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Aviation Learning Center Document Meet Your Aircraft P-8740-29
Author: FAA Date: 1995
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Habits Can Be Dangerous
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Although knowledge of the new aircraft's operating systems is important, pilots must be aware that old operating habits can be deadly when transitioning between aircraft. For example, since we have just discussed how different aircraft can have different fuel operating systems, let's suppose that you lose an engine in a twin you are transitioning to on a dark and stormy night. Now let's suppose that in the stress of the moment, you revert to an old habit. You use the crossfeed procedures for a twin that you normally fly instead of the different procedure for the new aircraft. You might have just shut off the fuel to your only remaining engine.

Another example of how a habit can cause you a problem in a new aircraft is using the wrong technique to lean the engine. There is at least one make and model of aircraft that will use substantially more fuel than the performance charts indicate if, from habit, you use the traditional leaning technique. Most of us have been taught to lean until we get peak RPM (in an aircraft with a fixed pitch prop), and then enrich the mixture until there is a 25-50 RPM drop. However, in at least one aircraft, the leaning instructions are to lean under there is a 25-50 RPM drop. There is a warning that fuel consumption cna be 10 percent higher if the first method is used instead of the recommended procedure. There is also a warning that not following this recommended procedure and leaving the mixture in the full rich position can increase fuel consumption by as much as 40 percent, and decrease flight endurance by as much as 70 minutes from what is published in the 75 percent power performance figures.

Since old operating habits can be deadly to pilots transitioning between aircraft with different operating procedures, pilots need to be aware that during stressful or emergency situations in a new aircraft, they may use the wrong procedures. In such situations, pilots must make sure that they are using the correct procedure for the aircraft that they are flying. Pilots must be particularly careful any time they are making any changes that involve the fule system or the landing gear.

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