There are few things more embarrassing than running out of fuel but running out of fuel in an airplane can prove to be dangerous or downright deadly. Hence, Jason Schappert has recently created a video about a fuel starvation accident that happened to a pilot flying from Maryland to Florida.
While approaching Tallahassee, the plane lost power 3 miles short of the runway, hit power lines causing a blackout and landed nose first in the middle of a busy intersection. Ironically and luckily for the pilot, there was no fire as he was completely out of fuel. In fact, he told the FAA interviewer that he “rocked the wings to use every drop of fuel (60 gallons)”
Jason does not mention whether or not the plane had a faulty fuel gauge but this would be irrelevant as its still the responsibility of the pilot to properly calculate the amount of fuel needed and ensure everything is in proper order before takeoff and during the flight. In other words, the accident was caused by:
- Poor preflight planning which was the most obvious and avoidable cause of the accident.
- Not notifying ATC until it was to late as the pilot was no doubt a little embarrassed by the situation that was developing.
According to Jason, out of the 125 million hours flown over the last five years, there were only 238 fuel related accidents accounting for only 0.1% of all accidents. In other words, running out of fuel while in flight should be completely avoidable.
There is no relationship between flight hours flown and fuel starvation accidents. The statistic should be: flight operation (each flight) vs accidents. The statstics will be higher than .1%.
Legacy planes lack reliable fuel gages and warning lights, -the ones we have in our cars- and rental aircraft should be mandated to have these installed. Only with a yellow flashing light in the pilots face indicating low fuel the pilot will take the impending danger seriously and land. The nw Techological Advanced GA fleet did no have fuel exhaustion accident, yet!! So, there is proof that this technique can work instead of blaming the pilot of stupidity (lack of proper planning).