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For aircraft to ensure that they are capable of reaching their destinations safely and efficiently, a large amount of effort is poured into flight planning. As one of the biggest parts of flight planning, operators must ensure that a proper amount of fuel is supplied for the aircraft to both remain as light as possible while having a bit of extra fuel for any emergencies. With the aircraft fuel management system, pilots are given the ability to monitor fuel levels, rates, and more during a standard flight operation depending on the available instruments and devices.
The fuel system can range in complexity depending on its design, often relying on a number of gauges, electronic sensors, and other devices that assist in measurements and calculations. While data will vary based on the system, common characteristics tracked by aircraft fuel management systems include fuel quantity, fuel flow, fuel pressure, and fuel temperature. It is important to note that many fuel management systems will not feature fuel quantity sensors, and as such must use an initial fuel estimate provided by the pilot. This makes it crucial that estimates are as precise as possible for such systems, as many other calculations and estimates may depend upon this value.
In the case that an aircraft does have the capability to measure the amount of fuel present within a bladder tank or other structure, such data is obtained with the use of a sight glass, float gauge, resistance gauge, under-wing measurements, or capacitance units. Whether through mechanical means or with electronic sensors, such fuel measurement devices and procedures can better ensure that the levels of fuel present within a tank is constantly monitored for the efficiency of flight operations.
While it is important to be aware of the remaining fuel within a tank, it is also crucial that there are components in place to transfer fuel to the aircraft engines as well as measure the rate at which fuel is expended. As fuel tanks are often located within the wings of the aircraft and must travel a distance to the engines, many aircraft utilize engine-driven and electrical boost pumps that ensure there is enough pressure to efficiently move fluids. With the addition of various valve types throughout the assembly and the means of controlling the system, fuel can be directed through the aircraft and stopped, slowed down, sped up, and redirected as necessary to accommodate different operational needs. As fuel is transferred to the aircraft engines, fuel flow meters are used to ascertain engine performance through the measuring of fuel use in real time. With pressure gauges, vane-type fuel flow meters, and mass flow indicators, the flow of fuel can be measured in real time for various aircraft.
Fuel temperature gauges are also important for safe flight, and such instruments measure the temperature of fuel to warn the pilot when ice may form within the system. With the implementation of a fuel heater, temperatures may be managed with heat to avoid cold conditions. As temperature can affect fuel viscosity and combustion, it is very important that its warmth is maintained throughout a flight operation.
Fuel pressure gauges are also widely used in aviation, and they can be an early warning of a fuel system malfunction. With the use of pressure gauges or electronic sensors, fuel is measured and information is relayed to a cockpit display for the pilot. In order to warn the pilot of unsafe pressure conditions, aircraft will regularly implement visual and audible warning devices within the cockpit. Utilizing pressure sensing switches and a diaphragm, contacts will close when fuel pressure drops and the flow of current will trip the warning system for the pilot.
With the various components of the aircraft fuel management system, pilots can monitor the health of the engine and carry out flight plans efficiently. At ASAP Aero Supplies, we are a leading distributor of aircraft parts, offering gauges, electronic sensors, bladder tank components, and other items at competitive prices. Explore over 2 billion items that we have in stock, and you can receive competitive quotes for your comparison in just 15 minutes or less upon the submission of an Instant RFQ form. Start the purchasing process today and see why customers choose to rely on ASAP Aero Supplies for all their aircraft needs.
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