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Running 3 of 4 tanks dry in a Cherokee? I admit I do it

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Apr 13, 2010
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Dear all,

It has been discussed in another thread already, but as I don't like to hijack that thread, I'll start a new one.

Also I don't like to start a wild flame war, but seriously discuss this matter.

I own a 235B here in Germany. The plane features four tanks, total 82 US gal of fuel. We use our plane a lot for travel. Actually I'm just coming back from a long weekend trip to Hungary.
Trip details are as follows:
LHFM-LHJK-LHFM-EDNR-EDRF, 633 nm, filled up with 67 US gal of Mogas, which means I had 15 US gal remaining.

In 2009 I've been in Northern Germany:
EDFC-EDFM-EDXM-EDXY-EDFN-EDFM, 632 nm, filled with 65 US gal, reserve being 17 US gal.

2007 a trip to Hamburg + some local flights:
EDFM-EDDH-EDFM-EDFV-EDRF, 608 nm, 67 US gal, reserve being 15 US gal.

The remaining fuel on all those trips has been around 15 US gal, worth more than 1 hours flight time. The same amount, spread out over four tanks, would have been around 4 US gal per tank, or just 15 minutes flight time per tank, in which case I wouldn't have felt comfortable to use any of those tanks, with the fuel gauges lingering near empty.

I prefer to have my remaining fuel located in ONE tank, where I can use it.

Running the other tanks dry is a real non-event: you just monitor the fuel pressure, if it drops, switch the tank. If you miss it and the engine sputters: switch the tank, flic on the fuel pump, and after latest 3 seconds the engine roars back to live. The prop does not stop (it's windmilling), if you don't fumble around with mixture and just keep it at the actual setting the engine will start again.
I haven't seen evidence of cavitation on our fuel pump yet.

BTW, timing the fuel consumption seems to be far more accurat than relying on the faulty fuel gauges.

I fully accept if people are not willing to do this, because they fear the engine sputtering (it really get's your attention the first time).

Arguments and comments welcome, but try to keep the flames away ;)

Markus, DEEBU, based EDFM

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