|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1801 To 2400|
|Locale Reference||airport : sac|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 10000
|Controlling Facilities||tracon : mcc|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
pilot : instrument
|Experience||flight time total : 2100|
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||controller : approach|
|Qualification||controller : radar|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
non adherence : far
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
VFR flight from toa to sac departed approximately XA00 hours. Takeoff, climb 1 hour cruise on left tank of high winged small aircraft. I had been cruising at 12500 on right tank for 30 mins. When I was to start my VFR descent, I decided to switch back to the left tank since the fuel gauge showed fuel remaining and I wanted to burn down the left tank, leaving the right tank with as much fuel as possible at low altitude and on final approach. When the left tank 'ran dry' even though the gauge still showed 10-15 pounds, I switched to the right tank,. However, I did not regain power. I knew there was plenty of fuel in the right tank but possibly it would not feed properly. Meanwhile the fuel gauge for the left tank still showed same indication of fuel present so in desperation, I switched back to the left tank. When I couldn't get any fuel flow from the left, I switched back to the right, and finally with full rich mixture and emergency fuel pump on, I got power back, but by that time I had to retard the throttle to idle to descend. I landed safely with engine at idle power. On rollout the engine stopped which in retrospect was probably because the mixture was full rich. The next morning the right tank had between 1 and 2 inches of fuel as seen through the filler hole which was what my calculated remaining fuel was estimated to be.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: FUEL STARVATION AND POSSIBLE FUEL EXHAUSTION CREATES AN UNCOMFORTABLE DSCNT PROC FOR SMA PLT IN A NIGHT OP. LANDS SAFELY AT DEST ARPT.
Narrative: VFR FLT FROM TOA TO SAC DEPARTED APPROX XA00 HRS. TKOF, CLB 1 HR CRUISE ON L TANK OF HIGH WINGED SMA. I HAD BEEN CRUISING AT 12500 ON R TANK FOR 30 MINS. WHEN I WAS TO START MY VFR DSCNT, I DECIDED TO SWITCH BACK TO THE L TANK SINCE THE FUEL GAUGE SHOWED FUEL REMAINING AND I WANTED TO BURN DOWN THE L TANK, LEAVING THE R TANK WITH AS MUCH FUEL AS POSSIBLE AT LOW ALT AND ON FINAL APCH. WHEN THE L TANK 'RAN DRY' EVEN THOUGH THE GAUGE STILL SHOWED 10-15 POUNDS, I SWITCHED TO THE R TANK,. HOWEVER, I DID NOT REGAIN PWR. I KNEW THERE WAS PLENTY OF FUEL IN THE R TANK BUT POSSIBLY IT WOULD NOT FEED PROPERLY. MEANWHILE THE FUEL GAUGE FOR THE L TANK STILL SHOWED SAME INDICATION OF FUEL PRESENT SO IN DESPERATION, I SWITCHED BACK TO THE L TANK. WHEN I COULDN'T GET ANY FUEL FLOW FROM THE L, I SWITCHED BACK TO THE R, AND FINALLY WITH FULL RICH MIXTURE AND EMER FUEL PUMP ON, I GOT PWR BACK, BUT BY THAT TIME I HAD TO RETARD THE THROTTLE TO IDLE TO DSND. I LANDED SAFELY WITH ENG AT IDLE PWR. ON ROLLOUT THE ENG STOPPED WHICH IN RETROSPECT WAS PROBABLY BECAUSE THE MIXTURE WAS FULL RICH. THE NEXT MORNING THE R TANK HAD BTWN 1 AND 2 INCHES OF FUEL AS SEEN THROUGH THE FILLER HOLE WHICH WAS WHAT MY CALCULATED REMAINING FUEL WAS ESTIMATED TO BE.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 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.