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  #16  
Old 07-09-2007, 12:12 PM
argoldman argoldman is offline
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

Greetings all,

A coupla things come to mind as I read these posts.

First and foremost is my sadness at seeing one of our proud birds damaged in this fashion, fortunately the human factors were spared. (been there done that).

I think that we can all learn from this. Most accidents, including this one are caused by several problems happening at the same time, any one of which, if caught in time could have averted the accident.

The fuel system that was used is used in the Aerocanard Kit. They did add one thing, and that is a float switch in the sump tank to indicate when the fuel is not, for whatever reason, being replaced by floage from the tanks. This is about 3 1/2 Gal, and possibly would, if recognized, have given more choices on landing.

The fuel cap situation goes without comment.

These birds are designed with a fuel gauge system which at best is marginal and at worst is unusable. Yes, I know that you can see the fuel level directly, but it is difficult, and with some arthritis or muscle spasm in one's neck, becomes something that is so difficult to use, except by rear seat pax, that it probably is not considered as a standard part of the pilot's scan. "I know what my plane burns, and I don't need to actually see the fuel level" Instrument panel mounted gauges would have tipped off the impending problem, if, of course they were included in the scan" With the original gauges, how do you folks flying in actual instrument conditions include fuel level into your scan without incurring terminal vertigo?

As far as return fuel being pumped into the tank from which it came, that is really a good idea. However, Cessna in it's 310, and probably it's other wing tip tankers, returns fuel to the main (wingtip) tank no matter which tank (on the appropriate side) the fuel is being drawn from. It is standard practice to fly for at least 1 hour on the main tanks before switching to the aux (inboards). For some reason Cessna chose to use panel mounted gauges, rather than standpipes at the wingtips, although they would have been visible to pilot (if the passenger were asked to lean up or back.

It seems that with our birds, there are endemic incident causing situations which give these birds a higher accident rate, gear up, for example, which are less than acceptable.

If we (I) look at one of the possible reasons for this, including not being aware of fuel exhaustion --independent of the reason for loss or lack of fue--, it many times boils down to lack of a professional approach to flying. I understand that many of us (you at this point -I am not flying my bird yet--) are relatively low time pilots, without a lot of complex aircraft time (no shame in that). However when transitioning into a more complex aircraft, an increased level of professionalism should go along with it. In store bought retractable s, although gear-ups do happen, they don't happen, as far as I know with the frequency that they happen with the *-Zs.

Perhaps it is the attitude, that I have been seeing on some posts, that the repair of the plane is fairly easy after a gear up that it really isn't important if it happens. This leads to complacency, gears up, fuel mismanagement, higher accident rates, accident prone reputation, higher insurance rates (if availale), loss of aircraft, and loss of pilots

Enough of my ranting and raving. I am just frustrated because I can't get out to work on my project as much as I want to this summer.

Please stay safe all of you!! So much better to see these beautiful dart shaped things flying overhead then to see them in pieces in the newspapers or TV
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  #17  
Old 07-09-2007, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

Little things can make a big difference!

I read somewhere that barons used to have a 4 times greater incidence of gear up landings than comparable cessnas.

The reason given was the gear placement switch.

My buddy just put a new IP in his Vtail, the gear switch is now in a far better place than the original factory position, heh heh heh, it is also a cool lookin tire.
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  #18  
Old 07-09-2007, 01:02 PM
Wayne Hicks Wayne Hicks is offline
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

The fuel system that was used is used in the Aerocanard Kit. They did add one thing, and that is a float switch in the sump tank to indicate when the fuel is not, for whatever reason, being replaced by floage from the tanks. This is about 3 1/2 Gal, and possibly would, if recognized, have given more choices on landing.

-----> Not in this case. With one tank sucking from venting, the sump would have remained full. It would start emptying once the the non venting tank emptied.

These birds are designed with a fuel gauge system which at best is marginal and at worst is unusable.

---> Fuel site glasses are in situ measurements. Can't get much better than that! A mirror helps to see the levels without twisting your neck around like Linda Blair. Now, I'll have fuel sensors in my IV in case the site glasses are covered my luggage. And my fuel valve is up front where I can see it and REMEMBER to use it.

I read somewhere that barons used to have a 4 times greater incidence of gear up landings than comparable cessnas.

---> The barons had their gear switch on the right side of the center pedestal and their flap switch on the left side. This was backward from all other twins on the market at the time. When the accident rate went up, the barons were changed to match everyone else.
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  #19  
Old 07-09-2007, 01:10 PM
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Eccentric Eccentric is offline
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

I mentioned this on the Rotary lists after the Paul Conner accident.
Read the Long-EZ plans - it specifically says a L-R-BOTH-OFF fuel selector is not to be used. Only L-R-OFF. I presume the Cozy plans, being copied from the Long-EZ, say the same. If not it would be a major omission. Maybe someone can verify. I think sump tanks are also discouraged.

Rutan gives the reasoning, I won't try to recreate it from memory, because I would surely make a mistake. Go back to the source!

Also, I verified I can easily see my fuel caps from the cockpit. I also have mirrors on each side on my rollover, so I can see the fuel sight gauges by only turning my head 90 degrees instead of nearly 180.
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  #20  
Old 07-09-2007, 01:23 PM
argoldman argoldman is offline
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust View Post
Little things can make a big difference!

I read somewhere that barons used to have a 4 times greater incidence of gear up landings than comparable cessnas.

The reason given was the gear placement switch.

My buddy just put a new IP in his Vtail, the gear switch is now in a far better place than the original factory position, heh heh heh, it is also a cool lookin tire.
Absolutely, Dusty one,

My past rant was not to say that we should do everything possible to eliminate problems (although everything in an aircraft is a compromise), but as an addition.

Barons also had a higher problem because the prop, mixture and throttle locations on the quadrant were non-standard.

However unique placement of controls, switches, etc, only effect those that fly various types of aircraft. If you fly the same aircraft all the time, the location of the switches and controls should be automatic or should be made automatic.

Also what part of the gear switch location made it impossible to check and verify 3 greens before landing, or was located in front of the lights preventing good visualization?

(I saw a Baron land gear up center stage at OSH one year. Perhaps the switch location made it impossible check that the flap switch which he is about to flip up while still on the roll-out (to look cool) was really a flap switch The professionalism to which I referred has no relation to any remuneration that one may receive, but has to do with developing habits, and cockpit procedures to verify that all is correct, in the frequent events of brain farts.

I am reminded of a friend in who's C206 on amphibious floats, I occasionally fly. He, and his wife (both of their kids are airline pilots) have had the plane since new (over 20 years) is on his second or third engine. When they land, whether on water or land, there is, and has always been a verbal conversation between them which identifies the surface they are landing on, and the position of the gear. this is done 2X at specific parts of the approach. I think that the repeat is vital.

I am also reminded of another friend, a CFII, multi etc etc with whom I flew in his 310, after thousands of hours in this plane, still had and used his checklist religiously. (I think that he said a little prayer before takeoff)

I'd be interested in how many of us have and use checklists in their birds.

I figure if it is OK for United or American pilots, who get checked every 6 to use them, it is probably ok for me!
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  #21  
Old 07-09-2007, 01:39 PM
argoldman argoldman is offline
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Hicks View Post
The fuel system that was used is used in the Aerocanard Kit. They did add one thing, and that is a float switch in the sump tank to indicate when the fuel is not, for whatever reason, being replaced by floage from the tanks. This is about 3 1/2 Gal, and possibly would, if recognized, have given more choices on landing.

-----> Not in this case. With one tank sucking from venting, the sump would have remained full. It would start emptying once the the non venting tank emptied.

These birds are designed with a fuel gauge system which at best is marginal and at worst is unusable.

---> Fuel site glasses are in situ measurements. Can't get much better than that! A mirror helps to see the levels without twisting your neck around like Linda Blair. Now, I'll have fuel sensors in my IV in case the site glasses are covered my luggage. And my fuel valve is up front where I can see it and REMEMBER to use it.

I read somewhere that barons used to have a 4 times greater incidence of gear up landings than comparable cessnas.

---> The barons had their gear switch on the right side of the center pedestal and their flap switch on the left side. This was backward from all other twins on the market at the time. When the accident rate went up, the barons were changed to match everyone else.
True Wayne, however when the main tanks were expednded, there would have been an indication and about 3 gal of fuel left. Not a lot, however more then 0. Since the fuel enters the sump at the top, further siphonage would be impossible.

The concept of fuel in situ measurements is great, and probably much more accurate than other means. I had them in my Yankee in '69 and they worked well, as long as I had my passenger move his/her leg, and I moved mine during the scan. Even though I got my instrument rating in that plane, scanning the fuel level was not of a high level of concern because of it's difficulty. It would have been had I forgotten to cap a tank, or if there were a leak, or if the engine used more fuel than I estimated, or if my tanks were not as full as I thought on takeoff for a long trip or or or. I, in fact was just lucky.

The mirror system seems great, as long as there is nothing in the way, such as back seat pax, nite time with no internal lights, and again in instrument conditions where gross head movements yield, in many cases vertigo. In many twins, there is a mirror on the pilot's side engine nacelle so that the pilot can see the position of the nose gear indirectly. That didn't eliminate the necessity for a green gear position light on the panel.
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  #22  
Old 07-09-2007, 01:46 PM
Wayne Hicks Wayne Hicks is offline
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

Since the fuel enters the sump at the top, further siphonage would be impossible.

---> I was thinking that you were thinking that the order of emptying was venting tank first, then sump, then non-venting tank. You're correct and I agree. He would have noticed the sump decreasing (per alarm) with < 3.5 gallons left.
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  #23  
Old 07-09-2007, 03:28 PM
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

... so what is a reasonable reserve?
I'm thinking that running with a 5-8 gallon central sump and a warning if the level in the sump drops would be sufficient.

I'm not going to Monday-morning-quarterback Bill's situtation or how he got into. Once the hand was dealt, I think he did alright.
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  #24  
Old 07-09-2007, 11:19 PM
argoldman argoldman is offline
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMann View Post
... so what is a reasonable reserve?
I'm thinking that running with a 5-8 gallon central sump and a warning if the level in the sump drops would be sufficient.

I'm not going to Monday-morning-quarterback Bill's situtation or how he got into. Once the hand was dealt, I think he did alright.
T.

5-8 would be great, but where would you put it? the 3.5 sits over the MG bulkheads basically up to the spar and sideways, the seat back forward with a little room on the sides to do the plumbing.

I also congratulate bill on his handling of the situation and am very glad that he is available to rebuild.

Learning from an unpleasant situation is not Monday morning QB-ing, but is a way for us al to learn more about our beasts and surviving when hey bite.
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  #25  
Old 07-10-2007, 09:48 AM
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

my screens will have a pressure relief overflow, except the finger screen in each tank. That screen is very course and is just meant to stop items that can block the fuel line.

god forbid nasty fuel that does not settle out quick enough for me to catch it on checking the fuel after adding fuel, but if one tank becomes contaminated enough to foul the screen, i still got the other.

To me, a system that combines all the tanks takes a level of safety out of the plane. We have heard of too many sump problems occurring over the years to justify their use in my opinion. This is just another in a long series of sump failures.

3, 4, 5 gallons of fuel, over inhospitable terrain, aint much, aint enough

For extra fuel, i moved the internal bulkhead and reduced the size of the "baggage" compartment and built mega sumps that give me 2 gallons per side and substantially more fuel in the sump on take off and decent.

more fuel is good

separate tanks is good, just make sure that you are on fullest on final! All too many think they are and are not!
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  #26  
Old 07-10-2007, 10:20 AM
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

Ingenuity I don't know about everybody else but I was taught to scan my gauges as I flew. Situation awareness is definitely key. I am not aware of a problem with a central sump (even in this case) if it is installed correctly. (i.e. includes check valves.)
How does one get taken by surprise when they run out of fuel? Must have been the fault of that central sump.
If you are depending on separate tanks, what’s to stop you from switching from one empty tank to the other empty tank?

I'm using every square inch of the hell-hole for a central sump. I plan on having central point fueling. The fuel cap will be behind a door that can be opened only from inside (much like most cars today.) Check valves from each wing tank will be installed.

But most importantly, I'll go through my checklist for every stop. I may even check my sight gauges to make sure they still work.

Now the only thing left that could cause me to run out of fuel would be those cheap tires I bought!
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  #27  
Old 07-10-2007, 10:44 AM
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

what about fuel contamination?

Whats to stop me from going from a dry tank to a dry tank, mmmmm, fuel management.

check valves stick
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  #28  
Old 07-10-2007, 11:12 AM
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

Trying to modify the aircraft to make it fool - proof says what about the one who is flying it?

Cessna 310s are a fuel management nightmare, (5 tanks into a "sump") yet they fly every day without running out of fuel. (They do have a gear weakness which is taken care of by doing the inspections and maintenance as indicated by the manual(s) and ADs)
The Comanche 250 (PA-24) owner's manual calls for the tanks to be switched when one tank runs out. How do you know when it runs out? The engine starts sputtering and will eventually die if you don't turn on aux fuel pump and switch tanks.
Gauges lie and don't give a true picture of how much fuel you have left. A good pilot will know how much he has, monitors the fuel burn and switches tanks by a clock, not by a fuel gauge.
One thing some of us will have to learn is that a pilot has a lot of responsibility and it cannot be relegated to pre-emptive design changes and warning devices. Thousands of pilots have flown their whole lives without having a gear up landing, an inflight emergency, or an emergency landing. Not that commercially built airplanes are any better than what we are building, but there is no sense in modifying a proven design to accomodate a "stupid" pilot. Flying an airplane is easy, flying safe takes a lot of work and concentration. Make your airplane dependable, reliable and safe first, then make it easy to fly second.
The reason for the off-field landing was because the PIC didn't do his job, everything else is immaterial.
No offense intended to the pilot, but if you are going to learn from that, then learn the right thing. Sumps work, multiple tank configurations work. If you can't keep up with the complexity then naturally, don't do it. But please don't assume that others can't, because others do, and they do it every day!
/rant
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  #29  
Old 07-10-2007, 11:24 AM
swinn swinn is offline
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

TMann,

What problem are you solving by using a central sump and central point refueling? Where can you put a central point filler that will be high enough to fill both tanks?

I can't understand the resistance to a well proven system. 1 valve L-R-Off gives the pilot choices, and maximizes redundancy. Have a problem with fuel delivery? Switch to the other tank. Simple fuel management by the pilot gives choices and uses less components and is less complex.

With a 'central sump' have a problem with fuel delivery? What are the choices? Silence.
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  #30  
Old 07-10-2007, 11:34 AM
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Default Re: how not to modify your Aero canard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutch Cargo View Post
Cessna 310s are a fuel management nightmare, (5 tanks into a "sump") yet they fly every day without running out of fuel.
The Comanche 250 (PA-24) owner's manual calls for the tanks to be switched when one tank runs out. How do you know when it runs out? The engine starts sputtering and will eventually die if you don't turn on aux fuel pump and switch tanks. /rant
a few years ago i appraised a company that had a 310, an aviation mapping company. The owner of the company had an off field landing, in a field, ran out of fuel!

My buddy the airplane accident investigator says to do just that, on LOOOOOOOng cross countries, empty the tank and restart on the other tank, just nose down and the prop will restart you, so all your fuel is in one place. He scrapped many pilots off the ground that ran out of fuel on final cause that tank ran out and fuel was spread out in small quantities, 2, 3, 4 gallons here and there among multiple tanks.

Talk to a 25 year airplane accident investigator/7000 hour GA pilot/DAR/A&P/IS for 50 hours and he makes you look at the world a little differently!

double /rant heh heh heh

just another note, fuel tanks are listed as 25/23 usable. In straight level flight, it is all usable. Complicated fuel systems create dead pilots, both GA and professionals
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