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RotaryWingBob
March 21st, 2005, 03:28 PM
See:

http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief2.asp?ev_id=20001212X22299&ntsbno=LAX01LA033&akey=1

I don't make a habit of commenting on accidents, but this one strikes me as so dumb that I wonder if I'm missing something.

Basically the PIC of a Cherokee 140, in the middle of an ILS approach tried to switch fuel tanks and managed to move the fuel selector to off.

Which raises some questions...

1. Why would anybody want to switch tanks in the middle of an instrument approach?

2. Why didn't the pilot familiarize himself with something as important as the fuel selector?

3. Why didn't he glance down at the selector before turning it?

4. How did he manage to switch the selector off without pressing the release button which (AFIK) all PA28's have?

5. Why was he unable to switch back to the left tank, since that doesn't require the release button to be pressed?

Tom-D
March 21st, 2005, 03:36 PM
crainalrectitis

Greebo
March 21st, 2005, 03:40 PM
1. Why would anybody want to switch tanks in the middle of an instrument approach?
GUMPS
G - Gas - on Fullest Tank (or in most Cessna's, on Both)

As to the rest? Dunno...

Skip Miller
March 21st, 2005, 04:43 PM
I don't make a habit of commenting on accidents, but this one strikes me as so dumb that I wonder if I'm missing something.

Basically the PIC of a Cherokee 140, in the middle of an ILS approach tried to switch fuel tanks and managed to move the fuel selector to off.

Which raises some questions...

1. Why would anybody want to switch tanks in the middle of an instrument approach?

>>>>GUMPS, realized he hadn't switched tanks yet.

2. Why didn't the pilot familiarize himself with something as important as the fuel selector?

>>>>Unknown

3. Why didn't he glance down at the selector before turning it?

>>>>Moving the head in IMC can induce vertigo.

4. How did he manage to switch the selector off without pressing the release button which (AFIK) all PA28's have?

>>>>Unknown. Maybe it was stuck in the "in" position. Another thing to add to my preflight check list.

5. Why was he unable to switch back to the left tank, since that doesn't require the release button to be pressed?

>>>>Silence induced Panic.

These are all just guesses, but I think they are reasonable ones....

-Skip

spiderweb
March 21st, 2005, 04:56 PM
GUMPS
G - Gas - on Fullest Tank (or in most Cessna's, on Both)

As to the rest? Dunno...

Reading the report, it isn't clear if the guy was inside the FAF or not. Our SOP is to have the prelanding checklist complete before the FAF, with the exception of gear and flaps (which helps you down). My feeling is that if he was past the FAF, he ought to have just left the tanks as they were, but outside, he was OK to switch. I'm not sure why he didn't try switching it back.

The other option is to switch tanks sometime before, as in when over the airport if flying outbound on a PT from an on-field VOR, or when over a nearby airport. You can glide if you lose power, and the other pilot can troubleshoot.

bbchien
March 21st, 2005, 04:59 PM
We switch tanks for the last time just as we're cleared out of our cruise alititude. If there is so little fuel that I need to switch one more time, I've committed a judgement error and have extended the flight too far. You want to be able to say, "well, it's running isn't it?" and just leave it alone when one doesn't have the cushion of thousands of feet below....

Dave Siciliano
March 21st, 2005, 08:42 PM
I actually plan an instrument flight in IMC conditions so the FAATS (Fuel is the first F)is complete 50 to 75 miles out. If there is a problem, I have enough altitude to accomplish basic trouble shooting. I don't look at the fuel tank indicators in the two birds I fly; just know by rote where they are to be switched to. When switching tanks, I monitor the fuel flow gauge for 4 or 5 seconds with my hand ready to put the boost pump on if the engine stumbles.
On long flights when I am sure fuel will be at minimums, I burn a tank dry (or until the fuel gauge is where I know it's empty backed up by computations of burn enroute. There is only fuel left in one tank; no changing of one's mind in conditions such as these is possible--it's only in one place!!

Best,

Dave
A-36TN ADS

jkaduk
March 21st, 2005, 09:26 PM
It happens.
http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20010214X00450&key=1

EdFred
March 22nd, 2005, 12:47 AM
4. How did he manage to switch the selector off without pressing the release button which (AFIK) all PA28's have?

What release button? Mine, nor any of the other PA-28's I've flown have a release button.

RotaryWingBob
March 22nd, 2005, 08:32 AM
What release button? Mine, nor any of the other PA-28's I've flown have a release button.

There's a button above the selector that has to be pressed in before the selector will rotate to the off position. You can switch it from off to left or left to right without pushing it.

From the PA28-181 POH:

"The fuel selector control (Figure 7-7) is located on the left side-panel, forward opf the pilot's seat. The button on the selector cover must be depressed and held while the handle is moved to the OFF position."

Greebo
March 22nd, 2005, 09:31 AM
FAATS (Fuel is the first F)
New acronym - please define?

MSmith
March 22nd, 2005, 09:44 AM
Not all PA28's have the fuel selector button - it was added later as a safety measure.

Anthony
March 22nd, 2005, 10:11 AM
Not all PA28's have the fuel selector button - it was added later as a safety measure.

That's very true. Here's a lesson for those filling up the experience bucket before the luck bucket runs out. Years, ago in a 1965 Cherokee 180, that I had just been checked out in:

I switched tanks prior to start-up. The fuel selector markings were old and worn. I thought I had put the switch exactly on the proper spot (L or R, I don't remember which). I had plenty of time to do this as I was on the ground with the engine stopped. No pressure at all. I did my run-up which is always thorough and the engine started, ran for a while then died. Some guy in another plane on the ground keyed his mike, and laughed at me for pulling the mixture instead of the carb heat. I had done neither. What I had done was not put the fuel selector switch in the exact correct position to allow fuel flow. If I had not done a proper run-up, I would have had an engine failure on take-off.

People (mostly non-pilots) ask me what my closest call in an airplane was and I just have to laugh, because this was it, but nobody will pay attention to the story long enough and its not very exciting. Scared the hell out of me. Later when I bought my own Cherokee 140, I made double sure the fuel was on either L or R exactly. These full switches are also in an odd place where you have to crane your head and/or bend down to switch them. Sometimes you can't really feel them go into the proper position. They are also a potential IMC, vertigo nightmare waiting to happen.

I like the position and design of the Tiger's fuel selector A LOT BETTER.

RotaryWingBob
March 22nd, 2005, 05:43 PM
Not all PA28's have the fuel selector button - it was added later as a safety measure.

I didn't know that. Or maybe I did -- I'm not sure a PA28-180 I used to occasionally fly had one. But... the NTSB report states that the button on the accident aircraft was operational.

MSmith
March 22nd, 2005, 05:45 PM
I suspect you mean 5148S - I'm a member at Kenmarson now. I don't think it has the button. I didn't think the club's Warriors do either, except maybe the newer one that you've probably never seen.

Dave Siciliano
March 22nd, 2005, 06:08 PM
New acronym - please define?

K.

At Recurrent Training Center couple years ago, they taught a check as one approached the airport environment--generally far enough out to get everything set up before beginning the approach. For me, about 50 miles out seems to work well.

Fuel
Selector in Detent; on fullest tank; Boost pump as required

Altimeter
Altimeter set (ATIS/AWOS); weather received.

Approach
Approach reviewed: MSA; Altitudes; Course; FAF; MAP; DH; or MDA; missed

Tune
Tune and identify navaids; set annunciator; marker beacon; GPS

Special
Safety or special items to check such as alternate; hold; STAR if not already on one.

I use this without fail when IMC approaching the airport environment.


Dave;)
A-36TN ADS

RotaryWingBob
April 4th, 2005, 01:29 PM
I suspect you mean 5148S - I'm a member at Kenmarson now. I don't think it has the button. I didn't think the club's Warriors do either, except maybe the newer one that you've probably never seen.

5148S and 6639J (which I think got sold). It's been a long time since I flew one of those Warriors, so I really can't say. I'm pretty sure 8126X, which was my favorite Cherokee (Archer II) there had the button.

Still, the point made in the NTSB report was that the aircraft had the button and that it functioned properly. I still stand by my point that it's pretty lame to fly an aircraft without being familiar with the fuel system.

Check out Crew Dawg aviation there in the FBO building at VAY. The owners are friends of mine, and they're trying to put together a class for instruction and rentals!

MSmith
April 4th, 2005, 01:46 PM
What is Crew Dawg aviation? Kenmarson is currently running as "Crew Dawg Aviation, t/a Kenmarson Aero Club"?

RotaryWingBob
April 4th, 2005, 02:24 PM
What is Crew Dawg aviation? Kenmarson is currently running as "Crew Dawg Aviation, t/a Kenmarson Aero Club"?

The name Crew Dawg, AFIK, belongs to Bob Cameron. When he and Frank took over from Ken, they used the Crew Dawg name. Around the first of the year, Bob and Carl Bubnoski split off and started what is now Crew Dawg Aviation. Carl runs the flight instruction end and Bob runs the maintenance end (in addition to Bob, there's at least one other A&P/IA). For my money, Carl and Roland Arthur (who is an independent CFI) are the two best instructors at VAY.

When you're 61 the memory really starts to go :mad:

Did I really steer you to Kenmarson? When was that?

MSmith
April 4th, 2005, 02:27 PM
Your website steered me to Kenmarson. I started there July 2003.

I have more questions and insights at VAY, but I'll take it offline.

fgcason
April 4th, 2005, 10:10 PM
I didn't know that. Or maybe I did -- I'm not sure a PA28-180 I used to occasionally fly had one.

Our 1966 Cherokee 180C didn't have one. The detent was obvious though. I always took the extra second verifying it wasn't between positions and there was no switching when closer than 5 minutes out just in case. If it stops, put it back where you found it.

IMHO: Know your critical systems by touch or don't go.

RotaryWingBob
April 4th, 2005, 10:56 PM
Our 1966 Cherokee 180C didn't have one. The detent was obvious though. I always took the extra second verifying it wasn't between positions and there was no switching when closer than 5 minutes out just in case. If it stops, put it back where you found it.

IMHO: Know your critical systems by touch or don't go.

Can't argue with any of that, Frank... That's why I find this accident so disturbing.

PoAdeleted5
April 8th, 2005, 04:06 PM
My 1965 Cherokee 180C did not come equipped with the fuel selector with a lockout. The early Cherokees did not have the lock out button or the fuel selector with a positive stop at each detent. The early ones just have a flat plate with 4 positions, L, R, off, off. The valves on those early ones are subject to getting stiff and difficult to feel the detents. They can be lubricated, but like all things, they don't last forever.

Piper SB 355 covers the lubrication and/or replacement of the valve itself. SB840 announces the availability of the updated cover kit with the lockout and positive detents.

Guess how I know all of this?

The 140 in this case would not have the lockout type fuel selector cover as factory equipment. Obviously, it was added on. They may or may not have done something about the valve. If the valve was old, it is likely that it was quite hard to turn, inspite of the new cover, could be inadvertently set to off. The NTSB report does indicate the valve was hard to turn. I could see it happening.

But not to me, I have both the new cover and a brand new valve. The new valve is MUCH better than the old ones. It's actually an Allen 6S122, which has ball bearings to make the detents click. The new cover also helps by providing positive stops and the lock out.

I can tell you, the old valve made me uncomfortable. You really had to be careful setting it into a detent.

Rudderman
April 9th, 2005, 04:46 PM
The PA-28-180B that I used to own years ago (1963 model) did not have a button that needed to be pushed in. Must be something that showed up in later models.