Fuel Sump Incident

I was going out to fly the Citabria. But darn, the owner was out to fly his own airplane that day. As a renter don't you just hate it when the owner wants to fly his own airplane? Ha, ha! In any case I stopped to chat and things turned into quite an adventure.

George had moved his Citabria out of the hanger and was out in the clear area between the hangers. After fueling he sumped the fuel tanks to check for water as called for by the standard operating proceedures.

The right fuel sump stuck open and would not close. A full fuel tank started to drain. I stood there holding my thumb on the hole for a long time doing my imitation of the little dutch boy with his finger in the hole in the dike. Eventually we were able to plug the leak. Then while plugged we were able to locate a replacement drain sump.

This is an example of why I never sump inside of a hanger. George followed good proceedures. But other pilots I have flown with have not and if this had happened to them things might not have turned out so well.

George is not happy and the sarcasm is thick. Look at that leak! The drain sump just won't stop draining.

I hope that is not my headset getting fuel soaked.

A call to the fuel truck brought us something with which to catch the fuel.

The ground was wet from a recent rainshower. Luckily we were able to catch most of the fuel and only a small amount leaked. The shiny areas in this picture are water.

George is checking just how much fuel is left to drain. Will it never end?

Finally got it plugged off. Now to find a replacement drain sump.

We flew to the next airport in another aircraft to be able to pick up the replacement part. Back again. It is dark now. The new drain is just now installed. The aircraft is fixed. What an adventure!