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Fuel-Related Mistakes/Accidents  
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7753 posts, RR: 21
Posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 3921 times:

So, the last thread I posted on this got accidentally deleted while it was being moved from Civil Av, so here we go again.

I was thinking about the Tunisian ATR-72 crash, which was caused by an incorrect fuel gauge being installed. I got to wondering which other accidents or mishaps have been solely fuel-related.

Grateful for your suggestions and insight.


✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
11 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17270 posts, RR: 67
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 3882 times:

No airliner accident is ever "solely" due to one thing, though the Tuninter flight 1153 that you mention is close. The flight and ground crew mismanaged fueling. Fuel systems in airliners are, if not unreliable, at least subject to frequent manual checking of the actual tanks for good reason.

The emergency might also have been handled a bit differently but this is debatable. If they had feathered the props immediately there was a chance of reaching Palermo or at least ditching close by.

With that caveat, a few notorious incidents follow.
- Air Canada flight 143, AKA "The Gimli Glider". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimli_Glider. Mainly caused by miscalculation due to confusion between US units (not quite Imperial) and metric units.
- Air Transat flight 236. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Transat_Flight_236. Fuel leak due to wrong part fitted was mismanaged by the crew.
- United Airlines flight 173. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_Flight_173. Fuel starvation due to focusing on a problem and continuing to hold.
- Avianca flight 52. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avianca_Flight_52 Failed to declare a fuel emergency while approaching JFK and crashed due to fuel starvation.

[Edited 2013-06-30 01:23:47]

[Edited 2013-06-30 01:25:03]

"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7753 posts, RR: 21
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 3824 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
No airliner accident is ever "solely" due to one thing,

Well yes, I understand that - but 'fuel' as a subject covers a multitude of potential issues;.

✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7669 posts, RR: 33
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 3797 times:

The AOPA - Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association - in the United States - continually warns members of the dangers of putting the wrong fuel in the tanks.

Over the years there have been many accidents involving GA aircraft where Avgas was put in turbine aircraft, and jet fuel put in the tanks of piston aircraft.

I seem to remember a couple commercial passenger aircraft crashes due to wrong fuel. Back in the 50s when piston and turbine powered commercial aircraft were refueled on the same ramp - the wrong fuel happened too often.

User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2957 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week ago) and read 3765 times:

Have there been any accidents due to low fuel quality (e.g. too much sulphur, water or other contaminants)?


Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 10066 posts, RR: 52
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 3740 times:

If you ignore the conspiracy theorists, TWA 800 has had the biggest change in the industry due to fuel problems because of SFAR88 and nitrogen generation systems to prevent fuel tank ignition.

If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1920 posts, RR: 41
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3697 times:

An interesting article about a successful ditch by a TY-124 after running out of fuel



Nothing's worse then flying the same registration twice, except flying it 4 times..
User currently online7BOEING7 From United States of America, joined Oct 2012, 1908 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3677 times:

In 1971 a U S Navy P-3A Orion crashed/ditched into Subic Bay shortly after takeoff from Cubi Point NAS in the Phillipines when all four engines overheated because a dry cleaning solvent rather than methanol alcohol was put in the ADI tank (water-methanol injection system).

User currently offlineAircellist From Canada, joined Oct 2004, 1753 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3587 times:

I guess BA 38 fits the bill, somehow:


User currently offlineBreninTW From Taiwan, joined Jul 2006, 1760 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3502 times:

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 4):
Have there been any accidents due to low fuel quality (e.g. too much sulphur, water or other contaminants)?

There was an issue with a CX A330 at HKG a year or two back that was caused by fuel contamination at the origin airport in Indonesia.

I'm tired of the A vs. B sniping. Neither make planes that shed wings randomly!
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31711 posts, RR: 56
Reply 10, posted (1 year 8 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3074 times:

Talking about fuel related errors...........

The Gimli Glider comes to mind.Amazing story.

Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineUAL Bagsmasher From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 2148 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (1 year 8 months 22 hours ago) and read 2938 times:

Let's not forget ALM 980. The aircraft was a DC-9 which was being flown JFK-SXM, which really pushed the range of the aircraft to the outer envelope. Through a series of events, the aircraft ended up ditching when it ran out of fuel. A good book was written about the accident a few years ago called "35 Miles from Shore."

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