Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Humbling news

The news from Bailey Aviation is that "no fuel [was] pumping to the carburettor, due to dirt in the fuel pump and filters". That is very embarrassing news indeed, but it is good news for two reasons. Firstly it means that no expensive repair will be necessary, but more importantly it acts as a wake-up call for me to get very much more acquainted with my engine.

Microlighters do their own maintenance. It is one of the privileges of the sport (not being obliged to pay expensive licenced engineers to do it for us), but with that comes the responsibility to either do it properly ourselves or pay someone else to do it. I want to be a good all-rounder, so it is down to me to get to know my engine well and make sure such an embarrassingly simple fault does not get past me a second time.

I have been worried. The suggestion made by Ben Ashman was that I can't have been filtering my fuel, or that I have too coarse a filter. In point of fact I bought my filter from Flylight and as a Mr Funnel it is supposed to be state of the art for the purpose. So if I am filtering, what hope do I have of stopping a recurrence of my engine stoppage?

I said something to this effect in an email to Steve Wilson and he wrote this bac (and as I think it might help others, I hope he won't mind me quoting him

Filtering fuel in the field needs care. Check the outlet tube of the funnel for gunk before you use it, it may have picked up something in your tool box. I run my finger around inside the tube, tap it on the outside of the fuel can and visually inspect it. You could store the funnel with a cork in it or make it its own condom with a finger from an old rubber glove.

The classic in paramotor circles is for grass etc to get into the tank as soon as the cap is off so be very careful to limit the tank open time. When my aircraft is parked I have the fuel line disconnected and the tank cap and pressure relief valve in place but loose to allow venting. I syphon my tank dry every time I leave it. The fuel is then stored in sealed containers so the volatile content is not lost. This sucks out any rubbish that might be lurking in the tank. A visual inspection, with a torch if necessary, is always worthwhile.

I think I am careful but as my funnel is kept in my toolbox and I haven't sealed the spout or vented my tank, there is hope that in following Steve's advice, I can be a much more careful refueller than I have been.



xanthein said...


If you're interested in learning more about the Bailey fitted to your Dragonfly, try this Yahoo! group:


Intended mainly for Bailey paramotor owners, but an engine is an engine as far as I can see!

Jon. (Not a pilot, but loves the idea of the Dragonfly and would love to get into it at some point).

jeff said...

Hi mate,

Glad to hear it's a simple problem. Do you filter your fuel with a Mr Funnell or equivalent filter each time you fill your fuel tank?