Chadd Padd
Aviation Recreation

The Chadd Padd® was originally developed for linemen, by linemen for use within the aviation industry; specifically for over-wing fueling. Its inventor, Chadd Collins (an instrument pilot and ten year, former lineman, General Manager, & VP of an FBO), grew tired of seeing the industry standard “rubber mat” used to protect planes when fueling since most of the time the mat was greasy and/or dirty from prior usage and often did more harm than good when used – if used. Some pilots have become aware of this unfortunate fact and no longer require the use of fueling mats while others prevent it. Some pilots feel their quest to protect their aircraft’s surface from damage is almost a catch-22; either they take their chances with the lineman, the nozzle, and fuel cap without the use of a mat or gamble with using a mat and hope that the particular FBO’s mats are clean and that no dirt or nozzle marks will leave their impression on the paint - neither situation is ideal unless a Chadd Padd® is used.


An average rubber fuel mat – notice how the spill pads are kept behind the mats in the same compartment. Why buy both when all you need is 1?

“The mindset of not using rubber mats as explained above is similar to the “do not clean windshield” signs we see in the dash of cockpits – pilots would rather have a dirty windshield than a clean but scratched one,” says Collins. “Hardly anyone cleans their mats. Most mats are kept on a rack or in a cargo locker on the outside of fuel trucks. When the trucks drive around the ramp (even at 10 mph) a low pressure is created in these areas. When a rubber mat is placed here (especially damp with a little fuel), they become a magnet for dust, dirt, and ramp grit - similar to salting the rim of a margarita glass. Furthermore, I’ve seen fuel mats (at several FBOs) get thrown on the ground, fall off of fuel trucks, get run over by other ramp equipment, get sprayed by mowers with lawn clippings when the trucks are parked and then, [we] as a line service are suppose to lay them on an aircraft wing for protection – it just doesn’t make sense.”

An example of an average cargo locker on a fuel truck

The actual use of rubber mats during refueling operations has been on the decline for some time now. FBOs still buy them and sometimes use them as outlined above but for the most part, having them is more of a formality to be compliant or prepared should someone request their use verses them actually being used every time. Many linemen feel they can just be real careful when fueling and do the customer a better service by not using a mat at all. While this may be true some of the time, it’s more of an issue of “not if, but when” damage will occur as no one is perfect and accidents will happen. The “use nothing” method also lends no response should there be a spill or an overage. This is why the Chadd Padd® is so important to the industry and such a necessity – it addresses both of these issues (scratch & spill) simultaneously for a near perfect fuel-up, every time!


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