What Is the Aircraft Fuel Management System and How Does It Work?

When conducting a flight operation, it is paramount that the correct amount of fuel is supplied for the means of efficiency and safety. With the use of a fuel management system, fuel calculations may be conducted to find the proper amount of fuel required for a particular route, stop, or diversion. On top of general calculations, a fuel system may also provide high precision by accommodating for time, wind, distance, and fuel flow. In this blog, we will discuss the fuel management system and its functionality, allowing you to better understand its uses and importance to flight.

Once a route has been established for the flight management system (FMS), the device will utilize its fuel management function in order to convey the amount of available fuel and aircraft endurance while estimating the fuel that will be left as each waypoint of a route is met. While pilots will make their own estimates for fuel calculations, the aircraft fuel management system serves as confirmation. It is important to understand that the fuel display may not be capable of detecting certain issues such as leaks, plumbing malfunctions, and more, thus the pilot must be adamant about monitoring fuel rates as the flight is conducted. For the means of safety, pilots should always land at the first indication of low fuel or a discrepancy so that issues may be remedied while safely on the surface.

In general, a great number of fuel management systems will lack a fuel quantity sensor or float gauge. As a result, most calculations are based on an initial fuel estimate that is inputted by the pilot themselves. Because of this, pilots must be very careful when inputting fuel estimates, as attempting a low fuel landing with an incorrect initial fuel estimate may be very dangerous. Depending upon the expected level of fuel that is to be added to the aircraft engine for an operation, pilots should ensure that fuel servicing matches the need.

In order for the fuel management system to make calculations for how much fuel will be spent during certain aspects of a flight, it will utilize the current amount of fuel and the rate of consumption to make a determination. For some systems, the fuel burn rate may need to be manually entered, while others may feature sensors for flow or quantity. As both will widely differ in their accuracy, the pilot must know what type of system they have and its capabilities.

Based on fuel burn rates and available reserves, the fuel management system may be capable of displaying the endurance of the aircraft. This measurement is the amount of distance that the aircraft is capable of reaching based on its fuel and burn rate, often being given in the form of hours and minutes. Generally, the display will feature a ring around the aircraft, an inner one indicating when fuel reserve minimums would be reached while the outer is where fuel will be fully exhausted.

As a fuel management system can provide very important information regarding fuel amounts and burning rates, it is important that pilots know how to properly use them and how to input various data points as needed. After multiple flight operations, pilots may also compare true fuel spent to the calculations provided by the fuel management system, ensuring that everything is accurate and precise. If you find yourself in need of a fuel management system or various aircraft components such as temperature gauges, pressure gauges, and electronic sensors, look no further than Click Aerospace.


February 17, 2023

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