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Refuelling Empty Refuelling

Post  Nige De Soyza on 23/03/10, 03:01 pm

On the past 3 occasions when taking out a club aircraft, I have found (on first flight of the day) the fuel tanks to be 1/4 filled. I was always told by my instructor to be considerate and refill the aircraft if I was leaving it with half tanks or if it was the last flight of the day. While I believe it is good manners to leave the aircraft in the way you would wish to find it, there is a serious safety consideration; the greater the air-gap in the tank, the more likely condensation would form contributing to an engine failure if not strained away!

Can someone tell me what the Club rule is for refuelling aircraft post-flight/last flight of the day and whether consideration could be given to including such a rule?


Nige De Soyza
Nige De Soyza

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Join date : 2010-03-21

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Refuelling Empty Re: Refuelling

Post  Paul Tribble on 26/03/10, 03:44 am

Hi Nigel,

Interesting question, the answer for which varies according to which aircraft and who flies them.

Whilst it is certainly good manners to leave an aircraft in the condition you would wish to find it, from the clubs point of view how you might wish to find the aircraft may differ from the next pilot. For instance if a C152 is fuelled the previous evening and then the first lesson of the day is a stalling excercise, the aircraft will need to be de-fueled to put it back into the utility cat or flown outside of the flight envelope. Similarly with the four seat aircraft, if operating full and or with luggage, refuling the night before may put the aircraft outside of the weight and balance limitations.

It is therefor general club policy to leave the aircraft for the next pilot to decide the amount of fuel that he/she will require.
Regarding the safety aspect you mention of extra condensation on an empty tank it would definately be prudent to carefully re-check the tank for contamination after re-fueling, especially if the aircraft has been left in a low fuel state overnight.

Please note that this really only applies to club aircraft that are in frequent use, leaving an aircraft in a low fuel state for long periods of time (weeks not days) will risk problems with the aircrafts fuel system.

Hope this answers your question,

Paul :-)
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