Articles: The Importance of Sumping - Before EVERY Flight

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On more than one occasion I’ve filled up the plane, stepped into the FBO, came back out and buckled myself in, and only then did I realize I hadn’t sumped the tanks. It’s always so tempting just to say to yourself “I’ve never found any water before, I’m sure there’s not any there this time either”. But fortunately the voices of my seasoned flight instructors start echoing in my head, warning me of the consequences of being lackadaisical.


On this particular occasion I was along as safety pilot for a friend, who wanted to practice his instrument approaches in the flying club’s Piper Warrior.  It had been raining earlier in the week, and raining a Lot!  He sumped the tank on one wing and looked at the container, making the comment "It sure doesn't look blue enough, something's not right".  So he sampled it again and this time it was clear what was going on, well half clear anyway.  You can see from the pictures just how much water was in the tank!  Had the plane been flown off of this tank the results would definitely have been less than desirable.  So the next time the little voice in my head tries to talk me into skipping the sump, this image will be firmly planted in my head.

 

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