Fuel Issues Play a Major Role in Most Small Plane Crashes

The Seinfeld episode where Kramer wants to test the limits of a new car’s fuel tank made for hilarious television. Kramer’s logic is that he sometimes borrows Jerry’s car and does not always have the cash to put more gas in the tank. He wants to know just how far he can push it beyond the low fuel warning. Unfortunately, it is a mentality shared by many pilots of small planes. Improper fuel management results in about two GA plane crashes each week, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Easily preventable

Many pilot gets overly confident and adopt a nonchalant attitude to safety. They feel they have been flying long enough to know their plane. They want to save a bit of money on fuel cost by keeping the fuel load as light as they can. This all too often results in crashes at or near the landing site. The money saved on fuel is nothing compared to the cost of a crash and emotional toll of a passenger’s death.

Mechanical failure

Proper safety procedures begin long before the day of a flight. Regular small aircraft maintenance is essential to prevent fuel starvation due to mechanical failure. Never take your love of flying or your aircraft for granted. Flying is not just about rushing from one location to the next. Take the time to do things right and appreciate everything you have.

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Hybrid Technology Moves into the Small Plane Market

With some of the biggest hurdles conquered, engineers have recently unveiled new hybrid planes that may well revolutionize the world of small aircraft technology. Just as we’ve seen hybrid cars evolve from newfangled to commonplace, the coming years will see electric engines emerge for more and more planes.

The Latest Tests for Hybrid Aircraft

At Cambridge University, engineers using Honda technology have successfully tested a one-seater aircraft with a lithium-polymer battery. Boeing partnered with the British scientists on the project.

The traditional gas engine supplies power whenever necessary, including at takeoff and for high-altitude climbs. The electric battery handles most of the power otherwise. While cruising, the electric component serves as a generator to assist the traditional fuel engine.

Fuel savings are estimated at 30% compared to a standard gas engine. If engineers can extend the technology to make that efficiency viable for commercially available small aircraft, it would certainly rank as one of the most exciting developments in aviation technology.

When Will Hybrid Planes Become Available?

For now, the test version of the hybrid plane has only operated around 1,500 feet and for short stretches of time. However, the main obstacles to hybrid aircraft — weight, power, and affordable technology — seem to be falling by the wayside as researchers make rapid advances.

With strong demand for fuel efficiency and the support of major aviation companies, it may not be more than a few years before you can buy your next small aircraft with hybrid technology.

Interested in cutting-edge technology to boost efficiency? Consider airplane tugs and other advanced tools to improve life in the hangar.

The Perfect Get Away Craft: Introducing the Cirrus Vision SF50

The practicality of an SUV with the luxury of a private jet? What better combo could you get? The latest in the Cirrus Aircraft line, The Cirrus Vision SF50 Personal Jet offers all of that – and its very own parachute.

Small but mighty
A quick look at the SF50 makes the plane’s significantly smaller size obvious, with its 3,700 pound weight and 38-foot wingspan. However the little aircraft packs a lot of punch in a small package.

Perfect for family vacations, the SF50 offers a 7-seat configuration similar to a full-size SUV, with more than average SUV options, including Garmin avionics to get you where you’re going, and Sirius XM to ensure in-flight entertainment.

Simple to fly
The smaller size and weight of the Vision SF50  aircraft make it ideal for beginner pilots, and its V-shaped tail make it considerably easier to control. According to the manufacturer, this ease of operation makes it ideal for an array of lifestyle pursuits.

Space-age safety
Nervous novices can allay flying fears with CAPS, Cirrus’ Airframe Parachute System. The elaborate safety system deploys a massive parachute in the event of an emergency or systems malfunction, capable of floating the entire plane safely to the ground without propulsion. The system, used by space agencies worldwide, has already been credited with saving lives during use in other Cirrus planes.

Coming to a dealer near you
The production model of the SF50 went on its maiden voyage this past December. Reasonably priced at less than $2 million, at least 550 aviators anxiously await its delivery.

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