Dangerously poor fuel planning

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by PeterNSteinmetz, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Lantraxco

    Lantraxco Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I haven't looked at the weather, but the article said he was at 8,500... with the cold temps, I'm willing to bet the DA was maybe half that?
     
  2. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Come on now, we all know that all of that crap you learned while training in no longer applicable once you are in possession of the actual certificate.

    I have never understood these types of accidents.
     
  3. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I either... my bird holds 25 gallons and drinks 5/hr, I’m not going to try flying for 6 hours...
     
  4. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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    In your case, I wouldn't try for 5 either... LOL...
     
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  5. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Even with wheel pants?? lol
     
  6. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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    not even if they have wings on them...
     
  7. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Oh shoot... Whats the point of having all that gas if you aren't going to use it ALL??? Far less danger of a fire if you land with bone dry tanks is what I have always thought... hmmm.
     
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  8. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Well... That's what I thought too, until the last year.

    In October, I was getting back from Nevada. I took off from Elko (it's in the northern Nevada), flew over Ely, Bryce Canyon, and was thinking about stopping in Cal Black. It was a bit short to stop... I would lose time... So then I had to decide if I wanted to go north route through Durango and Santa Fe, or south route through Albuquerque. I thought what the heck, ground is lower south. I went south. Passing Chinley, I saw a wall of clouds. At that point I considered landing at Chinley and waiting the storm out. Almost certainly would finish the day there though, and Chinley has no fuel. So, I pressed on and drifted so far south along the cloud wall that I realized that I cannot even return to Chinley. Well, I mean I could, but if I did, I would land with empty tanks at a field with no gas. I found a hole and squeezed very low, and made it to the Window Rock. The Window Rock was closed: X on the runway. I never meant to stop there, so I didn't even know if it were NOTAM-ed. So, in medium rain and under clouds I made it to Gallup. If I could not land at Gallup, I might not make it to Grants. Thankfully, I didn't land gear up. I was saving fuel and didn't put gear down until base. On reflection I understood that I planted seeds of this adventure when I didn't stop at Cal Black.

    If I ran out of gas short of Grants, there would be the usual tsk-tsk and head shaking on forums, I'm sure. Ditto if I clipped a power line near Window Rock.
     
  9. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks for relating your story. Helps others to understand how these things can creep up on us.
     
  10. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Thanks for that story. I know that area well. And the ridge east of the Window Rock runway.

    A different type story. I was a flight instructor in West Virginia and I also used to fly a fire patrol. The state owned the ground but the lumber companies owned the trees and had the money to make sure those trees didn't burn. They wanted me up in the air at least three afternoons a week.

    One day on fire patrol the ground personnel were working a fire. I was asked by the ground crews to check their escape route. Sure enough the fire had back tracked and jumped a draw and cut off their escape route. I pulled the power back and leaned so I could stay over head longer. I was determined to get those folks to safety.

    It took about an hour to get the ground folks to a safe area that would lead them out of the fire. By the time they got out of the danger zone, the fuel needles were bouncing on empty. I was flying a C-152 so I departed the area for the closest airport, about 20 minutes away.

    As I was on a very abbreviated base to final, I noticed the needles on the needles on the fuel gauges were no longer bouncing. It took 24.9 gallons to fill up the plane. Anyone care to guess the amount of useful fuel in a C-152.??

    So..... if I had not made it, how many folks would shake their head and tell me they would have left those people to fend for themselves.?? I felt I made the right decision then and I still feel that way now.

    edit: The decision was mine. I knew what the consequences could have been. I would not expect anyone else to come to the same decision, nor would I have looked down on anyone that would not have stayed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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  11. IK04

    IK04 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I flew for the Tribal Council, based out of Window Rock for a short time many years ago. After departing there for a Westerly destination, I decided to reverse course and go to Gallup to ensure I had full tanks for the trip West. When I got there, I was informed that there had been a refinery explosion and there would be no aviation fuel available for weeks. I had enough fuel to make my destination before I turned around to top off at Gallup and now I was stuck with no way to get to where I wanted to go. I ended up measuring the fuel in the tanks with a pretty accurate dipstick that I kept in the plane and decided I could make it to Prescott, the only airport that still had fuel. I was checking my groundspeed all the way there and had Winslow as a divert field, but my planning worked out correctly and I made it. That was no fun...
     
  12. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You did the selfless thing and knowingly risked your life for theirs... you didn’t poorly plan, you knew the risk and accepted it... I hope I’d make the same call you did, as that’s the type of person we should all strive to be...