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Old 06-07-2018, 02:27 AM   #1
too-cool
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Default Fuel Uasge

Can someone tell me the correct order fuel selection/usage is on the P-51 with a full load of fuel including drop tanks. Thanks TC
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Old 06-07-2018, 02:39 AM   #2
Vitormouraa
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The carburetor is equipped with a return line, any vapor in it should come back to the left tank.

So make sure you're always burning the fuel from the left tank on taxi/takeoff.

Take a look at page 36 of the manual, there is some great info there.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:51 AM   #3
Captain Orso
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Agreed, always use the left internal wing tank for start-up and take-off. By the time you've taken off and gained some altitude, you should have used enough fuel from the left wing tank to have room for spillover, but I've never flown several hours at at time, so maybe after an hour or so, the left wing tank will be full of overflow and you have to switch to it to make room again. Just check the gauge every 5 minutes or so. In fact, every time you switch between drop tanks, check the gauge (see below).

Beyond that, I think it would really depend on your mission. If you were thinking of a long range escort mission--and if you're not, I have no idea why you would need drop tanks at all--I would use the internal central tank first (after take-off as above), because it causes a very poor center of gravity while full. So use that tank until empty (engine sputters) then immediately switch to one of the drop tanks. You can check the fill-level of the center tank by looking at the gauge over your left shoulder just behind your seat at about shoulder level.

While on the drop tanks, switch between them every 5 minutes. Set up a rhyme using the onboard clock and a fixed plan so that you always know which tank you should be on.

EG think ROLE - Right-Odd, Left-Even. When the minute hand on the clock dial is on an odd number 1-3-5-7-9-11 switch to the right drop tank. When on an even number 2-4-6-8-10-12, switch to the left drop tank. If at anytime you've forgotten to switch tanks, just look at your clock, and switch to the appropriate tank. Of course if you do this too often you might experience having far more fuel on one side than the other. There's no way to actually see this, as the drop tanks do not have fill-level gauges, but if too extreme you might notice a difference in handling and trim.

If at any time you have to go into combat, drop both drop tanks simultaneously to prevent asymmetrical wingload and drag, and switch to the left wing tank.

You drop the external tanks simultaneously the same as you would bombs, setting the bomb selecter to "both" and press the thumb button on your stick, only you don't need to arm them first

Continue switching between the drop tanks until both are empty. When the engine starts to sputter while on one tank, switch to the other drop tank until the engine starts to sputter again on that drop tank as well, and then switch to the left wing tank, and drop both drop tanks simultaneously, as per above. Both should run empty at pretty close to the same time.

Once on the left wing tank, which should be close to full, start the same routine of switching between the left and right wing tanks, as you used with the drop tanks. The only difference is that you can now control their fill-levels with the tank gauges.
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Old 06-07-2018, 12:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Orso View Post
Agreed, always use the left internal wing tank for start-up and take-off. By the time you've taken off and gained some altitude, you should have used enough fuel from the left wing tank to have room for spillover, but I've never flown several hours at at time, so maybe after an hour or so, the left wing tank will be full of overflow and you have to switch to it to make room again. Just check the gauge every 5 minutes or so. In fact, every time you switch between drop tanks, check the gauge (see below).
I was lucky enough to fly aircraft in which switching between fuel tanks wasn't a thing, but AFAIK IRL fuel tanks switch should be done every 15 minutes. One of my instructors used to have an oily white pen to write in the glass every time he switched tanks. I think P-51 manual also stated something similar. Bear in mind it's not only a fumes return thing, the planes gets decompensated with differential tank loads and that's a nasty thing to mess with in a long flight. Dealing with timed fuel switching isn't a pleasant thing though.





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Old 06-07-2018, 01:52 PM   #5
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Thanks Guys that clear up the question I had. TC
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:41 PM   #6
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Love the info presented in this thread.

Can anyone explain WHY you can only choose one tank at a time?

To clarify, I don't mean mechanically, but rather why the aircraft fuel system is designed that way? If things like "Rear air scoop for the cooling air" can be automated, why wasn't fuel distribution also automated?
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:14 PM   #7
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Probably because you can damage an engine very quickly by under-cooling it for even a short period of time, and then when you will be requiring the most performance from the engine--during combat--is exactly when you have the least amount of time to consider engine management. Every bit of engine management automation goes a long way in making the aircraft an easier to manage, and thus a better fighting machine.

With fuel source selection, you can go 10 or fifteen minutes without making your scheduled switch, and the worse thing that happens is that you have a few pounds of imbalance between your left and right wing tanks. No real big deal. Addition automation here would make the aircraft cost more, and add to its weight, with no actual performance gain.
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