|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : mcb|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 8500|
msl bound upper : 8500
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zhu|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, Low Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Route In Use||enroute : on vectors|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
pilot : instrument
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 42|
flight time total : 311
flight time type : 210
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : radar|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||controller : provided flight assist|
flight crew : declared emergency
none taken : unable
|Consequence||faa : assigned or threatened penalties|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
Having flown my fuel injected small aircraft for over 200 hours on several long trips of 4-4 1/2 hours at altitude I was pretty familiar with its fuel consumption. On these trips using 23' mp and egt to 25 degrees below peak I had always managed to have 6-8 gals of fuel remaining. On this particular day I was at 8500' VFR with everything going nicely. However, at my 3 hour mark, I noticed my fuel gauges reading what I thought was a little low for 3 hours. I reverified my mixture setting to 25 degrees below peak, calculated fuel remaining, gndspd and decided I should have regulated fuel to make mcb. Over the next 1/2 hour fuel consumption was about 14 gph according to the gauges, which I know could not have a leak in the fuel system somewhere. I contacted ZHU and told them fuel consumption was above normal. I was 30 mins from mcb and needed to stop there for furl. I also asked for vectors to mcb. Center was very helpful with this request. I made visibility contact with mcb at approximately 6000' and 8 mi, advised center and changed frequency to 123.6 (CTAF). I asked for winds and traffic and advised them of my situation and told them I would like to be #1 to land. Also I told them I would make a downwind landing. Normal gumps checklist was made, but on my turn to base and final the engine began to sputter (probably due to fuel sloshing to one side of the tank). A normal landing was made and turn around. I taxied back some distance but engine continued to sputter. Rather than suck my fuel injection dry or get trash in the system, I shut the engine off and requested a tow. Fuel was placed in both tanks and engine uncowled to inspect for leaks. None were found. However, while preflting I noticed left main fuel sump drain with a slow but steady drip. I checked this tank and found several small pieces of trash in the fuel. After repeated drainings the trash disappeared and fuel drain quit leaking. I remained on the ground approximately 20 mins and no further leak was noted. I then departed for btr knowing I had enough fuel to make btr in the right tank. I made btr west/O any incident and have not had a problem since. This could have been avoided if I had made a better effort to observe drain for leaks before departing original destination. Also steep bank on final should have been avoided. Comments: ZHU was very helpful with radar vectors. Mc comb FSS personnel were rude had a gross misunderstanding of the situation and misquoted me on frequency while trying to gather facts about the situation. I never said I was, 'running out of fuel' or declared an 'emergency situation.' callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: the reporter states that he was unable to determine if there was or was not a fuel leak in his aircraft. He did say that no fuel stains were present, but he could not account for the increased fuel consumption he feels caused this incident. It appears the reporter was not disposed to be cooperative when questioned about the occurrence by FSS. Further, he has resisted attempts by FAA to investigate the matter. This may have led to the conversation he has now had with FAA wherein they indicated their intention to investigate and to attempt to assign a certificate suspension.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ACFT RAN LOW ON FUEL, DIVERTED TO REFUELING ARPT, MADE DOWNWIND LNDG AND WAS TOWED FROM RWY.
Narrative: HAVING FLOWN MY FUEL INJECTED SMA FOR OVER 200 HRS ON SEVERAL LONG TRIPS OF 4-4 1/2 HRS AT ALT I WAS PRETTY FAMILIAR WITH ITS FUEL CONSUMPTION. ON THESE TRIPS USING 23' MP AND EGT TO 25 DEGS BELOW PEAK I HAD ALWAYS MANAGED TO HAVE 6-8 GALS OF FUEL REMAINING. ON THIS PARTICULAR DAY I WAS AT 8500' VFR WITH EVERYTHING GOING NICELY. HOWEVER, AT MY 3 HR MARK, I NOTICED MY FUEL GAUGES READING WHAT I THOUGHT WAS A LITTLE LOW FOR 3 HRS. I REVERIFIED MY MIXTURE SETTING TO 25 DEGS BELOW PEAK, CALCULATED FUEL REMAINING, GNDSPD AND DECIDED I SHOULD HAVE REGULATED FUEL TO MAKE MCB. OVER THE NEXT 1/2 HR FUEL CONSUMPTION WAS ABOUT 14 GPH ACCORDING TO THE GAUGES, WHICH I KNOW COULD NOT HAVE A LEAK IN THE FUEL SYS SOMEWHERE. I CONTACTED ZHU AND TOLD THEM FUEL CONSUMPTION WAS ABOVE NORMAL. I WAS 30 MINS FROM MCB AND NEEDED TO STOP THERE FOR FURL. I ALSO ASKED FOR VECTORS TO MCB. CENTER WAS VERY HELPFUL WITH THIS REQUEST. I MADE VIS CONTACT WITH MCB AT APPROX 6000' AND 8 MI, ADVISED CENTER AND CHANGED FREQ TO 123.6 (CTAF). I ASKED FOR WINDS AND TFC AND ADVISED THEM OF MY SITUATION AND TOLD THEM I WOULD LIKE TO BE #1 TO LAND. ALSO I TOLD THEM I WOULD MAKE A DOWNWIND LNDG. NORMAL GUMPS CHKLIST WAS MADE, BUT ON MY TURN TO BASE AND FINAL THE ENG BEGAN TO SPUTTER (PROBABLY DUE TO FUEL SLOSHING TO ONE SIDE OF THE TANK). A NORMAL LNDG WAS MADE AND TURN AROUND. I TAXIED BACK SOME DISTANCE BUT ENG CONTINUED TO SPUTTER. RATHER THAN SUCK MY FUEL INJECTION DRY OR GET TRASH IN THE SYS, I SHUT THE ENG OFF AND REQUESTED A TOW. FUEL WAS PLACED IN BOTH TANKS AND ENG UNCOWLED TO INSPECT FOR LEAKS. NONE WERE FOUND. HOWEVER, WHILE PREFLTING I NOTICED LEFT MAIN FUEL SUMP DRAIN WITH A SLOW BUT STEADY DRIP. I CHKED THIS TANK AND FOUND SEVERAL SMALL PIECES OF TRASH IN THE FUEL. AFTER REPEATED DRAININGS THE TRASH DISAPPEARED AND FUEL DRAIN QUIT LEAKING. I REMAINED ON THE GND APPROX 20 MINS AND NO FURTHER LEAK WAS NOTED. I THEN DEPARTED FOR BTR KNOWING I HAD ENOUGH FUEL TO MAKE BTR IN THE RIGHT TANK. I MADE BTR W/O ANY INCIDENT AND HAVE NOT HAD A PROB SINCE. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF I HAD MADE A BETTER EFFORT TO OBSERVE DRAIN FOR LEAKS BEFORE DEPARTING ORIGINAL DEST. ALSO STEEP BANK ON FINAL SHOULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. COMMENTS: ZHU WAS VERY HELPFUL WITH RADAR VECTORS. MC COMB FSS PERSONNEL WERE RUDE HAD A GROSS MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE SITUATION AND MISQUOTED ME ON FREQ WHILE TRYING TO GATHER FACTS ABOUT THE SITUATION. I NEVER SAID I WAS, 'RUNNING OUT OF FUEL' OR DECLARED AN 'EMER SITUATION.' CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: THE RPTR STATES THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO DETERMINE IF THERE WAS OR WAS NOT A FUEL LEAK IN HIS ACFT. HE DID SAY THAT NO FUEL STAINS WERE PRESENT, BUT HE COULD NOT ACCOUNT FOR THE INCREASED FUEL CONSUMPTION HE FEELS CAUSED THIS INCIDENT. IT APPEARS THE RPTR WAS NOT DISPOSED TO BE COOPERATIVE WHEN QUESTIONED ABOUT THE OCCURRENCE BY FSS. FURTHER, HE HAS RESISTED ATTEMPTS BY FAA TO INVESTIGATE THE MATTER. THIS MAY HAVE LED TO THE CONVERSATION HE HAS NOW HAD WITH FAA WHEREIN THEY INDICATED THEIR INTENTION TO INVESTIGATE AND TO ATTEMPT TO ASSIGN A CERTIFICATE SUSPENSION.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.