Pilots say they’re being blamed for plane crashes that aren’t their fault

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Wanttaja

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Ron:

What was the approximate time between your pumping fuel and the first indication of engine roughness?
About ten to fifteen minutes. I checked the fuel again just prior to starting the engine. This was at a local uncontrolled field, short taxi to the end of the runway. Airport was completely surrounded by forest, was lucky the problem didn't start earlier.

Ron Wanttaja
 

Tiger Tim

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Then who’s fault is it?
If you’ve got enough water in the fuel system to down the plane, is it your responsibility to check as PIC?
What if you check before flight but your 172 is sitting on just enough of a slope that the water in the tank isn’t gathered around the test drain? That’s the problem as I understand it and the reason Cessna puts 14(?!) drains on the new ones.

I figure Beech’s ‘Minimum Fuel for Takeoff’ placard is silly and excessive but a thing like correcting drain points that don’t really indicate a problem in all conditions is a good idea. Alternatives I guess would be a bubble level somewhere on the plane to ensure the correct attitude for fuel testing, or perhaps increasing the unusable fuel quantity.
 

Riggerrob

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What if you check before flight but your 172 is sitting on just enough of a slope that the water in the tank isn’t gathered around the test drain? That’s the problem as I understand it and the reason Cessna puts 14(?!) drains on the new ones.

I figure Beech’s ‘Minimum Fuel for Takeoff’ placard is silly and excessive but a thing like correcting drain points that don’t really indicate a problem in all conditions is a good idea. Alternatives I guess would be a bubble level somewhere on the plane to ensure the correct attitude for fuel testing, or perhaps increasing the unusable fuel quantity.

Bubble levels are readily available for RVs and trailers and other camping vehicles that depend upon propane-powered refrigerators that only chill when perfectly level.
You could install level(s) inside with zero FAA paperwork. Outside might require a Form 337.
Perhaps the best compromise is installing levels inside where they can easily be seen through an open door or window.
 

Tiger Tim

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Perhaps the best compromise is installing levels inside where they can easily be seen through an open door or window.
While I agree on the surface, how far will you be willing to move your airplane to find a level spot to sump the tanks?
 

Pops

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I always check the fuel after refueling. Always. I also consist on installing my fuel caps. If I don't get to, removing and reinstalling the caps is part of my pre-flight inspection. One time a line boy installed (jammed) the cap on backwards. I caught it and took about an hour with tools to get it lose and reinstalled correctly. Tank vent was backwards on the cap.
 

Dana

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Bubble levels are readily available for RVs and trailers and other camping vehicles that depend upon propane-powered refrigerators that only chill when perfectly level.
You could install level(s) inside with zero FAA paperwork. Outside might require a Form 337.
Perhaps the best compromise is installing levels inside where they can easily be seen through an open door or window.
Most planes already have a level for side to side...
 
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Bille Floyd

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Would this work , to recognize water in your gas line ? :

Install a 32oz seethrough cylinder header tank that could
be seen from the pilot cockpit ; have the feed-line to the engine
1/2 way up that cylinder, so 5 to 8oz of water wouldn't go to
the carb if any were in the header-tank. A drain pump, on the
bottom, could suck the water out if any were noticed.

Bille
 
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Wanttaja

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Part of the problem is that planes don't necessarily sit level on the ground...most have somewhat of a nose-high attitude. The quick drain isn't always located at the extreme rear of the tank.
c150 side view.jpg
Also, planes with bladder-type fuel tanks can develop wrinkles, and said wrinkles can trap water. IIRC, you're supposed to shake the wings during preflight to help chase the water out....

Ron Wanttaja
 
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challenger_II

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You recall correctly, sir. Rock the wings, wait a bit, drain.
Love the FastBack 150 you used for the demo. :)

Part of the problem is that planes don't necessarily sit level on the ground...most have somewhat of a nose-high attitude. The quick drain isn't usually locate at the extreme rear of the tank.
View attachment 125567
Also, planes with bladder-type fuel tanks can develop wrinkles, and said wrinkles can trap water. IIRC, you're supposed to shake the wings during preflight to help chase the water out....

Ron Wanttaja
 

Bill-Higdon

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Part of the problem is that planes don't necessarily sit level on the ground...most have somewhat of a nose-high attitude. The quick drain isn't always located at the extreme rear of the tank.
View attachment 125567
Also, planes with bladder-type fuel tanks can develop wrinkles, and said wrinkles can trap water. IIRC, you're supposed to shake the wings during preflight to help chase the water out....

Ron Wanttaja
I ran into a water issue where I gotrefuled a C-172 before I took off, I drained a fuel sample before & after the refueling they were good. I took off from Ogden Utah headed to Black Foot Idaho. I flew north to Brigham City, then turned east south of Logan while over the mountains between Logan Utah & Bear Lake the engine started running rough. I landed at Soda Springs airport talked to the mechanic at the FBO their he said to wait about 1/2 hour. So I used their restroom & drank some coffee he brought out a bucket to the plane & we drained 1.5 gallons waterout. He said he'd call the FBO I got the water from. I also never used that FBO again
 

Dana

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My '41 Taylorcraft lived outdoors for most of the time I owned it, and I was always draining water. Fortunately, though the tank itself had no drain it had an old style glass gascolator so I could see just what was in it, and the pickup was at the low point of the tank. Only once did I have a problem, which put me on the ground in a little field out in the NJ Pine Barrens* wherupon I drained several gascolator's worth of water and crud before restarting and taking off again. I had just filled up for the first time from the FBO's brand new fuel truck and even though I sumped my tank afterwards, it must've not all settled yet.

* Once on the ground, I noticed an old windsock frame rusting in the weeds, and somebody told me later that there was an old cropduster's field in the area.

My Hatz has a single wing tank with pickups at each of the four corners, all teeing together above the gascolator. It lives indoors and I've never seen any water.
 

D Hillberg

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pop the lid on a fuel truck on unlevel ground and look down into the fuel and you'll see the big bubbles of water below sitting at the low end away from the drains and pickup....
You can guess you'll be on the ramp with a trunk pick up down hill - Where'd all that water come from?
 

BJC

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I flew north to Brigham City, then turned east south of Logan while over the mountains between Logan Utah & Bear Lake the engine started running rough.
That is not very friendly land to be flying over with a rough engine.

Some years ago, with a smoothly running engine, my daughter and I departed from Logan, headed toward Bear Lake. While climbing through the cut, (see photo) we had 60+ knot tailwinds. Once we were at altitude, the tailwinds lessened, but they never were below 42 knots all the way to Cheyenne, where we turned toward Dodge City. Memorable flight.
1652743611511.jpeg

BJC
 
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Pilot-34

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Most of me is in IL but my hearts in Alaska
I ran into a water issue where I gotrefuled a C-172 before I took off, I drained a fuel sample before & after the refueling they were good. I took off from Ogden Utah headed to Black Foot Idaho. I flew north to Brigham City, then turned east south of Logan while over the mountains between Logan Utah & Bear Lake the engine started running rough. I landed at Soda Springs airport talked to the mechanic at the FBO their he said to wait about 1/2 hour. So I used their restroom & drank some coffee he brought out a bucket to the plane & we drained 1.5 gallons waterout. He said he'd call the FBO I got the water from. I also never used that FBO again

How did you know where you picked up the water?
 

speedracer

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That is not very friendly land to be flying over with a rough engine.

Some years ago, with a smoothly running engine, my daughter and I departed from Logan, headed toward Bear Lake. While climbing through the cut, (see photo) we had 60+ knot tailwinds. Once we were at altitude, the tailwinds lessened, but they never were below 42 knots all the way to Cheyenne, where we turned toward Dodge City. Memorable flight.
View attachment 125575

BJC
Many years ago I was headed home to Oregon in my Long EZ up the Owens Valley. The weather ahead looked terrible so I made the unwise decision to cross the Sierra's to the Sacramento Valley. Around Lone Pine I hung a left. I had a (record for me) 80 MPH headwind at 18,000'. I couldn't have picked a worse place to cross. When I was over Mt. Whitney I was only 3,495' above the terrain with a ground speed of 120 MPH. I was very nervous for about 40 minutes knowing that there's no place to land in that terrain without getting killed. Turned out the weather didn't improve over there either so I had to land and spend the night in Willow, CA. It rained like crazy that night and the next morning the weather was beautiful.
 

PiperCruisin

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Flying my Cherokee from GA to ID, I stopped at Gainesville, TX for the night. I refueled in the evening and the next morning checked the sumps and probably pulled out a cup or two of water. I've never seen more than a drop or two in all my years. It was getting to be a boring preflight check till I had that happen.
 

BJC

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Flying my Cherokee from GA to ID, I stopped at Gainesville, TX for the night. I refueled in the evening and the next morning checked the sumps and probably pulled out a cup or two of water. I've never seen more than a drop or two in all my years. It was getting to be a boring preflight check till I had that happen.
I’ve found water in CAP airplanes, as well as rental airplanes, but found water only once in an airplane that I owned. That one time was after refueling my A152 at a county airport. I drained three or four cups of water after pumping about 20 gallons.


BJC
 
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