An important characteristic of jets is their high rate of fuel consumption, especially at low
altitudes and while operating on the ground.
Jet Fuel Consumption
Ideally, jets should be off the ground as soon as possible after engine startup, especially
fighters. Fighter jets normally have a short-range capability that could hamper their
missions when coupled with an air traffic control delay.
The fuel consumption rate of jets varies, but the following rule of thumb is suggested as
a guideline: a typical jet fighter uses fuel at approximately 100 pounds per minute (133.5
pounds equals 20 gallons). Fighter pilots prefer to remain at high altitudes as long as
possible, since the fuel consumption rate is greater at low altitudes and fighters often
have little fuel left on arrival at their destination. As a controller, you must anticipate
such action and plan your activities to prevent undue delays in handling jet traffic.
Also, local directives may give jets priority over conventional aircraft except in
emergencies. Therefore, your job is to adhere to established base traffic priority
procedures as closely as possible and to help a jet conserve fuel by not unduly delaying
its operation. If delay is unavoidable, promptly advise the pilot of the situation.
Occasionally, you may hear a pilot declare "minimum fuel." "Minimum fuel" indicates
that the aircraft's fuel supply has reached the state where the pilot can accept little or no
delay upon reaching the destination. It is not necessary that you discontinue other
approaches or landings and give "minimum fuel" aircraft priority, but you should give
"minimum fuel" aircraft preference if you have or anticipate a traffic conflict. Always
relay "minimum fuel" information to the controller to whom control jurisdiction is
transferred, if applicable.
Do not confuse a "minimum fuel" report with a "low or emergency fuel" report. A "low or
emergency fuel" report is an emergency and should be given priority. When the
remaining usable fuel supply is so low that traffic priority is needed to ensure the
aircraft's safe landing, the pilot should declare an emergency with ATC and should
report in minutes the amount of fuel remaining. Always relay "low or emergency fuel"
information to the controller to who control jurisdiction is transferred, if applicable.
SELECTED NAVY AIRCRAFT
The remainder of this chapter deals with Navy aircraft. The selected aircraft are the
majority of the aircraft you will come in contact with; however, it is not all inclusive. This
brief overview will help familiarize you with many of the aircraft with which you will be