Saturday, June 10, 2017

New Zealand: Fuel app (with video)

On average, 60 New Zealand pilots crash or have a close call every year because they either run out of fuel, their fuel is contaminated or it simply can't get through to the engine.

In what is thought to be a world-first, the Civil Aviation Authority is launching a safety app at 'Fuel for Thought' seminars round the country.

"The new app we're launching will help pilots better understand the fuel system of each aircraft they fly," says the CAA's Safety Advisor Carlton Campbell.

"If they can do that, it will reduce the chances of them having to take emergency actions."

In 2014, the dramatic beach landing of a Jabiru microlight at Martin's Bay, north of Auckland, highlighted one problem pilots face.

"When we put the new fuel line through we did not check or measure the flow," owner Dennis Horne recounts in a CAA video being shown at the seminars.

The result was a kink in the fuel line.

Around 40 percent of near-misses or crashes in light aircraft are linked to engine troubles, including fuel contamination, fuel exhaustion (no more in the tanks) or fuel starvation (it's there, but can't get through).

The Civil Aviation Authority's new app aims to change that.

"It's something to be used at home, on the ground, it's not an inflight tool. It's particularly important when you go on a new type of aircraft," says Mr Campbell.

Designed to help pilots understand the unique fuel system of each individual plane, the APP is a detailed how-to guide that could well save lives.

"Sometimes pilots might be flying multiple aircrafts, they might have different fuel pumps, you can have a boost pump or you can have a auxiliary pump. The better trained and the more current we are, the less likely we are to make those human errors."

The CAA says errors often crop up with fuel dipsticks, which are unique to each plane.

In a South Auckland Cessna crash in 2014, the trainee pilot and instructor were lucky to walk away after using another plane's dipstick - an inaccurate fuel reading meant they were 14 litres short. 

The CAA's new campaign is also big on best-practice refuelling. Using plastic jerry cans or containers, for instance, can introduce water into the fuel.

"Water and other contaminants settle at the bottom of the container, so make sure you don't completely empty it into the aircraft."

Common-sense? Not always.

The CAA hopes the app will help recreational pilots take reminders like this on board.

Story and video:

No comments:

Post a Comment