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2.1 AIRCRAFT FUEL SYSTEM An aircraft's fuel system has a more profound effect on aircraft performance than any other airframe system. Without fuel, the mission inevitably comes to an abrupt stop and, unless the flight crew is very, very lucky, the ensuing forced landing will cause severe or catastrophic aircraft damage. That reality has been a great motivator for turbine aircraft designers, builders, maintainers and pilots for the past 60 years. Most fuel system designs, as a result, are very robust and very reliable in service, assuming they're properly maintained and operated.] Most modern aircraft are equipped with 2 or more fuel tanks (or cells). In high wing aircraft, the cells are housed in the wings. Since they are higher than the engine, the fuel flows down to the engine by the force of gravity. On low wing aircraft fuel pumps are required. To initially get fuel to the engine for starting, an electrical “boost pump” is turned on to pump fuel to the engine. After the engine is started, a mechanical fuel pump driven by the engine feeds fuel to the engine. The electric boost pump can now be turned off. Each fuel tank is equipped with a drain valve located at the lowest point in the tank. This drain allows the pilot during preflight walk-around to check for and drain off any water which may have accumulated in the fuel tank. There is usually another drain located at the lowest part of the fuel piping system. This valve must also be drained during pre-flight to eliminate any water which may have accumulated in the fuel lines. Associated with this drain is a fuel strainer which filters out foreign matter which may be in the fuel system.

Pilots of low wing aircraft should exercise caution in their fuel management if tank selection is other than both. A fuel selector valve located inside the cockpit allows the pilot to select which tank(s) are to be in use during flight. fuel may expand and overflow through the vent when tanks are full. It allows the pilot to adjust the fuel/air ratio entering the engine. the intake air becomes less dense. . Running a tank dry can cause the engine to quit and vapour lock to occur in the fuel lines. Inside the cockpit a fuel mixture control and a fuel primer pump are located on the instrument panel. The mixture control is used to adjust the air/fuel mixture for the altitude being flown. The fuel primer is a plunger that can be used in cold weather to inject fuel directly into the carburetor as an assist in starting the engine in cold conditions. If leaning is not accomplished by the pilot.A vent line allows air to enter the tank as fuel is used. the selector should be set to both for take-off and landing. a rich mixture (too much fuel) results. During hot weather. An additional gauge called an Exhaust Gas Temperature Gauge can be installed in the aircraft as an aid in achieving the proper “leaning” of the engine. This is not only wasteful of fuel. Most small aircraft operate with the selector set on both. As altitude is gained. Less fuel must be fed through the carburetor to permit the fuel/air mixture to remain correct proportion. such that both the left and right fuel tanks are simultaneous feeding fuel to the engine. but can result in fouled spark plugs due to carbon and soot buildup on the spark plugs. It may be impossible to restart the engine under these conditions. The pilot may set the selector on Left or Right tank as a means of equalizing the loading of the aircraft. Usually.

which is 1/4 of the full fuel quantity indication. so the weight you read on the gauges determines range. The lower 1/4 of the fuel gauge.1: Analog Fuel Gauge . as the fuel quantity reaches the minimum or low level. Therefore. This system is utilized in aircraft to inform or send a warning to pilot and co-pilot in case of low fuel quantity in the aircraft tank. have about the same heating value per pound. regardless of density. the amount of potential energy that can be turned into horsepower or thrust. not the liquid volume.2 FUEL GAUGES The weight of the fuel on board. The most common types of fuel gauges are such as analog fuel gauge and digital fuel gauge. is marked with a red line as a caution to the pilot of a low fuel condition. the pilot can make a reasonable decision according to the situation to avoid any incidence. the low fuel warning light will illuminate. The gauges on aircraft are subject to a variety of indicator errors. Therefore. determines how far you can fly. Each pound of fuel has a specific heating value. there are different types of fuel gauges are utilized. In this new aviation generation. The pilot should therefore double check the fuel remaining based on the power setting of the engine in flight and time in flight.There is a fuel gauge in the cockpit for each fuel tank. Figure 2. In order to indicate pilot the fuel quantity in each aircraft tank. 2. The pilot should never rely on the fuel gauge as the sole measure of fuel remaining. All jet fuels. That's one reason why virtually all turbine aircraft fuel gauges indicate pounds or kilograms in the tanks rather than gallons or liters. it is necessary to mount fuel gauges on aircraft fuel panel.

Figure 2. pressing the "Qty test" button will start a self test of the display and the fuel quantity indicating system. each gauge will display any error codes that they may have.Simmonds 4 Tank Figure 2. .2: Digital Sunburst Fuel Gauges . After the test.3: Digital Sunburst Fuel Gauges – Smiths On the Digital Sunburst fuel gauges.

1: Digital Fuel Quantity Indicator Error Codes – Simmonds .Error Code Fuel Quantity Indicator Reading Zero Normal Zero Normal Zero Normal Zero Normal Zero Normal or zero Blank Probable Cause Gauges considered to be operating normally? No Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes No No No 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Missing or disconnected tank unit Tank contamination Bad HI-Z lead Bad compensator unit wiring Bad tank unit wiring Bad compensator unit Bad tank unit Contamination/water in compensator Bad fuel quantity indicator Improperly calibrated indicator Bad fuel quantity indicator Table 2.

2: Digital Fuel Quantity Indicator Error Codes – Smiths .Error Code Fuel Quantity Indicator Reading Normal Zero Normal Zero Zero Normal Zero (or ERR in flight) Blank Zero (or ERR in flight) Zero Probable Cause Gauges considered to be operating normally? Yes No Yes No No Yes No No No No 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Open or short in compensator LO-Z wiring Short circuit in compensator unit Too much leakage in compensator unit Open or short circuit in a LO-Z to a tank unit Short circuit in a tank unit Too much leakage in tank unit Calibration unit does not operate correctly An error in the DCTU data A problem with the indicator memory Open or short circuit in the HIZ line Table 2.

or repair. These tanks are commonly found in smaller general aviation aircraft. Bladder tanks are reinforced rubberized bags installed in a section of aircraft structure designed to accommodate the weight of the fuel. They are typically of metal construction. Since these tanks are part of the aircraft structure.2. Most large transport aircraft use this system. replacement. The aircraft does not rely on the tank for structural integrity. An example of this type is the "wet wing" commonly used in larger aircraft. and overall servicing of the tank. and may be removed for inspection. storing fuel in the wings and/or tail of the airplane. repair. Rigid removable tanks are installed in a compartment designed to accommodate the tank. and bladder. such as the Cessna 172. they cannot be removed for service or inspection. Inspection panels must be provided to allow internal inspection. . Integral tanks are areas inside the aircraft structure that have been sealed to allow fuel storage.3 AIRCRAFT FUEL TANK Aircraft typically use three types of fuel tanks: integral. Many high-performance light aircraft and some smaller turboprops use bladder tanks. and is secured by means of metal buttons or snaps inside the compartment.. The bladder is rolled up and installed into the compartment through the fuel filler neck or access panel. rigid removable.

Therefore. the pointer will point the low fuel indication section which normally marked with red line. a low fuel warning light and an aural warning will operate during this low fuel quantity level. the appropriate fuel gauge will indicate low fuel indication. Figure 2. such as in low fuel quantity condition. If the fuel quantity reaches the minimum or low fuel level in the tank. This low fuel indication will come out if the amount of fuel in the tank becomes less than 1/4 of the maximum fuel level in the tank. Even though the fuel gauge indicate low fuel quantity.4 LOW FUEL WARNING INDICATOR The main purpose of the aircraft fuel gauges is to indicate the amount fuel occupied by the each tank during aircraft operation of flight. In analog fuel gauge. This indication is very important to inform pilot and first officer about the fuel quantity and will help them to operate the aircraft in accordance with the fuel quantity. Without hesitation and wasting time. In certain aircraft. while digital fuel gauge will give messages such as LOW in color depends on the fuel gauge manufacturer. it is not enough to alert the pilot and first officer during low fuel quantity level. there is no aural warning for low fuel indicator because it depends on the manufacturer. the pilot will do the appropriate procedure such as select auxiliary fuel tank to be operated or land the aircraft immediately.4: A Basic Low Fuel Warning Light for Two Tanks .2.