Flight Training - August 2012 - 48

FLIGHT LESSON

By Larry Weldon
FLIGHT LESSON offers the opportunity for pilots to learn from the experiences of others.

WHAT DOES ‘NEVER’ MEAN TO YOU?
had a lucky successful off-field emergency landing with no damage or injury in my 1966 Cessna Skylane in a small pasture in a Pittsburgh suburb. This was after a clogged carburetor created an engine-out situation at 1,400 feet agl. I know that despite the fact that the mechanic and I drained out more than 16 gallons of fuel on board, several friends still kid me that I probably ran out of fuel because of my lifetime reputation of doing such in everything else, including cars, tractors, ATVs, snowmobiles, and dinghies.  However, even I know the extreme difference between out of gas in the air, or in a ground vehicle or water vessel.
What I did learn from that experience was that even though I did not run out of fuel, I could have because I did not “stick” the fuel tanks that day. I had “sticked” the tanks about a week earlier and had about 25 gallons, more than enough fuel for a flight to Grove City Airport and then to Beaver County Airport, a distance of approximately 60 nm. The investigating FAA officer scolded me pretty hard for just that reason: I did not know for certain that I had enough fuel for the short trip. Being parked on the ramp at an unguarded airport for a week means you’re stupid not to stick the tanks. It’s that simple. The FAA guy’s constant references to how “stupid” I was sunk in, and, while annoying, it was absolutely correct. On June 7, 2011, I flew to a Pittsburgh towered airport to watch a nephew play in an amateur golf tournament. When I left my home base on an IFR flight plan for the expected 40-minute trip, I had 60 gallons of fuel based upon my “sticking” of the tanks. It was IMC, and the trip took slightly more than an hour. At the airport they waived the $15 landing fee if you purchased at least 20 gallons of fuel, so

TO STICK OR NOT TO STICK

I

LESSONS LEARNED
Never assume when it comes to fuel; always verify—and don’t trust the gauges. Distractions and hurrying can tempt you into deviating from your preflight routine.

I purchased the 20 gallons and had that put in while I was at the tournament. The weather that afternoon was getting worse and I wanted to get home for a family event. I returned to the airport and paid for the fuel; the lineman was at the other end of the airport fueling an airplane. The only ladder available for me to check the tanks was on a fuel truck about 100 yards away.  I had checked weather, and ceilings were above 2,000 feet so I opted for VFR for the half-hour flight home. The airplane had been sitting inside a locked, fenced, towered airport for four hours with attendants and in sight of the tower operator. I did check the fuel for water with the sump drains, but I thought I could assume I had at least 40 gallons of fuel on board even if the lineman put the fuel in the wrong airplane. I felt safe not sticking the tanks this one time for two reasons: I was in a hurry, and I was too lazy to walk that far for a ladder. When I turned on the master the fuel tanks registered more than three-quarter fuel in both tanks, as I expected.  I was about to holler “Clear prop!” when it dawned on me: In almost four years I’d never started my engine without sticking the tanks.  So I turned the master off, walked to the fuel tank, and got the ladder to stick the tanks. The right tank read 30 gallons. When I climbed up to check the left tank, the cap was not screwed in. It was just sitting there loosely upright. I had walked to the back of the airplane to get a visual of the red gas caps in place, but I didn't notice that the right cap was sticking up higher than it should have been. It was set in the closed position, but was loose. It would have come completely off in the taxi to the runway. Most of the terrain between there and home was solid forest, and flying at about 1,500 feet agl could have meant I needed to be lucky once again. Sticking tanks means you’ve taken responsibility for tightening the fuel caps. I never let a fueling lineman be the last to check the fuel caps are on tight.

SARAH HANSON

48 /

FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG


http://FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

Flight Training - August 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - August 2012

Flight Training - August 2012
Contents
President’s Perspective
Right Seat
Letters
Something to See
How It Works
After the Checkride
Tech Tip
News
Final Exam
AOPA Action News
Since You Asked
Success Story News
Member Products
Training Products
ASI News
Flying Carpet
FOLLOW THE MAGENTA LINE
TIME TO CHILL
GETTING WET
TECHNIQUE
Weather
Accident Report
Flight Lesson
Perfect Storm for Pilot Shortage
Career Advisor
Tech Talk
Flight Instructors in the Hot Seat
Good Times for CFIs
Crossed Up
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - August 2012 - Flight Training - August 2012
Flight Training - August 2012 - Cover2
Flight Training - August 2012 - Contents
Flight Training - August 2012 - 2
Flight Training - August 2012 - 3
Flight Training - August 2012 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - August 2012 - 5
Flight Training - August 2012 - Right Seat
Flight Training - August 2012 - 7
Flight Training - August 2012 - Letters
Flight Training - August 2012 - 9
Flight Training - August 2012 - Something to See
Flight Training - August 2012 - 11
Flight Training - August 2012 - How It Works
Flight Training - August 2012 - After the Checkride
Flight Training - August 2012 - Tech Tip
Flight Training - August 2012 - News
Flight Training - August 2012 - Final Exam
Flight Training - August 2012 - AOPA Action News
Flight Training - August 2012 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - August 2012 - 19
Flight Training - August 2012 - Success Story News
Flight Training - August 2012 - Member Products
Flight Training - August 2012 - Training Products
Flight Training - August 2012 - ASI News
Flight Training - August 2012 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - August 2012 - 25
Flight Training - August 2012 - 26
Flight Training - August 2012 - 27
Flight Training - August 2012 - FOLLOW THE MAGENTA LINE
Flight Training - August 2012 - 29
Flight Training - August 2012 - 30
Flight Training - August 2012 - 31
Flight Training - August 2012 - 32
Flight Training - August 2012 - 33
Flight Training - August 2012 - TIME TO CHILL
Flight Training - August 2012 - 35
Flight Training - August 2012 - 36
Flight Training - August 2012 - 37
Flight Training - August 2012 - GETTING WET
Flight Training - August 2012 - 39
Flight Training - August 2012 - 40
Flight Training - August 2012 - 41
Flight Training - August 2012 - TECHNIQUE
Flight Training - August 2012 - 43
Flight Training - August 2012 - Weather
Flight Training - August 2012 - 45
Flight Training - August 2012 - 46
Flight Training - August 2012 - Accident Report
Flight Training - August 2012 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - August 2012 - Perfect Storm for Pilot Shortage
Flight Training - August 2012 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - August 2012 - 51
Flight Training - August 2012 - Tech Talk
Flight Training - August 2012 - Flight Instructors in the Hot Seat
Flight Training - August 2012 - Good Times for CFIs
Flight Training - August 2012 - Crossed Up
Flight Training - August 2012 - 56
Flight Training - August 2012 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - August 2012 - 58
Flight Training - August 2012 - 59
Flight Training - August 2012 - 60
Flight Training - August 2012 - 61
Flight Training - August 2012 - 62
Flight Training - August 2012 - 63
Flight Training - August 2012 - 64
Flight Training - August 2012 - 65
Flight Training - August 2012 - 66
Flight Training - August 2012 - 67
Flight Training - August 2012 - 68
Flight Training - August 2012 - 69
Flight Training - August 2012 - 70
Flight Training - August 2012 - 71
Flight Training - August 2012 - Debrief
Flight Training - August 2012 - Cover3
Flight Training - August 2012 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202106
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202008
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202007
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202006
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202005
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201912
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201911
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201908
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201907
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201906
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201905
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201903
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201902
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201812
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201811
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201808
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201807
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201806
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201805
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201803
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201802
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201712
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201711
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201706
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201705
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201704
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201703
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201702
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201701
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201611
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201608
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201606
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201605
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201604
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201603
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201602
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201601
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201511
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201508
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201507
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201505
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201504
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201503
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201502
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201501
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201411
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201409
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201408
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201407
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201406
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201405
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201404
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201402
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201401
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201311
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201310
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201308
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201307
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201306
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201305
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201303
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201302
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201301
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201209
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201208
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201207
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201206
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201205
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201204
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201202
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201201
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201111
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201109
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201108
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201106
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201103
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com