Too Rich?

The AAIB’s Bulletin 10 of 2011 includes a report of an accident to a EV-97 Eurostar. It seems the pilot had difficulty starting the engine, and was experiencing canopy misting which was undoubtedly a distraction. Having used the choke during the start procedure, he apparently decided he had over-fuelled the engine so, to weaken the mixture for a further attempt, he selected the fuel cock OFF. When he did line up for takeoff, the engine failed at about 10 feet, and he was unable to prevent the aircraft over-running the strip end and striking obstacles.

GASIL (General Aviation Safety Information Leaflets) articles in the past have highlighted the fact that the fuel systems in many aircraft will provide enough fuel for a short taxi and take-off, even if the fuel cock is selected OFF. However, the extra fuel required at full power rapidly empties the lines, and the engine is likely to stop at a critical phase of flight. Whatever the distractions or hurry, pre-take-off vital actions are intended to identify and resolve any previous incorrect selections. They must be carried out carefully, and with the expectation that we shall find something wrong during them.

*The following article has been taken from GASIL Issue 2 of 2012. Available for download from