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Water In Fuel Crash

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Water In Fuel Blamed For Just Aircraft SuperSTOL Crash

http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/Water-In-Fuel-Blamed-For-Just-Aircraft-SuperSTOL-Crash-224673-1.html

 

"Woodland had pre-flighted and flown the aircraft earlier in the day and added fuel just before takeoff," the company said in a news release. "It was learned later that the fuel he added had water in it. Right after takeoff he experienced a serious reduction in power, then a brief surge, after which the engine died."

 

The big question arises...should no fuel be added BEFORE a takeoff?  Should fueling ALWAYS be done after a flight so the water has a chance to settle down and be detected at the gascolator in a preflight check?  On a trip, should the half hour wait be mandatory after refueling?

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If you have enough for your return trip plus reserve it may be a good idea.

On long XC's you don't have much of a choice except to add fuel as soon as you arrive, take a short break and recheck at main tank drain and gascolator.

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I would think you'd have have an insane amount of water in the fuel for it to cause a crash immediately after fueling.  It takes some time for the water to separate out and settle in the fuel system. 

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If the fuel being used is 100LL, the water would probably be separated out and would find the bottom of the tank pretty quick after filling up.  This would then be available for pickup by the engine.  Would Just Aircraft have Lycoming or Continental that uses 100LL or would it be using Mogas with alcohol?

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"enough to kill the engine" could be one ounce or ten gallons.

 

And the water did not crash the plane.  The pilot did that part.

 

I have friends in the Highlander community.  The scuttlebutt is that Troy (the accident pilot) was doing low level maneuvering at the tree tops.  When the engine quit he did not leave himself many options.  Considering the possible outcomes, this ended pretty well.

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A few years back as i was doing the preflight, the fuel check came up with 90% water and just a tad of fuel.   I drained more and more and more - roughly 2 gallons of water came spewing out.!    Possible cause was bad storage of fuel which was near an area that the roof leaked when it rained.  Can only imagine horrible outcome had i not checked the fuel.    

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When using fuel with 10% alcohol would a small amount of water even be detectable? The water would mix with the alcohol and might make detection impossible?

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Hi Al,

 

A small amount of water with ethanol fuel will just be adsorbed and won't show. It will just burn through the system. If you have at least 15 gals. of fuel in each wing it would take a fair amount of water to fall out. If this scenario ever happened with ethanol fuel then that means the fuel is fully saturated and it would need to be drained out. Worrying about water in the 91 oct with ethanol is nothing like working with 100LL.

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