S-2A Fuel tank Gauge

Discussion in 'Pitts' started by cwilliamrose, Dec 30, 2017.

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  1. Dec 30, 2017 #1

    cwilliamrose

    cwilliamrose

    cwilliamrose

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    My S-2A has the typical Rochester gauge for fuel quantity. The problem is the the gauge is hard to read due to the slim font of the markings. Has anyone heard of this being a problem?

    It has been a long time since I have been in an S-2A but I seem to remember bolder markings that were easily visible from the rear cockpit. Does anyone know the part number of the gauge itself (not the Aviat p/n), I'd like to try to source a different/newer/better gauge for the S-2A application.
     
  2. Dec 30, 2017 #2

    PittsDriver68

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    My S-2A's gauge has bold markings that I can read from the rear cockpit. Ship 68. An instrument shop might be able to repaint the markings on the drum.

    The S-2B's and C's have an electric gauge. With some paperwork, you might be able to remove the old gauge from the standpipe it sits in, and install a modern electric probe in its place. Or just install an STC'ed fuel flow gauge and ignore the old Rochester.

    Best of luck.

    Wes
     
  3. Dec 30, 2017 #3

    cwilliamrose

    cwilliamrose

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    Thanks Wes,

    I suspect this unit has been swapped out and the replacement is not quite the same as the original. I'll look through the logs to try to confirm that. An electric gauge is a possible option, I'll check into it but I would not care to do anything the FAA needs to be involved with. When the airplane gets its new fabric I plan to move it to Experimental/Exhibition and all reasonable options can be considered without creating a stack of paperwork. In the meantime it would be nice to be able to see the gauge better..........
     
  4. Dec 30, 2017 #4

    Piloto

    Piloto

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    Bill: The gauge is original. I spoke to the mechanic of the previous owner, who concurs with this. It reads pessimistically, and I never trusted it.
    Rather, a graduated stick with five gallon increments is the best approach.

    TN
     
  5. Dec 30, 2017 #5

    Piloto

    Piloto

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    Also: I will soon change my Avatar.
     
  6. Dec 30, 2017 #6

    PittsDriver68

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    Bill,

    I understand your aversion to paperwork. That said, since the S-2C's went to an EI electric fuel level gauge an approval should be on the easier end of the FAA difficulty scale.

    The dipstick is the way to go. An S-2A can use a straight length of dowel. Put a leash on it so you can avoid dropping it into the tank, and make it easy to fish out. The B's and C's need a folding stick. Danny Adams custom makes those on request. I recall he puts per gallon marks on them.

    For what its worth, I flight plan my cross country legs at be 1:45 at 65% (2300 - 22.5"). That leaves me plenty of reserve, especially if I pull the power back to 50% and lean hard on my way to my alternate.

    Enjoy,

    Wes
     
  7. Dec 30, 2017 #7

    cwilliamrose

    cwilliamrose

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    Tom,

    Thanks for that info. I figured if the gauge was original the other possibility, beyond my own faulty memory, was that the supplier had made a change. I have probably not flown an S-2A with this high a serial number in the past. I'll take a photo if what is currently installed which can be compared to other airplanes and to the image I found on the Rochester web site.

    I agree, it's not a gauge to be trusted completely. I feel that's true with most fuel gauges. I'll make a dip stick as soon as it is practical to do so.
     
  8. Dec 30, 2017 #8

    cwilliamrose

    cwilliamrose

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    Wes,

    I was looking at that a couple of days ago and thought a simple stick would work for the S-2A. Good.

    I have some fuel consumption numbers from Tom Braymer's trip to Florida. I'll have to figure out how much range my butt and back have and decide how much power I want to run. 1:45 sounds like more than I would be willing to tolerate.........
     
  9. Dec 30, 2017 #9

    PittsDriver68

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    From NH to OSH its 5, 1:45 legs. But NH to TX was much longer.

    Pitts are not built for cross country comfort. "Astronaut" or conforfoam on the seat bottom helps a lot. If you wear a seat parachute they can snap or zip on a comfort pad to cross country flying. Worth doing.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
     
  10. Dec 30, 2017 #10

    cwilliamrose

    cwilliamrose

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    I do understand about cross country comfort in a Pitts or more accurately the lack of it. The trip leg length will depend on gaining pilot legroom and right now there's no room for a chute so that's a future consideration. Back when I was young I could wear a chute and fly long trips with only minimal complaints. That is no longer the case. Once I have more room for my legs I can shop for a chute and then try to make it more comfortable....... If, in the meantime, I can make the fuel gauge more visible I will try to do so.
     
  11. Dec 30, 2017 #11

    cgzro

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    Peter Ashwood-Smith P

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    An alternative to a folding stick is a piece of stifish 1/8 nylon tube. You can flex it a bit into the tank, put your finger over the end and withdraw a column of fuel. Ive been doing this for 18 years in the T. Just dont drop it. A handle helps :)
     
  12. Dec 30, 2017 #12

    cgzro

    cgzro

    cgzro

    Peter Ashwood-Smith P

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    I got the Nylon tube at a hobby shop. It was used for whip antennas on RC cars at the time.
     
  13. Dec 30, 2017 #13

    cwilliamrose

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    How did you mark the tube Peter?
     
  14. Dec 31, 2017 #14

    cgzro

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    Peter Ashwood-Smith P

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    I didnt. I keep the tube in a carbon fiber tube and marked that. So you dip, put thumb over the end then compare to the container. Works great.
     
  15. Dec 31, 2017 #15

    cgzro

    cgzro

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    Peter Ashwood-Smith P

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    I took a hollow carbon arrow shaft. cut a few inches off the top and drilled a hole to make a handle for the nylon tube. Then slid the container tube into the rest for storage. Ill send a pic if your interested.
     
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  16. Dec 31, 2017 #16

    cwilliamrose

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    If it isn't too much trouble. Thanks.
     
  17. Dec 31, 2017 #17

    Loopdloops

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    I am with you on going experimental route. The older these planes get the more expensive the are to keep FAA compliant. We have thought about changing ours over but we use it a lot for training so I just put up with it. As far as the fuel gauge. Ours has pretty bold characters on it. It is easy to see because of it. As far as accuracy goes, well not so much. I put a fuel flow meter in and I use about 2 hours in the air for my legs. It’s about all I can stand.
     
  18. Dec 31, 2017 #18

    PittsDriver68

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    A Parachute For the 6'5" pilot in an S-2.

    Bill, what you might try in the S-2A is using a Sukhoi back parachute with a modified seat back to fit it. For reasons known only to the Sukhoi Design Bureau, the parachute harness and container used in that airplane puts what we Americans would consider a seat container, a square lump, in the middle of the pilot's back. The Suk seat is built with a cavity in the seat back to accept the parachute.

    Strong over in Orlando makes a Sukhoi rig. With the appropriate modifications to the S-2A seat back, perhaps using the dreaded carbon fiber, to create a cavity extending 5" aft below the turtledeck, the Suk rig might be made to fit, and you might not lose any head or leg room.

    Just a guess, but it might make your fit easier. Perhaps worth a telephone call to Strong to get the dimensions of the rig. Or perhaps you know someone who flys an SU-26 or -31 and you can try that rig on.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
     
  19. Dec 31, 2017 #19

    Loopdloops

    Loopdloops

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    Wes that is an awesome idea and I looked at doing that to mine a few years back. Unfortunately the two tubes that support the factory seat back are to close together to make a comfortable pocket for the container. Now if you were to move the two uprights it would be game on. I could even get a couple of degrees of recline. It would be amazing.
     
  20. Dec 31, 2017 #20

    cwilliamrose

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    I had planned to dish the seat back using either rope/straps as a web or with aluminum as a vertical sling. I have done the aluminum thing on a couple of airplanes and used rope on another. As Charlie says the verticals are too close together to create an ideal design but that depends on the chute. Does anyone make a chair-style chute these days? That's what we used in the past and it worked OK with a stock seat dished an inch or so.
     

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