August 2001 Issue

Neglected Pit Stops

Fuel exhaustion comes in many forms, but usually boils down to the pilot not paying attention

Among the most avoidable mishaps are those caused by fuel exhaustion. Most of them seem inexcusable, yet virtually every pilot has flirted with this danger at one time or another.

You may pass up refueling at a major metropolitan airport because of the price. Or you’re in a hurry and rationalize that you can make it with good leaning or tail winds – especially if you’ve made the same trip before. If the winds are not as forecast or your leaning is a bit off, you could be in for trouble. Ditto if you fail to recheck the weather en route and arrive to find it below minimums.

According to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Nall Report there were 95 accidents due to fuel exhaustion in 1998...

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