Any DA-42 misfuelings?

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gwroclaw
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Re: Any DA-42 misfuelings?

Post by gwroclaw »

TimS wrote:
Rich,

You can do more then just size, you can also do shapes. People are trainable. e.g. extreme oval versus round. As long as it is smaller in diameter then the standard gas cap which is about about 2-3 inches, it will continue to work for the existing/legacy fleet.
I would also state there have been a multiple of surveys by the FAA, and fleet data provided by Cirrus, that between 60-80% of the avgas in the country is consumed by planes less then ten years old (the large range depends on assumptions).

Lastly, the newer aircraft are the most active part of the fleet, they also tend to be the models most likely to have Jet-A and 100LL variants. e.g. DA42, PA46, DA40.... So reducing the chance of human error for something that is reasonably simple technically would be a smart thing to do (in my opinion).

Tim
I've heard it put another way in the context of avgas vs mogas. Something like 30% of the GA fleet uses something like 70% of the Avgas and these are mostly airplanes that have engines that cannot use mogas - but I digress.

I do not think many avgas powered DA-42s were delivered in the US. The few that were are mostly on line at university based training facilities. DA-40's in the US I think are virtually all avgas powered and only the -FP could use mogas.

But besides the PA-46 which is close to 50:50 avgas:jet-A, there are about 130 Cessna 210-P's converted to turbine. Then there are a few dozen Bonanza's that have been converted. Then the twin market although much smaller gets more confusing. The Piper PA-31 series were delivered as avgas powered models such as the Navajo and Chieftain, and as turbine models called the Cheyenne I & II.
The Cessna twins such s the 414/421 were avgas powered but the nearly identical looking Conquest I was turbine powered. Then there are the Cessna 340's that have been converted to turbine as well as a couple of dozen Beech Dukes that have been converted to PT-6's.

It seems like the best solution is better training of line personel. All they need to do is look at the fuel placard at each filler BEFORE throwing the protective rubber mat on the wing that usually obscures the placard.
Greg Wroclawski
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Re: Any DA-42 misfuelings?

Post by Rich »

carym wrote:Getting that heavier fuel (or water) to go from an outer tank to the inner tank where you can sump it is also problematic. I had a fuel cap that wasn't tight, and flying through rain (I think) led to a large amount of water getting in to the outer tank. Months later I still sump some water from the inner sump (although not from the engine sump). I wonder how many tank full's of JetA I have to go through before all the water is eventually gone?
While it's true that the various baffling in the tanks does inhibit the lateral rate of flow somewhat, a couple of flights, at worse, should cause it to work its way down to the lowest point of the tank.

It's more likely you have a defective fuel cap and need to replace it. I had to do this a couple of years ago, as water would show up in fuel samples on that one tank pretty often after 10+ years of never a single drop. New cap : no more water now for the last 2 years.

If a cap is loose in flight, the most likely symptom is fuel gets sucked out of the tank through the cap. I've seen this effect when refueling a plane on a windy day. You have to put a barrier up to keep the airflow away from the filler neck to keep that rather expensive go-juice from flying away in the wind :cry:
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Re: Any DA-42 misfuelings?

Post by gwroclaw »

Back in February of this year a Piper Mirage flying from Calgary to California stopped in Spokane Washington to clear customs and refuel. The pilot himself misfueled the airplane. The problem with the Malibus and Mirages is that one can only sump the header tanks which are at the wing fuselage root and connected to the wing tank via three 1/2" fuel lines. Even denser Jet-A will not flow down into the header tank when sumping to be noticed until the ~1 gal capacity of the sumps is used up by the engine.
The pilot crashed immediately after takeoff and died of his injuries a few days later. Below is a summary of what happened by another MMOPA member.

I have been flying into Felts Field with a turbine twin weekly since early Dec 2014. I have got to know the folks at the only FBO on the field. They are friendly, hard working, competent people who appear to be very distressed by what has happened. Knowing that they must have been descended upon by the NTSB, FAA and lawyers for everyone I was careful not to add to their distress by prying. I do however have a few first hand observations and tidbits I picked up around the field this week...

1) The aircraft was not fueled from a truck, the pilot fueled himself from fixed tanks.
2) News clips including audio from chest cams of first responders refer to the smell of jet fuel at the scene.
3) I carried fuel for my return trip this week expecting both the Jet and 100LL pumps (if not the whole FBO) to be shut down pending investigation. Not so, everything was up and running 100LL and Jet A from both the fixed pumps and the trucks. From that I infer that every tank was tested and was dispensing the correct fuel.
4) Obviously the NTSB will have the last word but I don't think there is much doubt that the cause will be mis-fueling. An otherwise careful and competent pilot may have paid the ultimate penalty for a moment's inattention.

Lest anyone think this would be an impossible mistake to make, take a look at the pumps. There is one credit card keypad at the left side and then after you swipe your card you grab hose #1 or hose #2. The Jet filler nozzle is slightly larger than the 100LL but does not have the rectangular end. Once you grab the wrong hose there is very little to cue you to your error. Given the departure runway and the way the aircraft would be pointed following its taxi from Customs it is very likely that wind would have been blowing from leading to trailing edge...perhaps depriving the pilot of a smell cue and his last chance to catch his own error.

What I take away from this is a reminder that even a good and careful pilot (like me or you) can have a bad day or a moment of innattention with tragic results. On days when I'm not feeling right on top of my game I will think about this accident.
Martin Merritt ATP
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C-GMDK 550C / G500
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Re: Any DA-42 misfuelings?

Post by Rich »

I've been told of a case where a guy accidentally put diesel - in his motorcycle - at regular old gas station. Of course, in this case it wasn't a catastrophic event, other than a trip to the bike shop for significant remedial work on the bike. But that's not all; a few weeks later he did it again.
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Re: Any DA-42 misfuelings?

Post by carym »

Rich wrote:
carym wrote:Getting that heavier fuel (or water) to go from an outer tank to the inner tank where you can sump it is also problematic. I had a fuel cap that wasn't tight, and flying through rain (I think) led to a large amount of water getting in to the outer tank. Months later I still sump some water from the inner sump (although not from the engine sump). I wonder how many tank full's of JetA I have to go through before all the water is eventually gone?
While it's true that the various baffling in the tanks does inhibit the lateral rate of flow somewhat, a couple of flights, at worse, should cause it to work its way down to the lowest point of the tank.

It's more likely you have a defective fuel cap and need to replace it. I had to do this a couple of years ago, as water would show up in fuel samples on that one tank pretty often after 10+ years of never a single drop. New cap : no more water now for the last 2 years.

If a cap is loose in flight, the most likely symptom is fuel gets sucked out of the tank through the cap. I've seen this effect when refueling a plane on a windy day. You have to put a barrier up to keep the airflow away from the filler neck to keep that rather expensive go-juice from flying away in the wind :cry:
Rich
Thanks for the thoughts. I think that the original water contamination did come from a somewhat loose cap, but that has subsequently been tightened. After the original event the first few sumpings of the tank were almost 100% water. I had to sump the tank more than 5 times before the water cleared. On the next flight the first sumping gave me about 50% water, and again I had to sump it multiple times to clear the water. On each successive flight the amount of water that has appeared on the first sumping of the day has been less and less. Over the last month I am only getting a few drops of water with the first sumping, and none after that.

Are you suggesting that a loose cap will allow water to accumulate in the tank without flying through any visible moisture? I guess if I continue to see small amounts of water appear from this tank I will have to try a new cap (or switch caps from left to right tank and see if the other side develops water).

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Rich
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Re: Any DA-42 misfuelings?

Post by Rich »

carym wrote:Are you suggesting that a loose cap will allow water to accumulate in the tank without flying through any visible moisture? I guess if I continue to see small amounts of water appear from this tank I will have to try a new cap (or switch caps from left to right tank and see if the other side develops water).

Cary
In my case, whenever it rained a significant amount there would be some water in the right tank sample. (My plane is currently tied down outside). BTW, it's a gasoline DA40, so jet fuel (hopefully) not in the picture.

You describe an interesting dynamic. You should know that jet fuel is somewhat hygroscopic, but can also hold water in emulsion for quite some time. Quoting from a paper I found:

"...Depending upon the nature of water-in-fuel emulsions, it may take minutes,
hours or weeks to coalesce and settle down. Unfortunately, maintaining
an aircraft for weeks or even hours on tarmac is not cost-effective in today’s
civil aviation industry, where turnarounds can be as short as 30 minutes for
smaller commercial aircraft. Hence the pooled, free water is routinely picked
up and fed to the engine in a mixture with the fuel. This is part of current
commonly adopted water management and is achieved using scavenging jet
pumps. Free water in pooling points is also drained on the ground during
routine maintenance...."

Here's the paper, in whole:

https://dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk/bits ... l-2013.pdf
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Re: Any DA-42 misfuelings?

Post by Colin »

I think this was the thread where I learned about the Bob Hoover story (probably from Cary), so this is the place to put my blog entry about the plane being mis-fueled.

Yes, I have changed my Standard Operating Procedures and this could not happen again.
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Re: Any DA-42 misfuelings?

Post by blsewardjr »

A guy over on Pilots of America did a test of a 50/50 mix of Avgas and Jet-A. While the test suggests it will be difficult to tell if you have Jet-A in your Avgas, perhaps the opposite may be true for Avgas in your Jet-A. See -- https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/communi ... O2GV10INYA
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Re: Any DA-42 misfuelings?

Post by neema »

Ahh, misfueling. A rite of passage for diesel powered Diamond owners

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Re: Any DA-42 misfuelings?

Post by salim »

The blue color is very obvious in your picture. Was it that obvious in real life ?
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