banner
banner

17 Dec 2017, 04:12 [ UTC - 5; DST ]


Greenwich AeroGroup



Reply to topic  [ 24 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Username Protected Message
 Post subject: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2017, 12:51 
Offline


 Profile

Joined: 06/06/12
Posts: 18
Post Likes: +12
Aircraft: Baron 55
The first indication of a problem was upon landing after a three hour flight, when the right engine stopped and would not restart. We called Tower for assistance and a tractor towed us to the ramp.

This flight was the first leg of a trip across the north Atlantic in our 1964 Baron 55; the very next day was to be a four-hour leg across the open ocean.

On the ramp, we saw that the right main 37 gallon tank was completely empty, despite being full before we taxied for take off and only used for the initial climb to cruising altitude. The cap was secure. There was no sign of a leak under the wing. But there was a broad pale blue telltale stripe on the upper side leading from the fuel cap back to the flap.

Removing the cap, we saw the base of the fuel cell (bladder) had risen to easy touching distance of the cap adapter.

Clearly, 30 gallons of fuel had syphoned into the atmosphere through a cap that had never shown the least indication of failing before that point. Something we would have thought impossible.

We had decided to calibrate the fuel consumption on the flight. Instead of our usual 23” and 2300 RPM setting we chose a longer range power setting of 20” and 2100 RPM. We wanted to see what range was achievable in practice as the quid pro quo of a lower airspeed.

The normal practice was to take off and climb on main tanks (2 x 37 gallons), switch to auxiliary tanks at the top of climb (2 x 31 gallons), and switch back to mains when the aux were exhausted (or preparing for landing, whichever sooner). Take offs and landings are always on main tanks.

We found that the new, lower power setting gave us endurance on the aux tanks of over 2 hours 30 minutes – more than half an hour longer than at our normal power setting. Coincidentally, this meant our aux tanks were exhausted just when it became time to commence the 10,000 foot descent to a straight-in landing.

Evidently, the entire approach had been made with the right engine windmilling. Power adjustments had been very small on the way down and, at such a low power setting, it was not possible to differentiate between a gusting crosswind and the asymmetric effect of a loss of power on the right side. Things would have been very different had we tried to level out or, even worse, gone around.

Here’s the thing: throughout the approach the fuel gauge for the affected tank, which has always proven to be reliable, read exactly what we would have expected to see, i.e. a nearly full tank. This was because the rubber fuel cell had risen with the suction and pushed the sender arm up in just the same way a full tank of avgas would have done.

Our first guess, while trying an engine restart on the runway, had been that dirt from the aux tanks had got to the fuel injectors on the right engine. Had we applied power in the air, believing there was plenty of fuel, the obvious decision would have been to shut down the failed right engine and eventually crossfeed to the left engine the fuel that we were sure existed in the right main tank. At this point the left engine would have failed also. Not what you want in mid-Atlantic.

We spent the next day doing what we could to try to fix the problem. We made sure the tank vent were clear and, of course, made sure the fuel cap was sitting pretty. We planned to test fly for an hour, but as soon as we took off a band of fuel about 6 inched wide and a quarter of an inch deep flowed back off the wing. The flow rate would be measured in gallons per minute.

So what had happened? On a Baron 55 the main fuel caps are situated right behind the leading edge of the wing where the aerodynamic vacuum is greatest. That’s what keeps a 5,000 lb aircraft in the air. If there is not a perfect cap seal the air in the fuel cell is sucked out and the avgas and the cell will rise together to fill the vacuum. Immediately, a syphon exists in a way that could not happen to the same extent in a solid metal tank where there will always be an air gap between the top of the fuel and the opening. The tank can empty in a matter of minutes while the cell holds up the fuel sender arm so the gauge reads full.

The problem turned out to be one GABB fuel cap. After 53 years of life the cam on the tab has been gradually worn flatter. The big O-ring was changed every few years and was not in terrible condition. The small inner O-ring was intact. There had been no evidence of leakage at all, not even cosmetic. We would not have believed it possible that a tired cap could cause so much trouble with no warning at all.

So where did we screw up? We thought we had been pretty careful. We put the Baron in a for a service, filled the nitrogen and anti-ice bottles, brought spare tires, inner tubes, an alternator, a magneto. Even siliconed the de-icing boots for maximum efficiency. We never skimp on maintenance; everything has to work all the time as far as we are concerned. We serviced the life raft and oxygen bottles. We did a careful preflight. The flight was an easy one and we did what we always do: one of us flies while the other watches closely in the fairy godmother role.

What did we learn? Always visually check the wing after take off; the fuel loss is not spectacular but it is visible if you look carefully. And buy new fuel caps.


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2017, 15:51 
Offline



User avatar
 Profile

Joined: 02/25/13
Posts: 2454
Post Likes: +537
Location: Jacksonville, FL (KCRG)
Aircraft: 1994 Bonanza F33A
A military pilot I fly with always does a call out for streaming fuel after gear up. I thought it was silly until one day I departed in my Mooney, pulled the gear up and looked left and right. Looking right I could see 100LL streaming out. O ring was not that old but a new one fixed it.

It is not a bad idea to look, in initial climb with full tanks if it is going to leak, this is when it will usually be visible.


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2017, 15:59 
Offline



User avatar
 Profile

Joined: 01/06/08
Posts: 2501
Post Likes: +457
Location: Pottstown, PA (KPTW)
Aircraft: 1965 Debonair C33
I had trouble with fuel caps on my Deb. New caps were troublesome also. I replaced the fuel adapters (what the fuel caps screw into) with new parts 6 years ago. No problem.

I think our old airplanes wear things that were never predicted.

_________________
President, Northeast Bonanza Group


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2017, 21:01 
Offline


 Profile

Joined: 08/27/13
Posts: 86
Post Likes: +52
Location: Hilltop Lakes, Texas
Aircraft: 55 Baron
Username Protected wrote:
I think our old airplanes wear things that were never predicted.

Our airplanes were never predicted to still be flying. God bless Beechcraft.


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2017, 21:12 
Offline


User avatar
 Profile

Joined: 01/08/12
Posts: 2476
Post Likes: +269
Company: Retired
Location: Buffalo N.Y. 9G0
Aircraft: Baron 58
Those Gabb caps gave me nothing but trouble over the 20 years I had my C55. I eventually changed them all out with Shaw caps and the fuel loss issues went away. Shaw caps were not cheap but the loss of fuel in a couple of caps would go a long way toward paying for them :D


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 07 Sep 2017, 21:26 
Offline



User avatar
 Profile

Joined: 10/05/11
Posts: 4166
Post Likes: +1700
Company: Power/mation
Location: Milwaukee, WI (KMKE)
Aircraft: 1963 Debonair B33
Engine monitor would have shown 0 egts, right?

_________________

Doug R Safety Sig:
BPT / FR, 16JUL16
IR Written Passed
In IR Training, trying to fly 1-2x/wk


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 09 Sep 2017, 15:41 
Offline


 Profile

Joined: 11/20/10
Posts: 70
Post Likes: +18
Company: Aero Data, Inc
Location: Holland, MI
Aircraft: Baron 58
You or your AP needs to report this to the FAA, forgot what they call them but they do log maintenance anomalies.


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 09 Sep 2017, 15:44 
Offline


User avatar
 Profile

Joined: 01/02/08
Posts: 2594
Post Likes: +1061
Company: Rusnak Auto Group
Location: Newport Coast, CA
Aircraft: Baron B55 N7123N
Username Protected wrote:
You or your AP needs to report this to the FAA, forgot what they call them but they do log maintenance anomalies.

SDR - Service Difficulty Report

_________________
Sven


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 09 Sep 2017, 16:52 
Offline


User avatar
 Profile

Joined: 12/05/12
Posts: 280
Post Likes: +57
Location: Greenville, NC (KPGV)
Aircraft: P35
You may want to check your vents as well since your bladders rose. Happened to me - dirt dobbers.


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 11 Sep 2017, 10:26 
Offline


 WWW  Profile

Joined: 07/04/11
Posts: 1197
Post Likes: +129
Company: W. John Gadd, Esq.
Location: Florida
Aircraft: C55 Baron
Username Protected wrote:
You may want to check your vents as well since your bladders rose. Happened to me - dirt dobbers.





Those damn caps can cause issues. So can clogged vents. I had a ATP friend go behind me during a preflight and he monkied w the cap and didn't get it properly seated. I was unware he'd done this. The amount of fuel you'll lose is quite shocking.


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 11:39 
Offline


User avatar
 Profile

Joined: 09/18/15
Posts: 392
Post Likes: +212
Aircraft: B50 Twin Bonanza
haven't ever gone that far in all my year of reporting leaks.

I've sent a few notes to the cockpit of commercial airliners for leaking panels - watching fuel seep out the top of the wing (pretty common on tired old MD80's and the old 727's).

One lucky ATR AA commuter pilot got the cocktail napkin in mid flight that said "Oil consumption on #1 engine isn't really high - it's just leaking - as seen from 12A"

I always look out my windows to check my caps - makes me feel better that I can actually see them.

Username Protected wrote:
You or your AP needs to report this to the FAA, forgot what they call them but they do log maintenance anomalies.


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2017, 12:25 
Offline


User avatar
 Profile

Joined: 11/09/09
Posts: 965
Post Likes: +371
Location: KRYY (Marietta, GA)
Aircraft: 1989 A36 TN
This is a great case why those that rely solely on fuel flow and time to "know" how much fuel they have left are taking a risk. I recognize that the gauges are usually lousy but after flying my plane for a while I have a pretty good idea of what a half tank indication on my gauges means in terms of actual remaining fuel. If I am tracking fuel flow, time, what is on my JPI 730 and one of my gauges look vastly different I am going to land to determine what is going on.

To plow on and just assume the gauge is wrong might work out......or it might not. Me, I'm not taking that chance.


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 14 Sep 2017, 08:54 
Offline


User avatar
 Profile

Joined: 08/30/09
Posts: 1984
Post Likes: +383
Location: Fulshear, TX (X09)
Aircraft: BE58
I have a timer set on the GTN750 every 15 minutes for system checks. I check every gauge, read EGT and CHT for each cylinder as well as fuel flow on JPI 830, check CO2 and Blood Oxygen level. Now I'll add look at the fuel caps. I've had several leaking cap issues with Bonanzas I flew in the past, but haven't with the Baron and did not with the Travel Air, but easily could. I realize all of this should be part of a continuous scan, I've just found building a scheduled regimen to be helpful.


Top

 Post subject: Fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 19 Sep 2017, 08:33 
Offline


 WWW  Profile

Joined: 02/28/09
Posts: 6
Post Likes: +1
Company: MusiConsult Network
Location: Rueckersdorf, Germany
Aircraft: Beech C33 Debonair
On my Debonair (now with a new owner) I had these fuel related issues and fixes.
The first is related to the caps, the other issue I list here because it is an important to share experiences ....

1) Debonair Fuel cap
The originals ones, thermo can type, are a real drag. Always problems. Leaking, harsh to close and so on. Exchanged them to Piper models (do not remember which ones have to check) and never regretted.

1) Debonair Tip Tanks
My had Brittain (later taken over by Osbourne) 20 GAL Tip tanks:
The main and Tip tank operation in a Debonair/ Bonanza is kind of tricky. Main has to have 13 Gal min on take off, gets a bit complicated if the main takes are already small.
So Tips on a Bonanza/ Debbie are always nice.... as long as you know how to properly operate them. My fuel selector had 5 positions. Always watch when you switch, always avoid switching via off position, aways verify the selector is not in an intermediary position
For the Tips the fuel pump delivers 18 Gal/h, I usually was burning 11 Gal/h, the other 7 are going back in the main tank. Means: Using the Tip tank, you fill up left main at the same time. So we fly left main tank an hour first, to make space for that extra fuel. Need to know that. But it is always nice to have a way to fill up your left main again suing the Tip.

Then you have the logo arm effect on the Tips. Different fuel level on the Tip may let you do a nice slalom on the runway on the first meters of your take off run.

last not least you shall never land on a Tip tank. Always switch back to fullest main below 2-3K feet AGL

Once you go used to all that, the Tips tanks are great and offer a hell of a reserve.
I usually switched Tip only above 5000 ft, and switched left & right every 20 minutes.

One day on a cruise I was running on the Tip Tanks.
Engine got silent. There was still fuel in that tank. Switching to main was not instantly resolving the problem, but switching on the aux fuel pump convinced the engine to start again...
What happened ?
The thin air vent of the Tip Tank occasionally gets obstructed. If that happens the vacuum prevents fuel flow from the Tip.
Fix: a) Every now and then use a thin wire and push it through the vents.
b) Cut a short rubber tube slant and put it on the fuel vent pins, so the air is forced into the vents.

Still do the wire thing every now and then. No problems thereafter.

One thing is important: If a Tiptank runs drain, it takes a while to fill the fuel line again.
Need to remember that. So be sure the fuel line is full again before switching Tips again...and do the Tip Tank switch only when you have enough reserve in altitude.
y
Miss my old Debbie though. Was a true Air - Benz

Frank




Username Protected wrote:
I had trouble with fuel caps on my Deb. New caps were troublesome also. I replaced the fuel adapters (what the fuel caps screw into) with new parts 6 years ago. No problem.

I think our old airplanes wear things that were never predicted.


Top

 Post subject: Re: Disaster narrowly averted - fuel cap issue
PostPosted: 19 Sep 2017, 11:50 
Offline


 Profile

Joined: 07/29/10
Posts: 10
Post Likes: +2
Aircraft: Bonanza A36
After 40+ years of flying Bonanzas and Barons, this leaking fuel cap/lifting fuel cell/erroneous high fuel quantity keeps coming up. This must be happening much more than what we read about. A couple of years ago, guy landed his A36 in a land fill...was heading to the neighboring airport where fuel was a buck-a-gallon cheaper. He used this excuse with the FAA and insurance company as to why he thought he had enough fuel. Sheesh.


Top

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic  [ 24 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next




You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  

Terms of Service | Forum FAQ | Contact Us

BeechTalk, LLC is the quintessential Beechcraft Owners & Pilots Group providing a forum for the discussion of technical, practical, and entertaining issues relating to all Beech aircraft. These include the Bonanza (both V-tail and straight-tail models), Baron, Debonair, Duke, Twin Bonanza, King Air, Sierra, Skipper, Sport, Sundowner, Musketeer, Travel Air, Starship, Queen Air, BeechJet, and Premier lines of airplanes, turboprops, and turbojets.

BeechTalk, LLC is not affiliated or endorsed by the Beechcraft Corporation, its subsidiaries, or affiliates. Beechcraft™, King Air™, and Travel Air™ are the registered trademarks of the Beechcraft Corporation.

Copyright© BeechTalk, LLC 2007-2017

.concorde-2017-11-01.jpg.
.teebee.png.
.wilco.jpg.
.CAV_85x50_2017_12_4.jpg.
.aps-85x150.jpg.
.wholesalepowertools.jpg.
.kadex-85x50.jpg.
.dshannon.jpg.
.avfab-85x50.jpg.
.ABS-85x100.jpg.
.ForeFlight.jpeg.
.kingairnation-85x50-2015-03-17.png.
.EagleFuelCellsTriple.jpg.
.airpowerred.jpg.
.Avionics_BeechTalk_ad_85x50.jpg.
.chairmanaviation-85x50.jpg.
.kingairacademy-85x100.png.
.phillipangert-85x50.jpg.
.wealthserve-85x50-2015-02-16.jpg.
.truecourse.jpg.
.navmonster.jpg.
.Trace.jpg.
.hpair-85x50.jpg.
.Latitude.jpg.
.AMS.png.
.globalparts-85x50.jpg.
.goodrich-85x150-2017-10-01.jpg.
.sureflight-85x50.jpg.
.tempest.jpg.
.instar.jpg.
.jlosborne-85x50.jpg.
.Expert_Aircraft_Solution_85x50.jpg.
.daytona.jpg.
.jetacquisitions-85x50.png.
.pwi-85x50.jpg.
.temple-85x100-2015-02-23.jpg.
.Showalter.jpg.
.ps_engineering.gif.
.midwest2.jpg.
.WaypointZulu_85x50.png.
.flyboytoys-85x100.jpg.
.Nexus.jpg.
.camguard.jpg.
.carpenter-85x50.png.
.headsetsetc_Small_85x50.jpg.
.mccauley-2017-06-01-carbon.jpg.
.Contour.jpg.
.whelen-85x50-2.png.
.centex-85x50.jpg.
.tulsair-85x50.jpg.
.heartlandsm.jpg.
.jetfuelx-85x50.jpg.
.Marsh.jpg.
.tat-85x100.png.
.SCA.jpg.
.AAI.jpg.
.Electroair.jpg.
.fliteelectronics.jpg.
.dbm.jpg.
.cmi-85x200-2017-11-02.JPG.
.avidyne-85x50-2017-11-22.jpg.
.ei-85x150.jpg.
.planelogix-85x100-2015-04-15.jpg.
.JacksonAssociates.jpg.
.ffc-85x100.jpg.
.flightbox.png.
.WaypointLighting.jpg.
.Outright_85_50.png.
.pdi-85x50.jpg.
.aviationdesigndouble.jpg.
.squawk-85x50.jpg.
.selectairparts-85x100.jpg.
.brucescustomcovers-85x100-2.jpg.
.garmin-85x200-2017-07-07.jpg.
.CiESVer2.jpg.
.KalAir_Black.jpg.
.cubcrafters.jpg.
.texasgyro.jpg.
.carolina-85x50-2017-09-14.jpg.
.bkool-85x50-2014-08-04.jpg.