Crashing an airplane is probably every pilot’s worst dream and even more so when it comes to such a great aircraft like the Piper Malibu. About 12 months ago this dream unfortunately came true for a pilot in Spokane Valley near Washington in the USA when his Malibu crashed. Reports are now coming out saying that the crash is due to wrong fuel usage from either the pilot’s or fuel operator’s part.
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The information for this post comes from an article on KXLY.com titled “Wrong fuel may be factor in plane crash” and deems to be a valuable lesson for any aircraft pilot out there. There are different types of fuel available and specifically for airplanes you get aviation fuel and jet fuel. Both these fuel types are a high octane version as compared to normal gas or fuel which we use in our cars.
The pilot, Michael Clements, was busy preparing for his flight in his Piper Malibu and had to fuel up before takeoff. At the airfield where he was busy preparing there is a self-service fuel pump with jet fuel and aviation fuels both standing next to each other. Investigators from the FAA testing some of the fuel leaking from his Malibu after the crash and it seems that somehow Clements’ Malibu was filled up with jet fuel instead of aviation fuel. Whether Michael made the mistake himself or someone else served him at the fuel station the mistake is an expensive and very dangerous one.
In fact because jet fuel was used the Malibu crashed within minutes after takeoff as the fuel didn’t have any octane that is essential to running piston powered airplanes. Having the wrong fuel in your aircraft is very dangerous as previous incidents regarding a Cessna aircraft lead to the death of 4 people. Our reports state that the pilot also didn’t make it as he had very serious injuries.
Our prayers are with the family of the pilot and hope that other pilots will always keep their own and their passenger’s safety in mind when flying.