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Author Topic: Fuel gauges on the Electra  (Read 1425 times)

Brian Tannahill

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Fuel gauges on the Electra
« on: August 19, 2018, 08:03:24 PM »

The crashed-and-sank advocates say that Amelia reported she only had 30 minutes of fuel left.

It's questionable whether Amelia actually said that, but it makes me wonder just how precisely Amelia could monitor her fuel supply.

The standard Electra had several fuel gauges -- this cockpit diagram shows six gauges on the panel.

NR16020 was modified, with 13 separate fuel tanks.  Were there also additional fuel gauges?  And would the gauges be calibrated so that the pilot could make a ball-park estimate of remaining flight time?
 



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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Fuel gauges on the Electra
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2018, 07:26:05 AM »

The crashed-and-sank advocates say that Amelia reported she only had 30 minutes of fuel left.

It's more than questionable. I didn't happen. It's one of many myths the Crashed-and-Sankers cling to. See Chapter Ten of Finding Amelia.

it makes me wonder just how precisely Amelia could monitor her fuel supply.

Good question. 

NR16020 was modified, with 13 separate fuel tanks.

The attached schematic shows the fuel tank layout in NR16020. As you can see, the aircraft actually had a total of 12 fuel tanks (it was delivered with 13 but a tank was removed when the fuel system was re-done in August 1936). The two smaller tanks in the front of each wing were serviced from a single filler neck and treated as one tank.

  Were there also additional fuel gauges?  And would the gauges be calibrated so that the pilot could make a ball-park estimate of remaining flight time?

I'll address that question in the following post.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2018, 07:35:56 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Fuel gauges on the Electra
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2018, 07:44:39 AM »

As shown in the attached illustrations, Earhart could check the indicated fuel level in each tank.  How accurate the indicated level was is a different question.  The only way to be sure you have used all of the available fuel in any particular tank is to run it dry.  When you know it's getting low, keep a sharp eye on the fuel flow meter. When the pressure drops, switch to a different tank and hit the boost pump. If deftly done, the engine won't miss a beat.
My guess is that, from experience during the world flight, Earhart had a pretty good feel for how accurate the fuel quantity gauges were.
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