At the end of 2004 I was flying for a company specialized in anti-hail fight. I was instructor of cloud seeding in a Piper Cheyenne PA-31T. We had to ferry an airplane from our operations hub in Mendoza (Argentina) down south 112 NM to San Rafael in a 25 MIN flight. My partner that day was a fellow captain recently checked by myself on the aircraft. When the operations order came and we discovered we had to fly together we made a few jokes about it and I decided to assume the copilot’s duties that included preparation of flight plan and verify if the cloud seeding stuff. The external inspection (walk – around) was always copilot responsibility and mistakenly we both assumed that was done by the other part.
In this particular airplane there was a fuel gauge failure, for moments the needle was moving from indicating full to empty tank and, for that reason the cockpit fuel indicator was not reliable.
After discussing for a while who was pilot flying, I decided to be pilot non-flying for this leg.
Once in the air, we received the order to patrol some active cells that were growing en route. After joking for a while in a relaxed atmosphere, the LOW FUEL light came ON. The obvious question was: – Did you verify the fuel?, isn’t it? – No, I thought you did it..
In contact with San Rafael tower, we requested a high speed straight-in approach.
Fortunately both engines continued running until we arrived and taxied to the ramp, total fuel on board: around 5 min.
This is my first flight experience to share with all of you
Capt. Gonzalo Martin
ATPL / INST
PA-31T / SF34 / A340
“if we professional pilots share our experiences, we are making a safer aviation”