Thursday, June 14, 2012


I'm on a quick turn and after the mandatory break to pee, refill water bottles and file a new flight plan I'm back at the ramp to check on the airplane. My fuel caps are recessed into the top of the wings, with flaps that cover them, flush with the wing. The flaps are opened by giving a half-turn to a wingnut. One of the wingnuts is now missing. I track down the fueller. "Did the wingnut break off the fuel cap?" I ask.

He says it was like that when he found it. It seems very odd to me that a part that was affixed well enough for me to have opened and closed the cap to check it just five hours earlier became loose enough to bounce off in flight of its own accord. Sure there's airflow over it, but really? There's no point in arguing. Fortunately when the wingnut broke off it left a screwhead underneath and the cap is still perfectly usable to anyone with a tool. I have a tool.


Marc Cote said...

Sounds like your fueler is a tool

Anonymous said...

"It was on fire when I lay down. " -- Homer Simpson

Cedarglen said...

Marc may have it right, but I'm thinking that the fueler is a wingnut. Is that legal in Canada?

Scott Johnson said...

WIngnut = Dzus / Zeus fastener with winged handle glued/bonded to the head? I've had those break off ... the differing expansion rate of the two metals eventually stresses the bond and it breaks for no apparent reason.

Dave W said...

Call me a cynic but if I was fuelling your plane and found the nut missing, I'd probably mention it - I wonder why he didn't? Of course, in deference to Scott I guess it could have fatigued....

Enjoying your little posts once again...

Dave from the UK

Sarah said...

Naw, Scott I think the fuel cap wingnut is bigger than a dzus.

Has to be, to be hinged and enough leverage to open and close the cap.

Like this one.

A Squared said...


I don't think that Aviatrix is talking about that type of cap. I read her description as the entire fuel filler recess being covered by a sheetmetal flap, and secured by 1/4 turn fasteners with wings so that they can be turned by hand.

Sarah said...

A^2, you're right. I read too quickly and filtered it through my own experience.

capnaux said...

LMAO--and that's just reading the comments, lol!

We can't so much as touch something as highly complex as a fuel cap. If it requires opening a panel, or requires a tool, call Line Maintenance! Even if you're a current and qualified A&P. At least they trust us with circuit breaker resets...on the ground.... ;-)


gmc said...

@capnaux - why would you want to reset a circuit breaker in the air? And why on the ground without first knowing the reason for the trip?

capnaux said...

@gmc True true!

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