March 2010 Issue

Top Four Fuel Exhaustion Excuses

Many pilots think running out of fuel is in the same category of a gear-up landing: It can never happen to them, until it does. While there may be several good reasons for landing with the gear still stowed, we can think of only two for running out of fuel. One of them involves fuel starvationóthereís fuel aboard, but it canít get to the engine. In our view, the only time this excuse holds water is when it involves some kind of mechanical eventóthe fuel selector breaks off in the pilotís hand between detents, for example, or a transfer pump fails. The only other legitimate excuse for running out of gas is when the weather caves and thereís literally no place to land within our dwindling range. And thatís rare enough we couldnít find any recent examples, although they may be out there.

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