June 2016 Issue

Run It Dry?

If you need every last drop of fuel in that tank, you may be doing it wrong.

Way back in the mid-1980s, when I purchased a 1946 Cessna 120—the same week I earned my private pilot certificate—I received my taildragger checkout from Mr. W.E. Dierking in Higginsville, Mo. “Dirk” had taught U.S. Navy cadets in Waco biplanes during WWII, and he sure taught me a lot about flying! One of the techniques Dirk suggested was to take off with the fuel selector on the left tank (there was no “both” position in the ’46 Cessna), fly for an hour, and write down the time aloft.

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