Despite our disdain for the humble fuel gauges on aircraft they tend to be pretty accurate toward “empty”. Measuring time in your tank rather than distance and allowing the ASF golden hour of reserve will pretty much guarantee that you won’t fall victim to this foolishness.
There is good news, however. Several years ago ASF embarked on a fuel awareness campaign in several venues including a live seminar, a Safety Advisor Fuel Awareness and our acclaimed Pilot Safety Announcements (PSAs) that have been widely distributed. To date,there have been over 41,000 views but that’s still only 10% of AOPA’s membership – please send the links to a friend.
When we created the PSAs, three accidents a week were occurring. As of last year, we are now down to 1.7 per week, a 42% decrease. Are there other factors? Absolutely! The Technologically Advanced Aircraft do a great job of reminding pilots, not too subtly sometimes, that they’re about to do something really stupid. This may be a range ring on an MFD, a flashing annunciator or perhaps a datalink message to your insurance company (just kidding on that last one). Flying hours also play a significant part, so it’s not time to declare victory yet.
Despite the success, 2007 still had 90 fuel mismanagement accidents and I know we can do better. Look for a new effort next spring as ASF calls on you to help us further reduce this most unnecessary of accidents.