CHAPTER 5. Information Systems

Determining Endurance

Most fuel management function or systems display the amount of fuel remaining, as well as the endurance of the aircraft given the current fuel flow. Most systems display the aircraft endurance in hours and minutes, as shown in Figure 5-21.

Some units show a fuel range ring on the MFD that indicates the distance the aircraft can fly given current fuel and fuel flow. This feature, illustrated in Figure 5-22, is useful for making fuel stop or alternate airport planning decisions. It may or may not include allowances for winds. Many units allow you to specify personal minimum fuel reserves. In this case, the fuel range ring indicates the point at which the aircraft will reach reserve fuel minimums.

Risk: Stretching Fuel Reserves

The availability of predictive information about fuel burn and fuel availability introduces the possibility of flying closer and closer to fuel minimums or stretching fuel holdings farther than would be appropriate with “back of the envelope” calculations in a traditional aircraft. You must be aware of this tendency and discipline yourself to using fuel management systems to increase safety rather than stretch the limits. Refueling the aircraft offers a good opportunity to compare the amount of fuel burned with that predicted by the fuel management system and your own calculations. It is always a good exercise to determine why the fuel management function or system’s numbers differ from what is actually pumped into the tank(s). Was it improper leaning? More/ less winds? Are the EGT/CHT gauges indicating properly?

Other Cockpit Information System Features

Electronic Checklists

Some systems are capable of presenting checklists that appear in the aircraft operating manual on the MFD. The MFD in Figure 5-23 depicts a pretaxi checklist while the aircraft is parked on the ramp.

In some cases, checklists presented on an MFD are approved for use as primary aircraft checklists. It is important to note that electronic checklists are only available when the aircraft’s electrical system is powered up. In almost all instances, the aircraft must have emergency checklists in paper (or plastic) form in the event of power or electrical failure. You should be well versed in the use and contents of the checklists and be able to find them in times of stress. Some climates dictate minimum battery use until the engine is started. For those circumstances, it is important to be competent in the use of paper checklists for normal procedures until the electronic checklist in the MFD becomes available.

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