Tired of hearing about fuel mismanagement accidents? So am I. We’re losing, on average, several aircraft every week as pilots rediscover that adequate fuel and/or proper configuration of the fuel system is not optional.
I won’t bore you with the usual rants about stupidity, forgetfulness, or wishful thinking. So what’s left to discuss? First, BRIEFLY describe a bout you had with the fuel mismanagement virus and how close to the edge you got.
My story: Years ago, returning from the upper peninsula of Michigan to Wichita Kansas in a Cessna Turbo 210, as front seat passenger, I was party to some bad decision making. My PIC boss, flight planned a non stop IFR trip with the required 45 minute reserve – barely. The weather was good VFR but the prevailing southwesterly breeze took its toll on ground speed. The DME told the tale for over an hour as we fell below the minimum required speed to make the reserve numbers work. Several stops were passed up on the way into Cessna Field in Wichita and we landed with an estimated 20 minutes of fuel remaining. The fuel gauges were abundantly clear that this was dumb. Neither one of us hung around for the fuel truck driver to tell us how close we’d come to explaining to Cessna’s chief pilot why we’d forced landed a brand new Centurion next to the little house on the prairie.
Secondly, how should Air Safety Foundation raise the awareness for all pilots on this most basic and yet one of the most prevalent accident or incident causes? The folks who are running out of gas don’t come to ASF seminars or visit our website so to make a dent, we need to go well beyond the “choir.”
Here are some resources that might be helpful but we need distribution beyond the routine channels.
Two fuel Pilot Safety Announcements were developed last fall and we’ve been showing them at seminars – click on the links to see and to forward.
ASF is promoting the “Golden Hour” of reserve. Had that advice been followed in 2006, we’d have 86 more aircraft that would have arrived uneventfully with no injuries or fatalities to pilots and passengers.
Fuel may be expensive but it’s dirt cheap compared to wrecking airplanes. Your thoughts are welcomed.