Fuel Exhaustion: Pay Attention to The Indicators and to Your Attitude

Many moons ago, a new-hire pilot told me about a flight he had on his most recent shift. This flight was outside of our normal local operating area, and would certainly involve a fuel stop for the return with our normal fuel loadout. After giving me the general details of the flight, he told me that the low fuel warning light illuminated on short approach into the primary destination: a rooftop helipad in a major city. After shutting down and dropping off the passengers, he elected to start up and depart the pad to the nearest fuel source: a towered airport approximately seven minutes away by air. That’s right: he departed with the low fuel warning light still illuminated.


2 thoughts on “Fuel Exhaustion: Pay Attention to The Indicators and to Your Attitude

  1. Good read Jack. I would classify your examples of mechanical failures such as the leaking fuel filter and the metal fatigue behind the B nut as fuel starvation rather than fuel exhaustion. In both cases there was useable fuel in the tanks, but the engine did not receive that fuel. It’s a very fine difference I know. We had this discussion all of the time when investigating Navy and Marine mishaps related to fuel exhaustion and starvation.


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