a fuel hose that runs from Scott Base over the Ross Ice Shelf to the Pegasus Airfield.  A system of piping and valves connects the fuel tanks at McMurdo Station to a pipeline that runs along the road about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) to Scott Base. At the transition from land to the Ross Ice Shelf at Scott Base, the pipeline connects to the fuel hose which carries fuel to the airfield. The hose is similar to large diameter hose (LDH) used in firefighting. While many fire departments use 5″ diameter LDH, the fuel line here is 6″ in diameter.

Pipeline to Scott Base.

Pipeline to Scott Base.

Hose Reel.

Hose Reel.

Keepin' it reel.

Keepin' it reel.

The fuel hose runs thirteen miles over the Ross Ice Shelf to the airfield.

Pegasus fuel line. (photo credit to Pegasus line crew)

Pegasus fuel line (photo thanks to Pegasus line crew).

Flow control valve (photo thanks to Pegasus line crew).

Flow control valve (photo thanks to Pegasus line crew).

Booster pump (photo thanks to Pegasus line crew).

Booster pump (photo thanks to Pegasus line crew).

Hose reels (photo thanks to Pegasus line crew).

Hose reels (photo thanks to Pegasus line crew).

Hose reel (photo thanks to Pegasus line crew).

Hose reel (photo thanks to Pegasus line crew).

At the airfield, the fuel is stored in fuel tanks.

Pegasus Airfield fuel tanks. (Photographer unknown)

Pegasus Airfield fuel tanks (photographer unknown).

I was told there would be no math…

Thirteen miles of 6-inch diameter hose is a long stretch. For those who wonder about such matters, by my reasoning there are over 100,000 gallons of fuel in the line at a given time.

Here’s the math I used. It’s been a long time, so if it’s incorrect let me know.

To figure volume in a cylinder, the formula is V=πr²h where V is volume, r is the radius of the cylinder (3 inches here) and h is the height of the cylinder (or in this case the length of the hose). Thirteen miles is 68640 feet (5280 feet in a mile), or 823680 inches. One cubic inch = 0.0043290043 gallon.

So after all the math, that’s 23289003.305568 cubic inches, or roughly 100,818.196 gallons.

7 comments to The Pegasus Fuel Line

  • Chuck Pisano

    Boy, Jack Alderton would love to have those to move around Morris County! ;-)

    Do you get a chance to watch the air operations at Pegasus? I would imagine its no different than when they land on the sea ice in the winter months. Once again another very informative set of pictures. Keep up the good work Scott.

  • Matt V

    Scott…..I checked your math. You forgot to carry the 2.

  • Kessel Ellison

    What happens when one of those hoses springs a leak? I sure hope there’s Nosmo King.

  • Doug G

    Now what is the friction loss of the fuel in 68,640 feet of 6 inch hose?

  • Scott

    @ Kristen: The fuel line is regularly checked by the Fuels Department (Fuelies). There are spill teams on call 24/7 for any hazardous spills.

    @ Doug G: Jet fuel is more slippery than water. I’d therefore imagine the friction loss is less than what it would be with water. I could be wrong.

  • David

    Do you know the equipment manufacturer? Who made the reels and the equipment for deployment? Do you have photos of rolling the hose back onto the reels?

    Thanks,

    David

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