An exciting new AOPA Air Safety Foundation seminar will bring new light to a dark corner of general aviation safety: fuel management. The interactive, two-hour ASF "Fuel Awareness" seminar debuts in New York state June 25 and will be presented in locations across the country through the end of 2001.
While the seminar focuses on avoiding fuel-related accidents, it can also help pilots save money. It includes helpful hints on getting the most miles from each gallon of aviation fuel.
Funding for the free seminar was provided by the FAA's Aviation Safety Program and the Air Safety Foundation. The companion Safety Advisor pamphlet was sponsored by Phillips 66 Aviation Fuels.
"Fuel-related accidents occur at the rate of more than one per week," said ASF Vice President for Operations John Steuernagle. "Almost all of these accidents could have been prevented with better preflight planning, diligent fuel consumption monitoring, and better knowledge of aircraft fuel systems."
Using fast-paced video clips and discussion guides, the "Fuel Awareness" presentation explains the difference between fuel exhaustion (running out of fuel) and fuel mismanagement (having fuel on board but not allowing it to reach the engine).
Most aircraft involved in fuel-related accidents crash with no fuel left in the tanks. That's a clear indication of faulty preflight planning, poor in-flight decisions, or both. "About the only good thing that can be said about fuel exhaustion accidents is that there is rarely a post-impact fire," observed Steuernagle dryly.
In other fuel-management accidents analyzed in the new seminar, pilots take off without a full understanding of an aircraft's fuel system. Auxiliary tanks, some with elaborate fuel cross-feed options, often contribute to fuel mismanagement problems that lead to unexpected engine stoppage.
Seminar participants will also learn proper leaning techniques. Performance charts published in the pilot's operating handbook (POH) are based on optimum conditions and a properly leaned engine. However, many pilots are not taught proper leaning procedure, and thus use far more fuel than the POH information predicts.
Participants will also receive a copy of ASF's Safety Advisor, Fuel Awareness, a 12-page illustrated booklet that adds details and case histories of fuel-related accidents to the seminar information. The Fuel Awareness Safety Advisor is also available separately, at no cost, on the AOPA Web site.
"Pilots attending the "Fuel Awareness" seminar will not only learn how to avoid fuel mismanagement accidents, but also can learn how to get the most miles per gallon from increasingly expensive fuel," Steuernagle said.
The schedule of all ASF seminars is available online.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation, the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to safety research and education for general aviation pilots, is funded largely by donations from individual pilots and companies. Since ASF's founding in 1950, the GA accident rate has dropped by some 90 percent.