Fuel management has continued to be an issue for pilots. Not surprisingly, most aircraft will not run correctly if they don't have enough fuel, are fuelled with the wrong type of fuel, or if the fuel in the aircraft is contaminated. A pilot who ensures they have sufficient, correct, and uncontaminated fuel on board prior to flight has taken huge strides to ensuring a safe and stress free arrival at the destination; it's worth taking the time to get it right.
AOPA has long recognized fuel management as an issue and has produced excellent material covering the subject. Here, we'll build upon AOPA's work and provide some Canadian context and work with specific examples of how things went wrong and what can be done to prevent it happening to you.
Every year, AOPA produces a Nall Report; the Nall Report provides a statistical analysis of general aviation safety in the United States. The 27th Joseph T. Nall Report, published in 2018 uses data from 2015 and shows that while general aviation accident rates in the United States are falling, pilot related causes account for 73.8% of all accidents and fuel management issues, accounted for about 11% of those pilot related issues. These statistics don't include information from Canada but act as a good proxy to frame the problem as the same data isn't published north of the 49th.
Over the next several posts we'll explore different types of fuel management issues, what they do to the airplane, how to recognize them, and strategies to ensure they don't happen to you.