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Dear Cessna Owner:

It is important to periodically review certain aspects of pre-flighting an airplane that are familiar to all pilots but are frequently taken for granted. One of the more important aspects of the pre-flight is checking for fuel contamination.

Fuel contamination is usually the result of foreign material present in the fuel system which may consist of water, rust, sand, dirt, microbes, or bacterial growth. In addition, additives that are not compatible with fuel or fuel system components can cause the fuel to become contaminated. The following information provides recommended procedures for detecting, eliminating, and preventing fuel contamination.


Most airplanes incorporate wing tank drains, strainer drains, and other miscellaneous and specialized drains in the fuel system which have been provided primarily for detecting the presence of contaminants.

Before the first flight of the day and after each refueling ---



Use a clear sampling cup and drain a cupful of fuel from the fuel tank quick drain(s).


Drain the fuel strainer by pulling out the strainer knob for at least four (4) seconds.




If fuel tank quick drains are not installed, at least one (1) quart of fuel should be drained from the fuel strainer with the selecter valve in a position to assure each tank is draining fuel.

If contamination is detected, it then becomes the pilot's responsibility to see that the contaminants are removed from the fuel system prior to further flight.


The methods used to eliminate contaminants from the fuel system may vary slightly among aircraft; however, the following steps can be applied to most aircraft:


Drain several samples from each of the drains, paying particular attention to the drains located at the lowest spot in the fuel system (usually the fuel strainer, or the quick drain valves in the reservoir tanks on aircraft equipped with reservoir tanks.


Gently move the wings and/or lower the tail to the ground (on nose gear aircraft) to move the contaminants to the sampling points and assure that they are drained from the fuel system. Take repeated samples from all drain points until all contamination has been removed.



Care should be exercised in moving the wings and tail to avoid damaging skins and/or control surfaces.


Fuel contamination can be minimized by Owners taking the following preventative measures:


Make certain fuel caps are secure and sealing properly at all times (reference Service Information Letter SE82-34).


Keep fuel tanks full between flights to reduce the possibility of water condensing on the walls of partially filled tanks.


If you are not acquainted with a particular FBO, make certain that his fuel supply has been checked for contamination and is properly filtered before allowing your aircraft to be serviced.

For additional information on fuel contamination, contact your Cessna Dealer referencing Service Information Letter SE82-36.




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