Avionics Report

March 2008 Issue

Fuel Totalizers: EI, JPI are Top Values

When datalinked to a navigator, these devices provide all but foolproof fuel management. (As long as the fool tells them how much gas is aboard.)

Twice a week. On average, that’s how often GA pilots run out of gas. One reason for this—we surmise—is that pilots either don’t know how to manage fuel or they just do it poorly. The iffy gas gauges found in typical legacy airplanes aggravate the problem. Although the real reason for fuel exhaustion lies between the pilots’ ears, there’s a not-too-expensive upgrade that can help: a fuel totalizer. It will provide instantaneous fuel consumption data along with fuel remaining, endurance and, perhaps most important, a reliable indication of lean state. With gas at $6 a gallon, you need all the help you can get. When connected to a loran or GPS, a totalizer can supply distance-to-empty and reserve-at-destination information, along with your real-time mileage. Most fuel totalizers are stand-alone products; others require either a compatible GPS or an installed engine monitor to do their thing. Either way, none will guarantee you won’t run out of fuel, but you’ll have to work at it.

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