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Fuel Management. Simon Stuart. Squadron 80. San Jose, CA. Video. Would you fly this airline?. Courtesy AOPA. 2. Fuel Starvation & Exhaustion. “ Engine Failure: A condition which occurs when all fuel tanks mysteriously become filled with air.“. Fuel Starvation

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Fuel management l.jpg

Fuel Management

Simon Stuart

Squadron 80

San Jose, CA


Video l.jpg
Video

Would you fly this airline?

Courtesy AOPA

2


Fuel starvation exhaustion l.jpg
Fuel Starvation & Exhaustion

“Engine Failure: A condition which occurs when all

fuel tanks mysteriously become filled with air.“

  • Fuel Starvation

  • Engine cannot get available fuel

    • Selected tank runs dry

    • Contaminant blockage

    • Pump failure (Esp. low wing aircraft)

  • Forced landing inevitable unless prompt action taken.

  • Usually pilot error

  • Fuel Exhaustion

  • All tanks “dry”

  • Forced landing inevitable

  • Almost always pilot error

3


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Do pilots just “Forget”?

  • Sometimes, but frequently the cause is:

  • An error in preflight planning

  • Lack of enroute monitoring

  • Too hurried to divert and refuel

  • No pilot departs anticipating an accident.

4


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Invulnerable Attitudes

“Range: Usually about 10 miles beyond

the point where all fuel tanks fill with air.”

“It won’t happen to me.”

“That gauge can’t be right.”

“This isn’t happening!”

5


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Three Accidents per Week…

  • Most do not show up as NTSB reports

  • Databases:

    • NTSB: http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/query.asp

    • FAA Accident / Incident Data System (AIDS): http://www.asias.faa.gov/

    • AOPA Fuel management Mishap Map: http://www.aopa.org/asf/ntsb/fuelmap.cfm

    • NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS): http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/

6


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NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System

“If the pilot survives the accident, you'll

never find out what really happened.”

— Doug Jeanes

  • The ASRS: First hand pilot accounts

  • Different from NTSB reports

  • Learn from the mistakes of others

  • http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/

    • Report Sets: http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/search/reportsets.html

    • Fuel Reports: http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/docs/rpsts/fuel.pdf

  • Example: ACN: 849661. “A CL65 Captain laments the low fuel loads that are routinely being used by dispatchers at his airline”. Assessment: Primary Problem: Company Policy

7


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Determining Fuel Levels

  • Traditional dipstick method

  • Analog fuel gauges

    • Only required to be accurate when empty

  • Digital fuel gauges

  • Fuel totalizers

    • Accurate to 1/10th gallon

    • Depends upon pilot setting after adding fuel

  • Glass Cockpit (e.g. G1000) Features

    • Range rings

    • Annunciations

8


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“Know Thy Airplane”

  • “Many pilots run afoul of fuel management when switching

  • between aircraft with different fuel systems.”

  • Citabria 7ECA. High wing. Gravity fed. Off/On selector. No fuel pump

  • Cessna 182T. 13 sumps. 3 ways of confirming fuel levels during preflight. Totalizer accuracy

  • Bonanza 35. Many variations and some complex fuel systems. Up to 5 tanks. Left tank venting on some models

    • CG moves rearward. Possible landing out of CG envelope

    • Low fuel takeoff limits, 6g unusable

9


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How Much Fuel Do You Need?

  • FAA Regulations

    • General (Part 91). E.g. “Going up in Uncle Bob’s plane”

    • Commuter & On Demand (Part 135). E.g. “Aspen Air Charter”

    • Scheduled Air Carrier (Part 121). E.g. “United Airlines”

  • Non-FAA Overlays

    • Airline Policy

    • Civil Air Patrol Requirements. E.g. “1 hour left? Land and refuel.”

  • FAA Factors Influencing Reserves

    • Day, Night, VFR, IFR, Alternates

  • Other Factors To Consider

    • Mountains, Water, Icing, Altitude, Headwinds, Traffic

  • Personal Minimums

    • Arguably the most important

    • Developed from experience

    • Create a “Risk Profile” for the flight

10


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Can You Carry Too Much Fuel?

"The only time an aircraft has too much

fuel on board is when it is on fire.”

— Sir Charles Kingsford Smith

  • well, not always…

  • Additional fuel affects TAS only marginally.

    • Increasing weight 440lbs to MGTW in a Mooney 201 reduces cruise speed by around 5 knots (3%).

  • Additional fuel affects takeoff distances and rate of climb significantly.

    • A Cessna 182T departing Tahoe at 65F at MGTW vs. 400lbs lighter will require an additional 1500’ to get to 50’ AGL.

    • The ROC on a Mooney 201 would decrease by 50%.

11


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AOPA Recommendations

  • Flight Planning

    • Know your airplane

    • Give yourself an hour's reserve

    • Be realistic with routing

    • Check fuel availability

    • Remember aircraft performance

    • Note color and smell

    • Let water settle

    • Sump early, sump often

    • Dispose of fuel properly

    • Check for leaks

    • Verify quantity

  • In Flight

    • Check groundspeed

    • Lean and mean

    • Switch tanks regularly

    • Be prepared to divert

    • Tell ATC

http://www.aopa.org/asf/hotspot/fuel_check.html

12


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Personal Experiences

  • Rapidly venting fuel. Palo Alto. Citabria.

  • Inaccurate gauge readings near the end of a 500nm cross country. San Jose. Cessna 182.

  • Broken gauge resulting in fuel starvation on final. Reid-Hillview. Cessna 172.

  • Over a quart of rainwater in a tank after a heavy overnight downpour. Oceanside. Bonanza P35.

  • High fuel burn due to low altitude plus headwinds resulting in diversion. Los Banos. Cessna 170.

    Fortunately, all these situations ended with uneventful non- emergency landings. But they can happen to anyone.

13


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Notable Fuel Related Accidents

  • Airlines

  • United 173. DC-8. Portland

  • Tuninter 1153. ATR-72. Tunisia

  • Charter

  • Pel-Air. Westwind. Norfolk Island

  • Bay Area Aircraft

  • N1857H. PA-28. Firebaugh

  • N2805E. Aeronca 7BC. Half Moon Bay

  • N9547D. PA-22. San Jose RHV

  • N5479A. C210. San Jose RHV

  • Other

  • N7589S. Cessna 182. Texas

  • Amelia Earhart

14


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Case Study: N16EJ

  • May 2000, Pennsylvania

  • Two Professional Pilots. Captain 8,500 hours TT

  • British Aerospace Jetstream 3101

  • PIC fails to check fuel prior to departure

  • Fuel exhaustion after cleared for the approach in IMC

  • 19 Fatalities

15


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Other Suggestions

  • Special diligence required for expected IMC at the destination airport, especially with alternates.

  • Resist passenger pressure – get-there-itis.

  • CAP Aircrew: Check the gauges yourself. Prior to departure, politely ask the Mission Pilot key questions. Expect concise answers. It keeps professionalism high.

  • Sump carefully. Wait for additional fuel to settle. Failure to do so could easily result in a fatal situation on takeoff.

16


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Additional Insight

  • AOPA Fuel Safety Advisor

    • http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/sa16.pdf

  • AOPA Fuel Safety Brief

    • http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/SB04.pdf

  • Pelican’s Perch #7

    • http://www.warmkessel.com/jr/flying/td/jd/7.jsp

17


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Summary

When it comes to fuel,

“Getting it wrong”

has consequences ranging

from embarrassing to fatal.

Be methodical. Remain aware.

Land if uncertain.

18