Sumping fuel in the desert/preflight checklists?

BravoCharlieFoxtrot

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BravoCharlieFoxtrot
Howdy y'all,

Did all of my training out of Ohio. I was trained to and have always properly sumped the aircraft before every flight. Even with weeks of no rain, I've caught water out of the tanks right after fueling - pretty sure it came from the fuel truck.

I recently moved out west to a really dry area, and went up with an instructor for a flight review/rental checkout. I have almost 300 hours and am working on commercial now.

When we get out to the aircraft (172), the instructor was eager to show me his no-checklist preflight "flow," which already rubbed me the wrong way. I understand having a flow can be valuable, but not using a checklist (even just to check things off after the "flow") as an instructor for a first flight, from a rental company/flight school, seems bizarre. At the end of his preflight demonstration, I noticed he hadn't bothered to sump anything. When I asked about it, he looked around and pointed out how dry it was, but said that I could if I wanted to (I did).

Just wanted to gather opinions on preflight flows vs. checklists as well as fuel sumping practices.
 
I always sump at the start of each flight, and after adding fuel. My one engine failure (or sputter) in flight was caused by water in the fuel system. I’d find a different CFI.
 
I always sump at the start of each flight, and after adding fuel. My one engine failure (or sputter) in flight was caused by water in the fuel system. I’d find a different CFI.

Each flight?
If you stop for lunch and don’t take on fuel do you still sump?
What about if your plane is stored in a hangar and haven’t taken on fuel since last flight?

Always sump after fueling, no question. But I rarely see pilots sump after lunch, especially pilots flying the 172s with 12 sump drains.

I flow check just before takeoff: key both,prop, mixture,fuel pump, flaps in that order as “flow” from left to right.

I think some checklists are too wordy, for example does your takeoff checklist need to include the throttle? Have you ever found yourself slowly taxiing down the runway wondering why you aren’t getting up to speed?!
 
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If I'm about the fly the plane I'm about to get into for the first time that day, I'm checking and sumping everything regardless of how much it's flown already.

After that I'll only check the fuel level and sump if I've refueled. (Water from the fuel truck / fuel tank).
 
If it’s a new-to-me airplane, I back up the flow with a checklist. When I teach, I teach flow and backup. If it’s recurrent training, including checkouts in familiar aircraft, I’m happy to see either, and will never criticize both, although if I see something missed, I will point out the error.

There are two reasons. First, the law of primacy - I was taught preflight checklist flow on my second lesson. Second, a bit later, I learned there were limits to the official checklists. Try to find checking for the C172 under aileron counterweights in the POH checklist.

Fuel checking - (1) my first flight of the day, (2) after someone else has flown it, and (3) after refueling.
 
There are two reasons. First, the law of primacy - I was taught preflight checklist flow on my second lesson. Second, a bit later, I learned there were limits to the official checklists. Try to find checking for the C172 under aileron counterweights in the POH checklist.
Well said. There are things to be checked that are not on any checklist I've ever seen. Like the cotter pin holding the wheel nut. And yes, there was a case where a training aircraft was missing it and the nut was loose.
 
Granted, I've never lived in a desert, but sumping before every flight or leg of flight seems like a small price to pay for avoiding a water-in-fuel situation in the air. To me, the risk of not catching water in the fuel is not worth the reward of getting in the air two to five minutes earlier.

I do preflight flows because the way I was taught to do the preflight is far more intensive than any checklist I've seen, but if it's a plane I've not flown before or I'm not very familiar with, I'll double check afterwards to make sure I didn't miss something unique to that model of plane. As a point of comparison: the last time I got checked out, the instructor handed me the keys and POH and just said, "Go preflight the plane and I'll be out in a minute". Apparently, he figured that I looked trustworthy enough or that his students were more likely to kill him, because he didn't come out until after I'd completely preflighted the plane and that didn't seem to bother him at all despite it being my first time with that plane and rental place.
 
Howdy y'all,

Did all of my training out of Ohio. I was trained to and have always properly sumped the aircraft before every flight. Even with weeks of no rain, I've caught water out of the tanks right after fueling - pretty sure it came from the fuel truck.

I recently moved out west to a really dry area, and went up with an instructor for a flight review/rental checkout. I have almost 300 hours and am working on commercial now.

When we get out to the aircraft (172), the instructor was eager to show me his no-checklist preflight "flow," which already rubbed me the wrong way. I understand having a flow can be valuable, but not using a checklist (even just to check things off after the "flow") as an instructor for a first flight, from a rental company/flight school, seems bizarre. At the end of his preflight demonstration, I noticed he hadn't bothered to sump anything. When I asked about it, he looked around and pointed out how dry it was, but said that I could if I wanted to (I did).

Just wanted to gather opinions on preflight flows vs. checklists as well as fuel sumping practices.
I'd be interested in what the instructor's criteria for sumping the tanks is. Does he base it on relative humidity? If he flies to a less-dry area, where does.he make the cutoff for sumping vs not sumping?

Sounds like an instructor who hasn't really been anywhere but his home airport.

Sumping is a habit that you want to get into, regardless of whether you think there's a chance of water in there or not. If you always check, you won't miss that one time there is water in there.

I owned a Warrior for 11 years, in several states covering all the types of climates. I always sumped and never found any water. A few weeks before I sold it, I went to go up for a quick flight and almost didn't sump it. Why? Well, 11 years of never finding water, that's why. But I felt guilty about not wanting to sump it, so I did. And sure enough, found water that one time!
 
First and most important, you are training to be a pilot, not a dessert specific pilot. Your most important flight in the future may be in Florida, Louisiana, or Oregon. There, if you forget to sump, the guy about to hire you will send you packing, as water in the fuel is a daily problem, and kills people.

Out in the super dry country, lizards, snakes and mice lick the morning dew off plants to recharge their water supply for the day.

The air that returns through the tank vents as fuel is used or as the air cools at night has that same quantity of moisture, and it deposits on the inside of the tank as it continues to cool. This is not much, but eventually it might be just enough to give you an engine out at a crucial time.

An extra minute in the walkaround will assure that you are not the pilot when that happens. The gascolator sump is the most important, as that is the final accumulating place, but the most difficult to catch and inspect.

The walkaround must be universal, not local.
 
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Each flight?
If you stop for lunch and don’t take on fuel do you still sump?
What about if your plane is stored in a hangar and haven’t taken on fuel since last flight?

Always sump after fueling, no question. But I rarely see pilots sump after lunch, especially pilots flying the 172s with 12 sump drains.

I flow check just before takeoff: key both,prop, mixture,fuel pump, flaps in that order as “flow” from left to right.

I think some checklists are too wordy, for example does your takeoff checklist need to include the throttle? Have you ever found yourself slowly taxiing down the runway wondering why you aren’t getting up to speed?!
First flight of the day and after fueling. That’s what I meant.
 
I'm not gonna lie. I don't sump. I haven't sumped in 14+ years. Why? Because the only place to sump the fuel requires sliding under the plane on my back, opening up a hatch on the belly, and then getting to the sump. The tank openings (all 4) seal, and if I have water in the tanks the process to really determine if there is, isn't going to be at the single sump. Well it would be, but this would be the process:
Crawl under plane and sump for tank 1.
Get in plane.
Start engine.
Switch tanks.
Run plane for 5 minutes to make sure I've cleared the line from tank 1.
Shut the plane down.
Exit plane.
Crawl under plane.
Sump to check tank 2.
Crawl out from under the plane.
Get in plane.
Start engine.
Switch tanks.
Run plane for 5 minutes to make sure I've cleared the line from tank 2.
Shut the plane down.
Exit plane.
Crawl under plane.
Sump to check tank 3.
Crawl out from under the plane.
Get in plane.
Start engine.
Switch tanks.
Run plane for 5 minutes to make sure I've cleared the line from tank 3.
Shut the plane down.
Exit plane.
Crawl under plane.
Sump to check tank 4.
Crawl out from under the plane.
Get in plane.
Start engine - well hope it starts because even though I have an alternator, starting it a bunch without really giving it a lot of time to recharge between starts, the battery has gotten weak in the past.

Or, I can just do everything else during the normal post-engine-start-pre-takeoff-procedure and any water in the fuel will have already found its way to the cylinders well before the time I'm ready to take off.
 
Star of day and after fueling.
 
I also do flows but quickly scan the checklist after just to verify i didn't miss something important.
start of day, after fueling and anytime she gets caught in the rain.
 
The other Ron (Wattaja) can tell you stories about sumping right after fueling. It takes time for the water to settle out.
I think it's something like 20 minutes. And I bet almost no one waits 20 minutes after fueling to sump.

One option would be to pump 1/2 a gallon of some fuel into a clear container before putting pumping it into your tanks
 
The other Ron (Wattaja) can tell you stories about sumping right after fueling. It takes time for the water to settle out.
this is true. I would like to fuel up before I leave so I can see that its avgas being pumped in over anything else. but at the same time, I would like to give it time to settle if its a new fill and for the water to potentially separate out. So if they fuel, right when I land is an option I dont mind doing. then I can see the fuel truck as Im unloading the plane.

The only drawback to that scenario is temperature changes. If its cool and then hot, there is definitely some thermal expansion there unless you ask for 1" of room at the top.
 
The other Ron (Wattaja) can tell you stories about sumping right after fueling. It takes time for the water to settle out.
I agree. Any water in fuel that has just been added will take a while to settle, so sumping immediately after fueling probably isn't going to find it.

As for not using a preflight checklist, remember that use of the written checklist is required on checkrides. I suggest doing your preflight any way you want (I prefer a flow check) but then refer to the written checklist to be sure you did not miss anything.
 

I think it's something like 20 minutes. And I bet almost no one waits 20 minutes after fueling to sump.

One option would be to pump 1/2 a gallon of some fuel into a clear container before putting pumping it into your tanks
I sump every morning.
I usually fill the tank before I put the plane away after a flight.
In my hanger, in high humidity conditions the plane will get dripping wet. Add changes in atmospheric pressure, a slight leak in a gasket, and viola! Fuel in the tank.
At certain airports I will wait 20 or more minutes. The fuel is so bad, I KNOW there will be water in it.
 
Flew 18 years in the desert, never found water. Not even after frog floating massively heavy thunderstorms.

Checklist is not a to do list, but a reminder. Remembering I flew for a living and at times flew over 1000 hours a year, I used flows most of the time. Once I had an engine failure in a twin and I used the flow, then pulled out the checklist. A couple times in a single I had major loss of power. I used the flow mainly because I did not have enough time to pull out the emergency checklist.


Have you ever found yourself slowly taxiing down the runway wondering why you aren’t getting up to speed?!
:lol: :lol: :lol:

No joke though, my wife was in her car and wondered why it would not go. She turned the key on but did not start the engine, then put it in drive...
 
Luckily I haven’t had any issues with water in the fuel tanks but I do check them, it takes very little time to do so. Having a flow for a regular flyer is important, it doesn’t have to rub you wrong way, just know that his way is different then yours, learn something from every person and tailor it to suit your comfort levels. Airplanes are generally safe, know where you are going to land in an emergency and you are good to go. Then your main risk is an in-flight breakup, which is rare, but we have to accept that risk everytime we board an airplane.
 
Howdy y'all,

Did all of my training out of Ohio. I was trained to and have always properly sumped the aircraft before every flight. Even with weeks of no rain, I've caught water out of the tanks right after fueling - pretty sure it came from the fuel truck.

I recently moved out west to a really dry area, and went up with an instructor for a flight review/rental checkout. I have almost 300 hours and am working on commercial now.

When we get out to the aircraft (172), the instructor was eager to show me his no-checklist preflight "flow," which already rubbed me the wrong way. I understand having a flow can be valuable, but not using a checklist (even just to check things off after the "flow") as an instructor for a first flight, from a rental company/flight school, seems bizarre. At the end of his preflight demonstration, I noticed he hadn't bothered to sump anything. When I asked about it, he looked around and pointed out how dry it was, but said that I could if I wanted to (I did).

Just wanted to gather opinions on preflight flows vs. checklists as well as fuel sumping practices.
Instructor's first mistake is trying to re-teach a 300-hour pilot how to do a preflight. Second mistake is being a dumb@$$.
 
I've never found water in my tanks, and hope I never will. However, I still sump before every flight. Why? Water may have come from fresh fuel. Water may have condensed from humidity, especially after prolonged storage. Water may have collected/shifted since the last sumping. Particulates may have found their way into the fuel tanks from fresh fuel or deteriorating sealant. I don't want to find water or particulates in my fuel for the first time at 200 AGL during takeoff. It takes very little time, so why not?
 
I'm not gonna lie. I don't sump. I haven't sumped in 14+ years. Why? Because the only place to sump the fuel requires sliding under the plane on my back, opening up a hatch on the belly, and then getting to the sump. The tank openings (all 4) seal, and if I have water in the tanks the process to really determine if there is, isn't going to be at the single sump. Well it would be, but this would be the process:
Crawl under plane and sump for tank 1.
Get in plane.
Start engine.
Switch tanks.
Run plane for 5 minutes to make sure I've cleared the line from tank 1.
Shut the plane down.
Exit plane.
Crawl under plane.
Sump to check tank 2.
Crawl out from under the plane.
Get in plane.
Start engine.
Switch tanks.
Run plane for 5 minutes to make sure I've cleared the line from tank 2.
Shut the plane down.
Exit plane.
Crawl under plane.
Sump to check tank 3.
Crawl out from under the plane.
Get in plane.
Start engine.
Switch tanks.
Run plane for 5 minutes to make sure I've cleared the line from tank 3.
Shut the plane down.
Exit plane.
Crawl under plane.
Sump to check tank 4.
Crawl out from under the plane.
Get in plane.
Start engine - well hope it starts because even though I have an alternator, starting it a bunch without really giving it a lot of time to recharge between starts, the battery has gotten weak in the past.

Or, I can just do everything else during the normal post-engine-start-pre-takeoff-procedure and any water in the fuel will have already found its way to the cylinders well before the time I'm ready to take off.
"You do you" as the kids say these days, but I had two friends die in a Comanche 250 due to engine failure, stall/spin, and subsequent fire. The cause of the engine failure was water and rust in the fuel pumps and carb. The reason for the water and rust was failure to sump. I have my own beliefs about why he didn't sump, some of which are understandable but still no excuse. I understand it's tricky to get to in that plane, but it still needs to be done.

 
I sump for the first flight of the day and after refueling. I suppose if it rained between flights I might do one then too. I use a GATS jar so no gas is wasted.

Never really used a checklist for preflight on the relatively simple 172, Archer, and Lance that I’ve flown, just a walk-around/flow. Also generally I only do a *real* preflight for the first flight of the day although I do always walk around the plane one and just eyeball it.
 
I'm not gonna lie. I don't sump. I haven't sumped in 14+ years. Why? Because the only place to sump the fuel requires sliding under the plane on my back, opening up a hatch on the belly, and then getting to the sump. The tank openings (all 4) seal, and if I have water in the tanks the process to really determine if there is, isn't going to be at the single sump. Well it would be, but this would be the process:
Crawl under plane and sump for tank 1.
Get in plane.
Start engine.
Switch tanks.
Run plane for 5 minutes to make sure I've cleared the line from tank 1.
Shut the plane down.
Exit plane.
Crawl under plane.
Sump to check tank 2.
Crawl out from under the plane.
Get in plane.
Start engine.
Switch tanks.
Run plane for 5 minutes to make sure I've cleared the line from tank 2.
Shut the plane down.
Exit plane.
Crawl under plane.
Sump to check tank 3.
Crawl out from under the plane.
Get in plane.
Start engine.
Switch tanks.
Run plane for 5 minutes to make sure I've cleared the line from tank 3.
Shut the plane down.
Exit plane.
Crawl under plane.
Sump to check tank 4.
Crawl out from under the plane.
Get in plane.
Start engine - well hope it starts because even though I have an alternator, starting it a bunch without really giving it a lot of time to recharge between starts, the battery has gotten weak in the past.

Or, I can just do everything else during the normal post-engine-start-pre-takeoff-procedure and any water in the fuel will have already found its way to the cylinders well before the time I'm ready to take off.

OR you can substitute ALL 'exit plane', 'get in plane', with 'duh, have someone sitting in the plane so I don't have to get in plane, exit plane, repeatedly...'

can't believe you wouldn't even sump like once a year just so you can say you sumped instead of admitting you haven't sumped in 14 years. cra cra bro.
 
Worth mentioning I’ve been flying for over a decade now. Never found anything significant on a preflight that I didn’t see the moment I laid eyes on the airplane.
 
Then again, winter in Alaska we never sumped. Why.?? Because ice may get stuck in the sump when it is open, and drain the fuel out.

What did we do.??

We added isopropyl alcohol into the fuel while fueling up.

Isopropyl is used as a gas drier because it absorbs water better than other types of alcohol. Unlike ethanol, it doesn't have a phase separation and can thus be burnt through the engine even after it has absorbed quite a bit of water. Obviously our car gasoline now has up to 10% ethanol. Ethanol behaves poorly when there is too much water in it. That is why Isopropyl is used in airplanes instead.

Go to Alaska and tell them they are doing it wrong. They will laugh you out of the state.

Once in Longview, TX, I was flying a 210. I could tell that there was a little water in the gas by the way the engine was running. Sumping showed no water. I asked the FBO folks if they had any isopropyl. A person in the office stated that I should not add alcohol to the gas because it will eat up the rubber fuel bladder, and the engine won't run with the added alcohol. No, because the 210 had wet wings, not bladders, and yes, it will run just fine.

So I borrowed a crew car to go to a store and get a couple bottles of 90% isopropyl. The office guy was in my ear the entire time about not putting isopropyl in the tanks.

They just sat there as I added the alcohol to the tanks, started the engine, did a long runup, then took off. Problem fixed, the engine ran normally.

When I was back the next day, I mentioned to them I was still flying the same plane, but minus water in the fuel. They were 100% positive I was wrong.

Learn something new everyday.
 
Howdy y'all,

Did all of my training out of Ohio. I was trained to and have always properly sumped the aircraft before every flight. Even with weeks of no rain, I've caught water out of the tanks right after fueling - pretty sure it came from the fuel truck.

I recently moved out west to a really dry area, and went up with an instructor for a flight review/rental checkout. I have almost 300 hours and am working on commercial now.

When we get out to the aircraft (172), the instructor was eager to show me his no-checklist preflight "flow," which already rubbed me the wrong way. I understand having a flow can be valuable, but not using a checklist (even just to check things off after the "flow") as an instructor for a first flight, from a rental company/flight school, seems bizarre. At the end of his preflight demonstration, I noticed he hadn't bothered to sump anything. When I asked about it, he looked around and pointed out how dry it was, but said that I could if I wanted to (I did).

Just wanted to gather opinions on preflight flows vs. checklists as well as fuel sumping practices.
In parts of the world where rain is referred to as moisture, it is not unusual for pilots not to sump fuel. The risk of water from refueling or from condensation of moisture in wing tanks is rather remote.

But, the manufacturers checklist provides for the pilot to sump the tanks and as a commercial pilot you are expected to follow the manufacture’s preflight checklist and the ACS requires it.
 
As many know, I was based in Denver for 20 years. Not completely desert but pretty dry - over 300 days of sunshine and a huge 14 inches of rainfall over the course of an average year. People get sloppy with sumping the tanks. One day, I went to an airplane and sumped 8 Gatts jars filled of water before hitting fuel. Turns out we had a rainstorm and a bad gasket.
 
Then again, winter in Alaska we never sumped. Why.?? Because ice may get stuck in the sump when it is open, and drain the fuel out.

What did we do.??

We added isopropyl alcohol into the fuel while fueling up.

Isopropyl is used as a gas drier because it absorbs water better than other types of alcohol. Unlike ethanol, it doesn't have a phase separation and can thus be burnt through the engine even after it has absorbed quite a bit of water. Obviously our car gasoline now has up to 10% ethanol. Ethanol behaves poorly when there is too much water in it. That is why Isopropyl is used in airplanes instead.

Go to Alaska and tell them they are doing it wrong. They will laugh you out of the state.

Once in Longview, TX, I was flying a 210. I could tell that there was a little water in the gas by the way the engine was running. Sumping showed no water. I asked the FBO folks if they had any isopropyl. A person in the office stated that I should not add alcohol to the gas because it will eat up the rubber fuel bladder, and the engine won't run with the added alcohol. No, because the 210 had wet wings, not bladders, and yes, it will run just fine.

So I borrowed a crew car to go to a store and get a couple bottles of 90% isopropyl. The office guy was in my ear the entire time about not putting isopropyl in the tanks.

They just sat there as I added the alcohol to the tanks, started the engine, did a long runup, then took off. Problem fixed, the engine ran normally.

When I was back the next day, I mentioned to them I was still flying the same plane, but minus water in the fuel. They were 100% positive I was wrong.

Learn something new everyday.
The POH for my Mooney says up to 1% isopropyl alcohol. Other Mooney models allow up to 3%
 
My 2 cents is it matters a bit whether this is a owned or rental plane. I personally follow a flow and sump each day and after fueling. If I'm stopping somewhere, I do a quick walk around and wouldn't sump on subsequent flights. I also have a good idea where my plane has been, who maintains it, where the fuel most often comes from, how hard I landed it last flight, etc.

I wouldn't even consider hopping into a rental without doing a thorough walk around, including sumping. The OP's CFI attitude is exactly why I would verify everything I can, every time on a rental.
 
"You do you" as the kids say these days, but I had two friends die in a Comanche 250 due to engine failure, stall/spin, and subsequent fire. The cause of the engine failure was water and rust in the fuel pumps and carb. The reason for the water and rust was failure to sump. I have my own beliefs about why he didn't sump, some of which are understandable but still no excuse. I understand it's tricky to get to in that plane, but it still needs to be done.


OR you can substitute ALL 'exit plane', 'get in plane', with 'duh, have someone sitting in the plane so I don't have to get in plane, exit plane, repeatedly...'

can't believe you wouldn't even sump like once a year just so you can say you sumped instead of admitting you haven't sumped in 14 years. cra cra bro.

If I had a later model where I could slide a pan under there and just "pee" in it, I would. I also don't switch tanks until top of climb. If there was water or other contaminants in there, it would manifest itself prior to take off. I have a pretty decent taxi from the hangar which would cause the engine to cough or die before takeoff roll was even a consideration.

As far as the quote from the POH in the report. That POH didn't exist for my serial number. It's 10 pages. There is no section VI and no (13) or (14) in a Section II.
 
The last sentence on morleys post is exactly right.

"Like I wouldn't even consider hopping into a rental without doing a thorough walk around, including sumping. The OP's CFI attitude is exactly why I would verify everything I can, every time on a rental."

The most important sentence in my previous post was:

"First and most important, you are training to be a pilot, not a dessert specific pilot. Your most important flight in the future may be in Florida, Louisiana, or Oregon. There, if you forget to sump, the guy about to hire you will send you packing, as water in the fuel is a daily problem, and kills people."

Keep focused on the knowledge that will be needed for the wide range of employment out there. You might not wind up in the one you visualize now.
 
Curious, for those of you who sump before every flight, do you also always dispose of the sumped gas in an EPA approved way? ;)

As a renter, I always sumped before a flight. My flight school bought MoGas and stored it in jerry cans from whatever auto gas station was cheapest. So... I didn't have a lot of faith in it. Found small amounts of water more than once.

As an owner that flies every 2-3 days on average and keeps it in a climate controlled hangar? No... I sumped for ~2 years and then finally gave it up. Never found any water.

However, cases where I will sump w/o question:
- If I'm flying with any pax
- If the plane hasn't flown for ~week or more
- If it's on the ramp anywhere overnight
- If I'm buying gas from a questionable looking or slow FBO
- If I look at the geography surrounding the airport and the prospect of an engine out makes me shudder :oops: (taking off RWY36 at KNEW is one such memorable example where I sumped probably 3x lol)

Still have yet to find any water or debris in any of these cases, but I still keep checking.
 
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Curious, for those of you who sump before every flight, do you also always dispose of the sumped gas in an EPA approved way? ;)
I use a GATS jar, so it goes back into the tank. I was taught to dump it on the ramp, which seems to not help general aviation's reputation.
 
I'm not gonna lie. I don't sump. I haven't sumped in 14+ years. Why? Because the only place to sump the fuel requires sliding under the plane on my back, opening up a hatch on the belly, and then getting to the sump. The tank openings (all 4) seal, and if I have water in the tanks the process to really determine if there is, isn't going to be at the single sump. Well it would be, but this would be the process:
Crawl under plane and sump for tank 1.
Get in plane.
Start engine.
Switch tanks.
Run plane for 5 minutes to make sure I've cleared the line from tank 1.
Shut the plane down.
Exit plane.
Crawl under plane.
Sump to check tank 2.
Crawl out from under the plane.
Get in plane.
Start engine.
Switch tanks.
Run plane for 5 minutes to make sure I've cleared the line from tank 2.
Shut the plane down.
Exit plane.
Crawl under plane.
Sump to check tank 3.
Crawl out from under the plane.
Get in plane.
Start engine.
Switch tanks.
Run plane for 5 minutes to make sure I've cleared the line from tank 3.
Shut the plane down.
Exit plane.
Crawl under plane.
Sump to check tank 4.
Crawl out from under the plane.
Get in plane.
Start engine - well hope it starts because even though I have an alternator, starting it a bunch without really giving it a lot of time to recharge between starts, the battery has gotten weak in the past.

Or, I can just do everything else during the normal post-engine-start-pre-takeoff-procedure and any water in the fuel will have already found its way to the cylinders well before the time I'm ready to take off.
Sounds like an older Cherokee 6. I'd have to find my old checklist, but I think draining each tank for a minute, move fuel selector, drain again, was the key to the 6.
 
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