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Airplane Flying Handbook
Ground Operations
Visual Inspection

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Airplane Flying Handbook


Table of Contents

Chapter 1,Introduction to Flight Training
Chapter 2,Ground Operations
Chapter 3,Basic Flight Maneuvers
Chapter 4, Slow Flight, Stalls, and Spins
Chapter 5, Takeoff and Departure Climbs
Chapter 6, Ground Reference Maneuvers
Chapter 7, Airport Traffic Patterns
Chapter 8, Approaches and Landings
Chapter 9, Performance Maneuvers
Chapter 10, Night Operations
Chapter 11,Transition to Complex Airplanes
Chapter 12, Transition to Multiengine Airplanes
Chapter 13,Transition to Tailwheel Airplanes
Chapter 14, Transition to Turbo-propeller Powered Airplanes
Chapter 15,Transition to Jet Powered Airplanes
Chapter 16,Emergency Procedures



Aviation fuel types, grades, and colors.
Figure 2-7. Aviation fuel types, grades, and colors.

Particular attention should be paid to the fuel quantity,
type and grade, and quality. [Figure 2-7] Many fuel
tanks are very sensitive to airplane attitude when
attempting to fuel for maximum capacity. Nosewheel
strut extension, both high as well as low, can
significantly alter the attitude, and therefore the fuel
capacity. The airplane attitude can also be affected
laterally by a ramp that slopes, leaving one wing
slightly higher than another. Always confirm the fuel
quantity indicated on the fuel gauges by visually
inspecting the level of each tank.

The type, grade, and color of fuel are critical to safe
operation. The only widely available aviation gasoline
(AVGAS) grade in the United States is low-lead
100-octane, or 100LL. AVGAS is dyed for easy
recognition of its grade and has a familiar gasoline
scent. Jet-A, or jet fuel, is a kerosene-based fuel for
turbine powered airplanes. It has disastrous
consequences when inadvertently introduced into
reciprocating airplane engines. The piston engine
operating on jet fuel may start, run, and power the
airplane, but will fail because the engine has been
destroyed from detonation.

Jet fuel has a distinctive kerosene scent and is oily to
the touch when rubbed between fingers. Jet fuel is
clear or straw colored, although it may appear dyed
when mixed in a tank containing AVGAS. When a few
drops of AVGAS are placed upon white paper, they
evaporate quickly and leave just a trace of dye. In
comparison, jet fuel is slower to evaporate and leaves
an oily smudge. Jet fuel refueling trucks and
dispensing equipment are marked with JET-A placards
in white letters on a black background. Prudent pilots
will supervise fueling to ensure that the correct tanks
are filled with the right quantity, type, and grade of
fuel. The pilot should always ensure that the fuel caps
have been securely replaced following each fueling.

Engines certificated for grades 80/87 or 91/96 AVGAS
will run satisfactorily on 100LL. The reverse is not
true. Fuel of a lower grade/octane, if found, should
never be substituted for a required higher grade.
Detonation will severely damage the engine in a very
short period of time.

Automotive gasoline is sometimes used as a substitute
fuel in certain airplanes. Its use is acceptable only
when the particular airplane has been issued a
supplemental type certificate (STC) to both the
airframe and engine allowing its use.

Checking for water and other sediment contamination
is a key preflight element. Water tends to accumulate
in fuel tanks from condensation, particularly in
partially filled tanks. Because water is heavier than
fuel, it tends to collect in the low points of the fuel
system. Water can also be introduced into the fuel
system from deteriorated gas cap seals exposed to rain,
or from the supplier's storage tanks and delivery
vehicles. Sediment contamination can arise from dust
and dirt entering the tanks during refueling, or from
deteriorating rubber fuel tanks or tank sealant.

The best preventive measure is to minimize the
opportunity for water to condense in the tanks. If
possible, the fuel tanks should be completely filled
with the proper grade of fuel after each flight, or at
least filled after the last flight of the day. The more fuel
there is in the tanks, the less opportunity for
condensation to occur. Keeping fuel tanks filled is also
the best way to slow the aging of rubber fuel tanks and
tank sealant.

Sufficient fuel should be drained from the fuel strainer
quick drain and from each fuel tank sump to check for
fuel grade/color, water, dirt, and smell. If water is
present, it will usually be in bead-like droplets,
different in color (usually clear, sometimes muddy), in
the bottom of the sample. In extreme cases, do not
overlook the possibility that the entire sample,
particularly a small sample, is water. If water is found
in the first fuel sample, further samples should be taken
until no water appears. Significant and/or consistent
water or sediment contamination are grounds for
further investigation by qualified maintenance
personnel. Each fuel tank sump should be drained
during preflight and after refueling.

The fuel tank vent is an important part of a preflight
inspection. Unless outside air is able to enter the tank
as fuel is drawn out, the eventual result will be fuel
gauge malfunction and/or fuel starvation. During the
preflight inspection, the pilot should be alert for any
signs of vent tubing damage, as well as vent blockage.
A functional check of the fuel vent system can be done
simply by opening the fuel cap. If there is a rush of air
when the fuel tank cap is cracked, there could be a
serious problem with the vent system.