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August 1, 2012
By Ian J. Twombly
The old joke says that fuel quantity indicators are only correct when they read empty. The principals of CIES Inc., an aviation engineering company, saw opportunity in the humor. They announced last week the development of what they say is a revolutionary new fuel quantity indicating system that will initially be available on all new Cirrus aircraft.
The system throws out the float technology, and instead sends a digital signal to the fuel quantity gauges, making them almost perfectly accurate, according to tests. The digital senders even have the ability to tell a multifunction display when they have stopped working properly.
Although currently only available on newly produced Cirrus aircraft, Scott Philiben, the president of CIES, said he is working with a partner to make them available as a supplemental type certificate on other Cirrus aircraft in the near future. Soon after, he hopes to have a master STC that will make them available on 85 percent of general aviation aircraft.
AOPA Pilot and Flight Training Editor Ian J. Twombly joined AOPA in 2003 and is an instrument flight instructor.
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