Even a Mooney can be Tricky

Even a Mooney can be Tricky

Even though I am the lead twin instructor at Aircraft Simulator Training, my commuter office aircraft is my Mooney. As I have aged I am more a twin engine guy with about 50 hours a month in the air mostly twins.  I not only use my aircraft for training but I commute in my twins.  For six years I commuted between Santa Rosa California and Houston Texas in a 340 and 421 aircraft.  Recently I have had the 340 and 421 in for either extensive maintenance or annuals.  I also have a 172 kept from my primary teach training years but I do not fly this except as a backup to pick up another aircraft and usually with one of my mentor pilots. I always have a mentor pilot who I worked with from their low time until they were confident on the gauges.  I have “mentor pilots” flying Gulfstreams and for the airlines.

For a couple of the flights in the Mooney between Burnet Texas and T78 I had a gasoline smell after fueling.  Anyone who flies Cessna 172, 182, 150, or 152 have had this smell as the equalization tube sometime gives you a slight odor.  A Mooney does not due this.  I blew it off because I only had a “whiff” of fuel and no indication of fuel anywhere in or around the aircraft. 

On the leg from Houston area to Burnet I taxied out after fueling and gasoline was dripping out from under the copilot’s panel.  It was bad.  Electrical off, taxi back to hanger, FAST, vent cabin.

I determined it was the dual fuel pressure/manifold pressure gauge. I pulled it and found the fuel attachment loose.  I tightened this and flew to Burnet.  Three days later I was leaving Burnet, fueled up, and had the same problem.  Back to the hanger where I do not have all my tools.  I pulled the gauge and it looked ok, put it back – no good, still leaking.  It started again.  I know the fuel pressure gauge system, and I knew it was a “double edge problem.”  I did not need to even look at the service manual.

Murphy’s law says that if it can happen again it will.  What am I trying to say?  You have to know your systems.  It does you no good to fly an aircraft and not understand how it “ticks.”  Even a Mooney can be tricky. 

No aircraft is any good if the pilot does not understand the system. Aircraft Simulator Training teaches systems. 

Remember: Train Hard, Fly Safe at Aircraft Simulator Training.