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Parallel parking the Mooney (don't try this at home)


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Happy to discuss with anyone offline. There are some inaccuracies in that report, and some points I disagree with.

My personal approach changes, though, I'm happy to share. A purchasing criteria for my next (current) plane was a fuel totalizer; 3RM came with a FS-450 and it's now equipped with an EDM-830 with fuel flow. That, in turn, is connected (RS-232) to the GNS430W, configured to calculate (and constantly display) fuel required to the destination.

I cross-check the totalizer against the factory fuel gauges (which, in 3RM, are rock steady - though I do have to thump them before the engine is running, to get a reading) at every tank switch

I check the accuracy of the fuel remaining calculation at every fill-up. (I have Main = 50 (tabs), Aux = 14 (full fuel).

I also visually check the tanks with a dipstick (it's pre-fab and calibrated for a C172, but adding 5 to what it shows is reliably conservative). The dipstick and "add 5" instructions came courtesy the previous owner, but I've verified its accuracy.

My personal minimums have also increased.

I had about 300 hours PIC on 9/22/2017 (and my PPL was less than 2 years old). 4BE was my first plane.

I'm at >445 PIC now (including 93 in the Mooney that replaced 4BE). I wish I could say they were all uneventful, but I did have an energency landing at Pt. Mugu NAS (a piece of the ram air door gasket broke off and ended up lodged in thr fuel servo throttle body), but the plane survived unscathed and after a 4 month, five figure annual, we're back in the air.

(After a cautious few trips around the pattern during her RTS flight, I flew her home to TOA on 11/3, then up to PRB for a "confidence rebuilding" lunch run, then out to Marana to finish avionics work - the autopilot pitch servo had been sent out to S-Tec for servive, and the EDM-700 and FS-450 were swapped for the EDM-830. Marana to Paso Robles to pick up a friend Friday night, back to Torrance. Today, flew to Boulder City, picked up a fellow MooneySpacer, stole his Aerox 2C, and shot a few practice approaches with him as my safety pilot. Then back to TOA.)

23 hours since the emergency landing at NTD (17.5 in 3RM herself), I'm back to what I comsider a healthy level of skeptical confidence in her.

She's been on oil analysis for a decade (which I'm continuing). A big reason for getting the -830 was being introduced to SavvyAnalysis, which I'm now using to watch engine trends. Multiple A&Ps and IAs have had eyes on her, and she's running smooth and strong. I'm taking the Advanced Pilot Seminars engine course, etc.

I had my first ever BFR on the anniversary of the crash - unintentionally, and I didn't even realize it until after the fact. (I wanted a particular CFI, who I knew held pilots to very high standards; as he's also an airline captain, his availability is tight. 9/2018 was also the anniversary of my IR checkride.)

An instructor I "know" through the global aviation community (who sadly passed yesterday) once had this to say; it resonates with me: "Whenever we talk about a pilot who has been killed in a flying accident, we should all keep one thing in mind. He called upon the sum of all his knowledge and made a judgment. He believed it so strongly that he knowingly bet his life on it. That his judgment was faulty was a tragedy, not stupidity. Every inspector, supervisor, and contemporary who ever spoke to him had an opportunity to influence his judgment, so a little of all of us goes with every pilot we lose."

I've taked to a lot of people since the 4BE crash, and I'm going to keep talking to people. People I can learn from, and people who might learn a thing or two from what I've been through. I feel damned lucky to be alive, let alone still flying. All I can do is what I've been doing: continue to improve and learn all I can; impart what I can; and fly the safest plane I can afford in the safest way I know how.


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I was the pilot. My passenger was a 2016 graduate of the same university/fraternity. If I’d had a chute I would have pulled it (we were ~1800’ AGL descending into KBUR when we lost the engine). My pri

Happy to discuss with anyone offline. There are some inaccuracies in that report, and some points I disagree with. My personal approach changes, though, I'm happy to share. A purchasing criteria fo

A friend and I flew to Paso Robles yesterday in his Cirrus; he flew up, I handled Comms and pointed out he was flying a pattern for the wrong runway (calm winds; runway 19, which we'd been announcing

Happy to discuss with anyone offline. There are some inaccuracies in that report, and some points I disagree with.

My personal approach changes, though, I'm happy to share. A purchasing criteria for my next (current) plane was a fuel totalizer; 3RM came with a FS-450 and it's now equipped with an EDM-830 with fuel flow. That, in turn, is connected (RS-232) to the GNS430W, configured to calculate (and constantly display) fuel required to the destination.

I cross-check the totalizer against the factory fuel gauges (which, in 3RM, are rock steady - though I do have to thump them before the engine is running, to get a reading) at every tank switch

I check the accuracy of the fuel remaining calculation at every fill-up. (I have Main = 50 (tabs), Aux = 14 (full fuel).

I also visually check the tanks with a dipstick (it's pre-fab and calibrated for a C172, but adding 5 to what it shows is reliably conservative). The dipstick and "add 5" instructions came courtesy the previous owner, but I've verified its accuracy.

My personal minimums have also increased.

I had about 300 hours PIC on 9/22/2017 (and my PPL was less than 2 years old). 4BE was my first plane.

I'm at 445 PIC now (including 93 in the Mooney that replaced 4BE). I wish I could say they were all uneventful, but I did have an energency landing at Pt. Mugu NAS (a piece of the ram air door broke off and ended up lodged in thr fuel servo throttle body), but the plane survived unscathed and after a 4 month, five figure annual, we're back in the air.

(After a cautious few trips around the pattern during her RTS flight, I flew her home to TOA on 11/3, then up to PRB for a "confidence rebuilding" lunch run, then out to Marana to finish avionics work - the autopilot pitch servo had been sent out to S-Tec for servive, and the EDM-700 and FS-450 were swapped for the EDM-830. Marana to Paso Robles to pick up a friend Friday night, back to Torrance. Today, flew to Boulder City, picked up a fellow MooneySpacer, stole his Aerox 2C, and shot a few practice approaches with him as my safety pilot. Then back to TOA.)

23 hours since the emergency landing at NTD (17.5 in 3RM herself), I'm back to what I comsider a healthy level of skeptical confidence in her.

She's been on oil analysis for a decade (which I'm continuing). A big reason for getting the -830 was being introduced to SavvyAnalysis, which I'm now using to watch engine trends. Multiple A&Ps and IAs have had eyes on her, and she's running smooth and strong. I'm taking the Advanced Pilot Seminars engine course, etc.

I had my first ever BFR on the anniversary of the crash - unintentionally, and I didn't even realize it until after the fact. (I wanted a particular CFI, who I knew held pilots to very high standards; as he's also an airline captain, his availability is tight. 9/2018 was also the anniversary of my IR checkride.)

An instructor I "know" through the global aviation community (who sadly passed yesterday) once had this to say; it resonates with me: "Whenever we talk about a pilot who has been killed in a flying accident, we should all keep one thing in mind. He called upon the sum of all his knowledge and made a judgment. He believed it so strongly that he knowingly bet his life on it. That his judgment was faulty was a tragedy, not stupidity. Every inspector, supervisor, and contemporary who ever spoke to him had an opportunity to influence his judgment, so a little of all of us goes with every pilot we lose."

I've taked to a lot of people since the 4BE crash, and I'm going to keep talking to people. People I can learn from, and people who might learn a thing or two from what I've been through. I feel damned lucky to be alive, let alone still flying. All I can do is what I've been doing: continue to improve and learn all I can; impart what I can; and fly the safest plane I can afford in the safest way I know how.


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Chris - all of us have done things in our flying that we regretted later. Main thing is to learn from it and not to repeat the mistake. Repeating the mistake often will end worse.

As for fuel management, I rarely fly full gross, so I am tankering full fuel most of the time - even though I have extremely accurate gauges (CiES) and a fuel totalizer that is spot on. Why do I do this? Even though I am meticulous IFR planner, having to deal with a missed approach and an alternate lower than forecasted will change your perspective on how much fuel is enough.

Did the FSDO have you do a 709 ride?


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1 hour ago, Marauder said:

Did the FSDO have you do a 709 ride?

 

I met with the ASIs from the FSDO and went over my logs (which were extensive and detailed; 4BE was an unknown quantity I was still learning). There were, e.g., several instances of flight profiles similar to those leading up to 4BE's last flight (multiple short trips on one fueling), where I refilled ~40 gallons (M20E; 52 usable) at 4.5 on the tach (4.23 on the tach when 4BE stopped moving, since the last fueling). (Some other irregularities, too, that I still don't have an explanation for.)

At that meeting, the operations (as opposed to airworthiness) inspector concluded the meeting by saying this was the rare situation where he was leaving the meeting without an idea of what he'd recommend. This is paraphrased, but pretty close: "There are three paths: We can decide there's a question as to your competency, and have you do a 709 ride; we can recommend remedial training; or we can do nothing. I don't think you're not a competent pilot, and we're not in the habit of requiring useless training - what's an instructor going to tell you you don't already know? Your trip planning and log keeping are what we expect from a 3,000 hour pilot, not a 300 hour pilot."

No action was taken. (Though I did some stuff on my own; I don't think I ever had an opportunity to even mention that to the FAA, though - it was about a week after the ASI meeting, which was the Tuesday following the Friday night accident.)

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Just for ha ha's lets just say the NTSB was right, and that our valiant Chrixxer ran his airplane out of gas.  No, not a good thing, but how many pilots over the years have joined this exclusive club?  It doesn't help that most of us have fuel gauges only trustworthy to be incorrect.

No, the event is nothing to brag over.  But it happened and can't be undone.  Piloting superior to the then judgement (and perhaps  smidgen of luck) allowed the Mooney to take the brunt of the collision with terra firma as it was designed to do.  Says me so long as the salient lesson is learned go forth and sin no more.  I suspect Chrixxer has shed  more than enough angst to satisfy his most ardent critic.

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I would put this in the gear up catagory.   Momentary lapse in judgement.  Being a process guy, it would be interesting to walk through the thought process leading up.  Not to be done online though.   I would think the FAA would want to walk the process.   They were probably just making sure the boxes were checked.

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I would put this in the gear up catagory.   Momentary lapse in judgement.  Being a process guy, it would be interesting to walk through the thought process leading up.  Not to be done online though.   I would think the FAA would want to walk the process.   They were probably just making sure the boxes were checked.


Happy to go over it offline. I did with the FAA, in detail.


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6 hours ago, chrixxer said:

 


Happy to go over it offline. I did with the FAA, in detail.


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The FAA is the one that is about trying to prevent these type accidents.  But their box checking approach of basically making sure all the legal requirements were met did not do much to prevent another one of these type accidents.

It was interesting.   I went to a firefighter class about traffic safety at an incident.   It took me a day to realize that almost all the cases of how do traffic safety presented in the class were urban settings.  Which is usually Lighted multi lane highways.    The department I volunteer for has absolutely none of those types of roads.  A 2 lane Farm to Market and 2 Lane county roads.   So kind of a mis match on the class.   I will send an email to them.

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This was a case of faulty assumption.  Chrixxer assumed he had sufficient fuel.  He had done lots of analysis to back up his assumption.  The problem was he didn't, either because he used more than he thought in an unusual flight regimen, or there was a leak, or gremlins stole it.  Whatever, according to the NTSB he ran the airplane dry.  I'm assuming they're right, but doing so on tender hooks.  I've seen them get it violently wrong.

And this makes a problem worth thinking about.  I'm almost dyslexic when it comes to left and right.  I honestly have to think carefully about it.  Heck, I started turning the jack the wrong way last night changing the tire on the TARDYS because I lost track.  I've made the assumption on numerous occasions that left was right, and come in the wrong way.  It is probably my biggest worry as a pilot.  So I brief every landing ever, very carefully.  And I still blow it some times.  How do we challenge our own assumptions?

That's what you really have to do when you preflight, challenge your assumptions, or start with new ones.  Instead of assuming the aircraft is safe for flight, we should assume it isn't and prove to ourselves in our preflight that it is.  Instead of assuming we have sufficient fuel for the fight, we should assume we don't, and prove to ourselves that we do.  That means carrying a calibrated fuel stick, or keeping big time reserves.  And we do have to remember that our airplanes don't burn whatever the number it is we say they do in cruise.  They can burn lots more if we're doing something other than flying in cruise.

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7 hours ago, mooniac15u said:

The NTSB report says both tanks were empty.  Did you know the other one was empty?  Did you run it dry per the POH for maximum endurance?

No. And that's one of the weird issues with this whole situation. I checked both tanks visually before we departed (albeit at night, and on a slope (transient at REI)), and saw fuel. From experience, if I can see any fuel below the filler opening, that's at least 8 gallons left in the tank. Both fuel gauges showed about a third of a tank, too, on the ground. (The needles bounced around in the air, but sitting still on the surface, the gauges seemed to read accurately.) From REI to BUR is ~60 nm. We climbed to 4500' and were cruising about 150 knots. When the engine died the first thing I did was change tanks and hit the electric fuel pump, which didn't do anything. The manual says it will take about 10 seconds to restart if a tank is exhausted in flight, and I and/or my passenger definitely would have noticed that. We didn't. Never had any issues until the one that ended the flight. But the other tank, when I switched to it, was evidently dry, too. M20E, IO-360-A1A. Only time I changed tanks was after the engine quit (I set a 30 minute alarm on my Apple Watch for fuel change intervals, but we weren't aloft that long. I was planning on changing tanks once I was in the pattern at BUR - we were descending to TPA when the engine quit). Per my calculations and observed fuel levels, we should have landed at BUR with 50 minutes of fuel on board, just a smidge higher than night VFR minimums. We were going to land a few minutes before 10 pm, too, when I knew Atlantic was closing, so I'd called ahead on ASRI to ask them to please leave the truck out so I could top off and get home to SMO that night. But we absolutely should have had approximately 16 gallons on board.

A go-around doesn't burn that much fuel (full throttle, fully rich, according to the EDM-830, the same engine in the F is burning about 15-16 gph; climbing to 1000' at 500'/minute (and in reality the E climbed a lot faster than that) is a half-gallon burned, before pulling everything back. Likewise, I didn't taxi the full length of the runway at BUR ever. After the go-around I landed Runway 15 and turned off on Delta and picked up my passenger at Atlantic. Departing, we did an intersection departure from D8, on runway 8. (I have ForeFlight GPS logs that show all of this, that I provided to NTSB, which makes me wonder what they're talking about on several points.) But even if I had, trundling along at idle is 2-3 gph at most. If I'd done a 5 mile lap around BUR, taxing at, what, 12 knots GS?, the entire trip would have burned, at 3 gph, 1 1/4 gallons. (But in reality it was a taxi run of probably about a mile; it's 4000' from the threshold of 15 to taxiway Delta, and another 2800' on Delta to Atlantic. Assuming I had a landing roll of 1000' and then used power to taxi the rest of the way, 5800' of taxing, let's round up and say it was 0.1 hours at 3 gph, that's all of a third of a gallon. These things would not have thrown off my calculations by >10 gallons.

I tracked every flight down to the 100th of an hour, tach time, and tracked every fill-up...

One set of flights, I flew from St. George, Utah (SGU) to Santa Monica (SMO) (2.69), then from SMO to BUR and back (0.65), and then from SMO to Corona (AJO) (0.60) (total 3.94 hours, tach time), and took on 37.2 gallons at AJO (>14 usable remaining).

Another, AJO to Chino (CNO) to SMO (0.76), then SMO to Torrance (TOA) and back to SMO (0.72), then SMO to Oxnard and back to SMO (0.87), then SMO to CNO, where I took on 33.2 gallons at 3.49 hours tach time (7 take-offs and low level cruising), leaving almost 19 gallons remaining.

So it's not like my numbers were based on all 500 nm X/C flights at 10,500', leaned out.

I have much, much better instrumentation on this plane, and a lot more understanding of everything that's going on (fuel flow at different phases of flight, etc), and my planning is a lot more accurate and based on much better information (and cross-checked in triplicate on the ground before flight), but at the time, I had no reason to doubt I had more than enough fuel, legally and practically, to reach Burbank from Redlands, based on everything I'd logged and observed over >60 hours of flying 4BE.

(I still would have picked up fuel at REI nonetheless, because it's cheaper there than SMO and transient parking is right next to the pump. But BUR Atlantic closed at 10, and my (NoHo) passenger turned down the idea of going direct to SMO and taking an Uber home (I offered to pay for it; he was a recent grad, I'm an attorney) - it was Friday night and he didn't want to be stuck in traffic forever. So I checked the tanks, checked the gauges, checked my spreadsheet - a Google Sheets log I had setup for "offline access" on my phone - and determined we had enough fuel on board to legally and safely complete the trip. I wasn't about to take off over a dense urban landscape, up against a mountain range, with a questionable fuel state!)

For whatever reason, we did not.

My take-aways include relying on more and better information, revised personal minimums, and basically a zero tolerance for deviance. If something isn't right, it's getting fixed. E.g., the trainers I learned in had fuel gauges of dubious accuracy; we've all heard the old canard, the fuel gauges are only required to be accurate "when they read 'empty,'" which my CFIs taught me as well. So 4BE's fuel gauge needles bouncing around in flight I just assumed was "normal for GA," especially in a 51 year old plane. I've seen folks here with fuel pressures above the green arc after a mechanical pump replacement, but I wasn't okay with that, and insisted the A&P keep at it until he had a combo that brought the pressure down to where it should be. Etc.

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34 minutes ago, chrixxer said:

I have much, much better instrumentation on this plane, and a lot more understanding of everything that's going on (fuel flow at different phases of flight, etc), and my planning is a lot more accurate and based on much better information (and cross-checked in triplicate on the ground before flight), but at the time, I had no reason to doubt I had more than enough fuel, legally and practically, to reach Burbank from Redlands, based on everything I'd logged and observed over >60 hours of flying 4BE.

FWIW, the fuel flow instruments only tell you what is going into the engine, not what is coming out of your tank.  I once had a leak at the gascolator that was almost unnoticeable on the ground but apparently was much more significant with fuel flowing.  I lost close to ten gallons of fuel during a cross country flight.  I was relying too heavily on the fuel flow and not cross checking carefully with my gauges.  The engine quit on the ground at my destination.  I had plenty of fuel left in my other tank but it was a real eye-opener about relying too much on the fuel flow.

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38 minutes ago, mooniac15u said:

FWIW, the fuel flow instruments only tell you what is going into the engine, not what is coming out of your tank.

See above: "I cross-check the totalizer against the factory fuel gauges (which, in 3RM, are rock steady - though I do have to thump them before the engine is running, to get a reading) at every tank switch."

Two is one, one is none. Especially since I still am not sure I didn't have a leak in 4BE.

All of this is semi-temporary, too; the eventual plan for 3RM is to go glass, with the full SkyView system including both FF and tank readings (with CiES senders).

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A couple of generic thoughts regarding fuel, not necessarily related to the event described above, but makes one think.

 Years ago, after doing bladders, it took some work to get my gauges accurate.  Full was full and empty was empty, but in between was not quite correct.  1/4 tank to empty was grossly inaccurate and gave the appearance of having more fuel than I really had....it would empty quickly.  My conclusion was that the tank vs senders is non-linear.  The gauges are remarked for the bladders, So I further adjusted the markings and am now consistently within 1 gallon.  I would be curious if others have checked accuracy at 1/4 tank and what they have found.  If others are similar to mine, it can be quite a trap.....especially since you can barely see fuel in the tank when it is that low.  I suspect that this nonlinearity is where a modern, adjustable, system has a real advantage. I never did check it before the bladders, but suspect it was similar.  The markings were more aesthetic than functional....again, feedback on your observations may be helpful to others.

Another thought that occurred to me recently...is it possible for a leaky fuel fuel valve to source fuel from both tanks?  I suppose one would notice if intentionally paying attention, but when running low, even a small leak between tanks could cause issues.  

Chris, one question, when switching tanks, did you also reduce power?  On the few occasions where I ran a tank low, I have noticed that higher power will draw air faster than lower power, on switching tanks, lower power seems to be a smoother transition.

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Unless there was actually a leak, there is a phenomenon we all are susceptible to, and yet we all would strenuously believe it would not happen to us: But there is research that has found under certain conditions people believe they saw something that was in fact in error. Eye witness accounts of accidents can be misleading (anyone recall all the reports of missles taking out flight 800?). It is possible that checking fuel, you saw what you expected to see, fuel, but you may have had a faulty recollection, and thought you saw something that was not actually there. Can happen to anyone.

 

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9 hours ago, Smiles201 said:

Unless there was actually a leak, there is a phenomenon we all are susceptible to, and yet we all would strenuously believe it would not happen to us: But there is research that has found under certain conditions people believe they saw something that was in fact in error. Eye witness accounts of accidents can be misleading (anyone recall all the reports of missles taking out flight 800?). It is possible that checking fuel, you saw what you expected to see, fuel, but you may have had a faulty recollection, and thought you saw something that was not actually there. Can happen to anyone.

And this is largely what drove me to give up the dip-stick and get proper and accurate senders installed in the tanks and hooked up to reliable fuel gauges. I'd be cruising along and start second guessing myself. Did I measure accurately, did I read the fuel level correctly, did I actually see what I thought I saw? Because once the door is shut, there's no way to go back and check the level again. I decided it was just too stressful and I'd just have to stick to two hour or less legs. It just wasn't any fun.

Side note - this was easier in the C where it's pretty easy to know if the takes are full to the brim or not. In the K with the damn flappers, you never know exactly how much fuel you have.

Now with CiES digital senders in the tanks and connected to a EDM-900 digital gauges, I can continually monitor fuel and know at all times exactly how much I have on board and which tank it's in. I now fly stress free 5 hour legs if I really want to stretch it out. I'm also not tankering fuel around needlessly. I'm confident taking off with 40 gal on board and knowing it's actually 40 gal. 

I have no financial interest in either CiES or JPI. I'm just getting a lot more enjoyment from a stress free fuel system, than I was before.

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And this is largely what drove me to give up the dip-stick and get proper and accurate senders installed in the tanks and hooked up to reliable fuel gauges. I'd be cruising along and start second guessing myself. Did I measure accurately, did I read the fuel level correctly, did I actually see what I thought I saw? Because once the door is shut, there's no way to go back and check the level again. I decided it was just too stressful and I'd just have to stick to two hour or less legs. It just wasn't any fun.
Side note - this was easier in the C where it's pretty easy to know if the takes are full to the brim or not. In the K with the damn flappers, you never know exactly how much fuel you have.
Now with CiES digital senders in the tanks and connected to a EDM-900 digital gauges, I can continually monitor fuel and know at all times exactly how much I have on board and which tank it's in. I now fly stress free 5 hour legs if I really want to stretch it out. I'm also not tankering fuel around needlessly. I'm confident taking off with 40 gal on board and knowing it's actually 40 gal. 
I have no financial interest in either CiES or JPI. I'm just getting a lot more enjoyment from a stress free fuel system, than I was before.
Ditto. Except I don't mind carrying extra fuel. It's just me and 64 gallons of avgas going up to shoot practice approaches for an hour.

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On 11/20/2018 at 3:33 PM, chrixxer said:

I checked both tanks visually before we departed (albeit at night, and on a slope (transient at REI)), and saw fuel. From experience, if I can see any fuel below the filler opening, that's at least 8 gallons left in the tank.

@chrixxer, thank you for sharing your story. A couple of things I find a little confusing. Maybe in retrospect you have also thought about them. One is that if you see any fuel it’s at least 8 gal. Where does that assumption come from? Also wouldn’t you want to fill your tanks and have one less thing to worry about? Especially since you describe multiple trips and some at night?

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"Looking" into my tanks [26 gal each] is wasted effort, as it will only tell me:  1) yep, it's full; 2) hey, it's empty; 3) there's some fuel there, but I can't tell how much. To know what is actually there requires dipping with my calibrated stick, 'cause even after 11 years of ownership my guesses are still pretty wild. Being based without fuel, knowing how much is in there is important.

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21 minutes ago, m20kmooney said:

@chrixxer, thank you for sharing your story. A couple of things I find a little confusing. Maybe in retrospect you have also thought about them. One is that if you see any fuel it’s at least 8 gal. Where does that assumption come from? Also wouldn’t you want to fill your tanks and have one less thing to worry about? Especially since you describe multiple trips and some at night?

I have always found on my two Mooneys that if the top of the fuel is straight down below the filler there is 5 gallons in the tank. This is with a 67 M20F and a 77 M20J both essentially the same plane.

I will not take off if I cannot see fuel in both tanks. 

 

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3 hours ago, gsxrpilot said:

And this is largely what drove me to give up the dip-stick and get proper and accurate senders installed in the tanks and hooked up to reliable fuel gauges. I'd be cruising along and start second guessing myself. Did I measure accurately, did I read the fuel level correctly, did I actually see what I thought I saw? Because once the door is shut, there's no way to go back and check the level again. I decided it was just too stressful and I'd just have to stick to two hour or less legs. It just wasn't any fun.

I dip the tanks every time and write it down on my pad when I dip them. Even so, there are a number of times I have finished the pre-flight and gone back to dip them again because I'm second guessing myself.

It's the same reason I will check that the house doors are locked an extra time before going to bed, take an extra look back at the garage door as I pull away to make sure I really did close it, or the one that annoys my 14yo the most, locking the car door (hearing it beep that it's locked) and still pulling up on the handle "just to make sure."

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I have extended range tanks. My personal rule for a flight is to have enough fuel to go to my destination and back twice.  I get real nervous when my fuel gauge reads below 10 GAL per tank, so much so I can’t even remember the last time I let it get that low. 

However after someone put JET-A in my tanks my biggest fear is not detecting fuel contamination. I’ve started to become real familiar with the color and smell of 100LL. 

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44 minutes ago, Hank said:

"Looking" into my tanks [26 gal each] is wasted effort, as it will only tell me:  1) yep, it's full; 2) hey, it's empty; 3) there's some fuel there, but I can't tell how much. To know what is actually there requires dipping with my calibrated stick, 'cause even after 11 years of ownership my guesses are still pretty wild. Being based without fuel, knowing how much is in there is important.

Exactly. A visual check is pretty limited at best.

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2 hours ago, jetdriven said:

Exactly. A visual check is pretty limited at best.

I don't know. After 24 years of Mooney ownership and almost 5000 hours in Mooneys. I can look in the tank and tell within 15 minutes how much fuel is in there. I've never even ran a tank dry.

If you can't do that then use whatever works for you.

If I'm going on a maximum range trip, I always top off or fill to the tabs so I know how much I have. I never use the gas gauges for any kind of planning, they are just there to tell me if I sprung a leak or not.

BTW

About a year and a half ago I was working on one of my tanks and installed one of the two mechanical gauges I have. That thing is dead nuts on. You can use it for planning. If the other tank doesn't start leaking soon I'm just going to have to pull the panel and install the other one.

Edited by N201MKTurbo
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