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What would you do (FARs)

Airway

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Me and a private student finished pre-flight and we got into the airplane to get it started and for a lesson, and on start, the fuel quantity indicator for the right tank failed. We had just had the tanks topped off, so we were definitely full and fine for our flight, but I refused to take the plane, which pissed off our mechanic. We just took another 172 (easy enough).

The FARs state that a fuel quantity indicator indicating the amount of fuel in "each tank" is required, however, if you want to be technical, it doesn't say "an operating fuel gauge indicator" (I don't buy that stuff). I refused to take the plane not because I couldn't safely fly (I knew we had full tanks, and we would go up for what, 1.4 hours), but I did it to set an example for my student, and stay within the law.

But, I'm asking basically out of curiosity, what would you do? I took crap from the mechanic and I basically just sat there and nodded my head while he proceeded to be a jackass about it.

As far as I know, for VFR day, a fuel quantity indicator is required (unless I'm missing something).

Airway.
 

JetBlast2000

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As the instructor, IMHO it’s a no-go item. You want to set a good example for your student. If you were to say “well, we got 4 hours of full, lets go,” your student is more likely to pass on bad habits and possible apply them elsewhere. Is it legal to take the plane, no. You could get away with it sure; I think you made the right call. Besides if you were to “feel pressure” from a mechanic every time you sq’d an airplane you’d be a basket case.
 

erj-145mech

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Airway, your mechanic is just being very lazy. Rule number one, don't bust your ass. Rule number two, don't let anyone bust your ass for you.

You need to speak to someone in charge, that mech is out of line to suggest that you should fly with that inop instrument. Reference 14CFR 23.1305(b), 23.1337(b), and 91.205(b), unless you have a MEL system for the airplane. I had a C-310R on a certificate that could be dispatched with an inoperative fuel quantity indicator providing that the tanks were verified full, and the flight terminated prior to the time, minus one hour, that the engine would have comsumed the fuel at the maximum consumption rate. This was with the FAA's blessing, and could only occur in VFR conditons.
 

Khirsah

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With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the argument could be made that if the fuel gauge failed to a zero or empty indication and you drained the tank, you'd be legal according to 23.1337(b) which states that the "fuel quantity indicator must be calibrated to read "zero" during level flight when the quantity of fuel remaining in the tank is equal to the unusable fuel supply determined under 23.959(a)" and 91.205(b) which is your minimum VFR day equipment requirement.

Of course, I wouldn't have gone.
 

CAVOK69

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i think you did the right thing, but probably I would go if I didnt have another plane. I have rarely flown a cessna where the fuel gage was worth a crap anyway.
 

Gutenberg

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That's happened to me a lot. Here's what I do: get out of the plane, shake the wingtip. Then move inboard and pound your fist on the fuel tank. Watch the needle go back to where it should be about 90 percent of the time. We have a pile of bad sending units from the new breed of skyhawks in a box, some are unfixable in this way, some are. It is definately a flaw in the design, and a huge hassle.
 

midlifeflyer

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Khirsah said:
With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the argument could be made that if the fuel gauge failed to a zero or empty indication and you drained the tank, you'd be legal according to 23.1337(b)
Tongue in cheek or not, the "they only have to be accurate when the tanks are empty" myth is unfortunately believed by a =lot= of people.
 

Geronimo4497

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Ah, the good ol' kick it till it works method! You did the right thing, BTW. Setting a bad example for a student is not a very good idea.
 

Pilot124

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It's as simple as an MEL. Set an example by showing your student where to find it in the MEL book and how to do it. I wouldn't have half the time I have now if every time something small went wrong I just grounded the plane.
 

Khirsah

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midlifeflyer said:
Tongue in cheek or not, the "they only have to be accurate when the tanks are empty" myth is unfortunately believed by a =lot= of people.

Which is, strangely enough, why I said "drain the tanks" and threw the 91.205(b) reference in there.

(9) Fuel gauge indicating the quantity of fuel in each tank.

If the tank is empty and the gauge reads zero, the gauge is indicating the quantity in the tank.

:D
 

=w=

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Pilot124 said:
It's as simple as an MEL. Set an example by showing your student where to find it in the MEL book and how to do it. I wouldn't have half the time I have now if every time something small went wrong I just grounded the plane.

Uh, C172's dont have MELs unless you personally have had one certified by the FAA for your particular bird. I have heard that UND has real MEL's for their fleet of Pipers :puke:
 

Icelandair

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Yes UND has MEL's and the stage pilots love to bust the students who never seem to be able to fill out a discrepency sheet.
 

erj-145mech

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=w= said:
Uh, C172's dont have MELs unless you personally have had one certified by the FAA for your particular bird. I have heard that UND has real MEL's for their fleet of Pipers :puke:

Heres a link to the MMEL (Master Minimum Equipment List) for Part 91 Single Engined Airplanes. You customize it to your particular airplane:

http://www.opspecs.com/AFSDATA/MMELs/FINAL/Part_91/A1%20Single%20Eng%20R5/

All Minimum Equipment Lists start out from a master and are customized to the operators requirements. Since you have to have everything working thats installed unless you have a MEL, the Feds have to give you an out, like a MEL. (14CFR91.213)
 

paulsalem

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Since you have to have everything working thats installed unless you have a MEL, the Feds have to give you an out, like a MEL. (14CFR91.213)

Uh, not really



(d) Except for operations conducted in accordance with paragraph (a) or (c) of this section, a person may takeoff an aircraft in operations conducted under this part with inoperative instruments and equipment without an approved Minimum Equipment List provided—
(1) The flight operation is conducted in a—
(i) Rotorcraft, non-turbine-powered airplane, glider, lighter-than-air aircraft, powered parachute, or weight-shift-control aircraft, for which a master minimum equipment list has not been developed; or
(ii) Small rotorcraft, nonturbine-powered small airplane, glider, or lighter-than-air aircraft for which a Master Minimum Equipment List has been developed; and
(2) The inoperative instruments and equipment are not—
(i) Part of the VFR-day type certification instruments and equipment prescribed in the applicable airworthiness regulations under which the aircraft was type certificated;
(ii) Indicated as required on the aircraft's equipment list, or on the Kinds of Operations Equipment List for the kind of flight operation being conducted;
(iii) Required by §91.205 or any other rule of this part for the specific kind of flight operation being conducted; or
(iv) Required to be operational by an airworthiness directive; and
(3) The inoperative instruments and equipment are—
(i) Removed from the aircraft, the cockpit control placarded, and the maintenance recorded in accordance with §43.9 of this chapter; or
(ii) Deactivated and placarded “Inoperative.” If deactivation of the inoperative instrument or equipment involves maintenance, it must be accomplished and recorded in accordance with part 43 of this chapter; and
 

Singlecoil

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paulsalem said:
Uh, not really



(d) Except for operations conducted in accordance with paragraph (a) or (c) of this section, a person may takeoff an aircraft in operations conducted under this part with inoperative instruments and equipment without an approved Minimum Equipment List provided—
(1) The flight operation is conducted in a—
(i) Rotorcraft, non-turbine-powered airplane, glider, lighter-than-air aircraft, powered parachute, or weight-shift-control aircraft, for which a master minimum equipment list has not been developed; or
(ii) Small rotorcraft, nonturbine-powered small airplane, glider, or lighter-than-air aircraft for which a Master Minimum Equipment List has been developed; and
(2) The inoperative instruments and equipment are not
(i) Part of the VFR-day type certification instruments and equipment prescribed in the applicable airworthiness regulations under which the aircraft was type certificated;
(ii) Indicated as required on the aircraft's equipment list, or on the Kinds of Operations Equipment List for the kind of flight operation being conducted;
(iii) Required by §91.205 or any other rule of this part for the specific kind of flight operation being conducted; or
(iv) Required to be operational by an airworthiness directive; and
(3) The inoperative instruments and equipment are—
(i) Removed from the aircraft, the cockpit control placarded, and the maintenance recorded in accordance with §43.9 of this chapter; or
(ii) Deactivated and placarded “Inoperative.” If deactivation of the inoperative instrument or equipment involves maintenance, it must be accomplished and recorded in accordance with part 43 of this chapter; and

Uh, yeah really.
 

erj-145mech

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But the original question was about the fuel quantity indicator, and that is required for day/vfr flight in a powered airplane. My point is that if he had a MEL, the flight could still be dispatched with the inop gas gauge. Without a MEL, the gas gauge is a no go item.
 

MTpilot

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Those crazy mechanics!

Set that mechanic strait, you make decisions about flying, he fixes things that are broken.

Next time just tell him: "I fly em, you fix em"

Boy, do they get mad though!
 

GravityHater

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paulsalem said:
(ii) Indicated as required on the aircraft's equipment list

This is the crux of it - for this airplane, this kind of operation..... I can't recall for cezznas but you have to pull out the Wt & Bal / Equipment list and see if the gauges have an "R" beside it.
 
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