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Old 09-25-2009, 03:04 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by check6 View Post
"OK! Here is one! I never remember being concerned about the fuel gauge. I have over 4,000 hours flying time..."

I haven't either after 15,000+ hrs of civilian, military, and commercial flying.
That's probably because you usually glance at your fuel gauges at least once during pre-flight and/or prior to takeoff. Or do you simply 'kick the tires and light the fires'?
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Old 09-25-2009, 05:12 PM   #42
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In my 14 or so years of bouncing around in the Aleutians in various small fixed wing, and helicopters UH1H, UH1M, Jet ranger, hiller (was the only one with gas engine), bulkow, hughes 500, just to name a few, I always made sure the pilot checked the fuel and filled up. I cranked the hand fuel pump many a times from 55 gal. barrels of Jet A.

Most of the the pilots were not aware that I was checking them. Of all the charters, rentals etc. I only had one young whippersnapper hot shot pilot from Hawaii who I found way too casual of a flyboy. One trip, and he was canned by me, and I told him to get his butt back to his island before he becomes a rescue subject along with his his fare/charter. Oh, I did have a short conversation with his company's chief pilot.

Only once did we get low on fuel,that was in a Hughes 500. The result of a navigation error by the pilot, relying on a magnetic compass. We were 30 miles off course. Fortunately I recognized the island we arrived at (not the intended one) after breaking out of the fog, flying 30' altitude over open ocean. The pilot and I were grateful that we filled the tank to the top, for what was to be a short VFR trip. We ended up getting back to base LZ 30 min. past VFR. With the fuel gauge bouncing on empty and engine shutting off 40 sec. after landing, out of fuel.

All along the final ride I was mindful that a helicopter even on floats assumes stable position #2 in a very rapid fashion, even if the water landing is successful. Which is unlikely in anything less than mirror smooth seas.

Got an attaboy from the pilot for superb navigating back home. The conversation over the intercom went something along the line of:
Me: man we are low on fuel, sure we can make it back?
Pilot: I'm lost, you do the navigating, I'll worry about the fuel.
Me: OK. heading 275 magnetic to Sadler's mistake (another long story). then 295 to LZ. distance about 40 Nautical Miles.
Pilot: Hmm Ok. I'll optimize fuel flow versus speed, and remain flying.

I guess if a pilot relies on the ground crew and normally carries several hours of extra fuel, (s)he can get a bit casual.

Wonder how they pass their check rides. Anyone read Deakin's discussions on AvWeb?
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:11 AM   #43
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Looks like the Blue Angel's Fat Albert. Until it came apart at the seams. Hope the boys got out.

DAMN! When you mix Americans and airplanes (and a little bit of money), you sure get some wild stuff!
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:22 AM   #44
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I don't care how they got into the situation. The guys who flew the Gimli Glider were aces in my book. That is REAL flying.
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Old 09-26-2009, 12:24 AM   #45
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A good glide ratio is good life insurance.
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Old 09-28-2009, 03:57 PM   #46
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That's probably because you usually glance at your fuel gauges at least once during pre-flight and/or prior to takeoff.
And use a dipstick. Fuel gauges are certainly better than nothing, but can fail ... even the float-type sight gauges sometimes become stuck.
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:35 PM   #47
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Speaking of stuck fuel gauges, the F-111's fuel gauge had two pointers, one for the forward tank and one for the aft. What few, if any pilots knew, it was micro-switches within the gauge that kept the two tanks in proper balance. It stuck on one fatal day, the crew did not realize the serious situation, the aft tank was way too full and the forward tank not so. When the crew got to the landing phase and swept the wings forward, it greatly changed the cg of the aircraft, pitched the nose uncontrollable up, stalled, crew punched out, a $17 million lesson! After that, the fuel gauge got a lot more respect!
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:53 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
If a new pilot did not check the fuel, he did not do a pre-flight checkout. I am not a pilot so maybe I'm being stupid, but to me any pilot (new or not) who forgets this should not be allowed to fly ever again in his life. In the case of a student and instructor, the instructor should be the one to lose his license because he is responsible.

This is doing a favor for the pilot and might save his life in the future.

If I was the mother of that 16-year-old student, I would sue the instructor for endangering my son and scaring me to death! Neither may be against the law but I would do it anyway, and anything else I could think of to be a PITA.
Should everyone that makes a mistake driving lose their license and never be allowed to drive again? If not why not? Why is flying different than driving if it is to you?
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