Training: Eliminating Fuel Errors
are three basic principles of proper fuel management. The first is knowing
the aircraft fuel system; second is preflight planning; third is monitoring
of actual fuel consumption. Pilots who miss the basics may not make
it all the way home.
of Dreams: If You Plow It, They Will Come
including fuel quantity in a periodic scan of the aircraft instruments,
an abnormal trend in fuel consumption can be noted and range calculations
adjusted accordingly. This pilot did not recognize the signs, tried
to change the game plan, and wound up out in left field.
Given the burn
rate experienced during the first hour of flight, two hours and thirty
minutes would have been a reasonable estimate for planning the off-airport
Is Like Déjà vu...
When the actual
fuel burn differs from the planned burn rate, range and endurance estimates
must be revised accordingly. In this report, another pilot didn't have
enough fuel to make it over the fence.
- Fuel planning
indicated that we should have had one hour and 15 minutes fuel remaining
at the time of the loss of power. The calculated fuel burn was 8.5
gallons per hour. We had departed with full tanks, but had to make
an emergency landing in a field due to fuel starvation after three
hours and 15 minutes. That gives a consumption rate of 12 gallons
per hour. I suspect a fuel leak.... There were no injuries and no
All Over Again"
The pilot who
submitted this report lost his cap and then joined the rest of the team...
out in the field.
- The engines
started to sputter. The emergency procedure for fuel exhaustion was
performed, but it did not help the situation. Ilanded safely on a
500 foot cow pasture. I noticed that the fuel cap was not attached.
I had done a thorough preflight...and the fuel was topped off. After
departure, I noticed the fuel gauge reading 80 gallons. About 20 minutes
later it read 50 gallons. I monitored the fuel gauge and noticed it
stabilized at 50 gallons. I...determined I had enough fuel to reach
my destination. Five minutes later the engines stopped. In flight,
I am unable to see the fuel cap.
on a Good Hop
In this report,
engine overhaul was once again a factor in a fuel starvation incident.
A lucky bounce in the infield saved the day.
- My engine
lost power [when] I was about three miles from the end of the runway
in a descent... The apparent reason for the engine failure was a lack
of fuel in the left tank.... The engine fired up after a touchdown
bump in the field before the runway that permitted a normal landing....
A recent overhaul reduced the time on each tank from 2.5 hours to
2.0 hours. I was aware of this and...since the flight from ZZZ took
three hours, there would have been an hour left in the right tank.
Having not completed my landing check because of the problem, I did
not know that. The solution is to start landing checks earlier, probably
burn rate, and tank selection should be monitored closely throughout
the entire flight.
happen, even in the majors. A few change-ups disrupted this B757 crew's
attention to fuel monitoring.
to an Airworthiness Directive (AD), 1,000 pounds was the minimum fuel
total in the center tank. The tank, which had been filled to 5,500
pounds, was used down to zero due to a diversion of attention during
climb and cruise. There were numerous changes in altitude and speed
as a result of moderate turbulence. Too many distractions involving
flying the aircraft through the turbulence diverted our attention
from this supplemental procedure.
in the Bleachers
As if they didn't
have enough to do keeping the passengers contented, safe and secure,
the Cabin Attendants on this flight also discovered an unusual fuel
- The First
Class Flight Attendant advised of a gasoline type odor coming from
the forward lavatory...[then] three flight attendants called from
the rear galley [to report] a strong gasoline type smell from the
aft lavatories. Not knowing what we had...we took the necessary precautions
anyway.... [The associated] circuit breakers were pulled and the lavatories
were locked.... Operations advised that it was, in fact, 100LL Avgas
(not the type of "blue fluid" we were expecting in the lavatories).
Dispatch advised [us] to divert to the nearest field immediately....
According to maintenance, the lavatory truck had been topped off with
blue fluid earlier that day. However, the blue fluid was 100LL Avgas,
not lavatory fluid. We were the 13th aircraft to be serviced from
that truck. The first 12 received pure lavatory fluid because the
Avgas, rose to the top. Since the truck's pumps suck from the bottom,
they were not affected. We weren't so lucky. Our forward lavatory
received a mixture of lavatory fluid and Avgas, but the aft lavatories
got all Avgas.... It is not certain, but is felt that the truck driver
loaded Avgas because it is blue. Then, realizing the mistake, filled
the truck with blue lavatory fluid....
the Broadcaster's Booth
The controller who submitted
this report to ASRS got behind the count and learned that some situations
require help from the bench.
- A jet
departed while a Cub was in the pattern doing touch
and goes. The
developed an emergency and.... I vectored it back to the airport....
I sequenced the Cub...to follow the jet. When the jet rolled past
Taxiway Yankee, I put a Cardinal
into position... The last time I saw the Cub he...was doing a 360
turn] to allow the jet to land. I was distracted watching for the
jet to clear. When I turned around to check for the Cub and to clear
the Cardinal for takeoff, I spotted the Cub about to touchdown. I
a go around because
I felt it would have been more dangerous than allowing the Cub to
The Cub stopped over 100 feet behind the Cardinal, then cleared the
The Cub pilot said he saw the Cardinal sitting on the runway, but
knew he could land and stop soon enough. In hindsight, I would not
have put the Cardinal into position at the intersection after the
jet landed... Also, I should have instructed the Cub to continue doing
360's on the downwind until this situation
with the jet ended. Valuable lessons were learned. Don't try to do
too many things while an emergency can distract your attention from
the operation. Also, I should have requested assistance from
other controllers [who were] on break. More eyes and ears help keep
A loyal fan
submitted this report to ASRS when he noticed a disorienting change
in the Callback layout.
- I would
like to relate a scary experience with an aeromedical problem known
as "pagination vertigo." I have been a Callback
reader since the beginning. Like thousands of other pilots, I have
gotten used to seeing the latest issue tacked up on the airport bulletin
board. After reading the first page, you simply pull up a bottom corner
and read the backside. It has always been that way. Like pushing the
left rudder pedal and the plane goes left. You could count on it.
Then the December 2002 Issue arrived. Luckily, I was sitting at my
desk when I opened it. I read the first page, grasped the lower right
corner, and pulled it up. An intense case of vertigo swept over me
as the text appeared upside down! Fortunately, I was able to avert
my gaze and avoid a fall to the floor from three feet AGL. A standby
attitude indicator would have helped.
Replacement of a faulty gyro
at the printer has corrected the back page unusual attitude problem.
Recently Issued Alerts On...
407 rotor mast crack
tail vibration incident
unlatched engine cowlings
turbulence incident at a southern airport
signage confusion at an eastern airport
2003 Report Intake
Carrier/Air Taxi Pilots