August 2010 Issue

Finessing Fuel

There are lots of reasons you might be eating into your reserves. Slowing down means greater range and more time to come up with a solution.

Few in-flight emotions evoke more sweat and discomfort than when you’re unexpectedly low on go-juice and aren’t sure your remaining fuel is enough to keep the engine spinning until touchdown. If ever you’ve experienced the accompanying emotional swing, you already know that they stay with you. First comes disbelief—"I can’t be that short...." Next comes the quiet surge of adrenaline-juiced anxiety between asking yourself the useless rhetorical question—"How did this happen?"—and when you turn to a useful one: "What do I do to survive this?" For the lucky, the final wave of emotions comes after the airplane is on the ground intact, on a real runway with the engine running...if, that is, you’re really living well.

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