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Pencil dropped in PA38 tank

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Pencil dropped in PA38 tank

Old 25th Oct 2014, 15:49
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Pencil dropped in PA38 tank

Just had a call from someone with a PA38 who has managed to drop their pencil into a fuel tank!

Anyone know any clever ways of getting it out?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 15:58
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Drop an eraser in too, should neutralise it.
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 15:58
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Sh$t! Those tanks are supposed to be lead free.

Coat hanger?
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 16:13
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Hardware shops or auto shops carry long, flexible "lost item pickers" that you hold at one end and press to open claws at the other. That, a mirror and a flashlight to locate the pencil might do the trick.
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 16:15
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Find a kid with hands that will fit through the filler.
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 16:36
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Flashlight in a fuel tank? Yeah right

Slow roll with fuel cap off.

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Old 25th Oct 2014, 17:05
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Fill it with fuel slowly and it will float.

Then once above tabs gently pull the fuel in one direction and the surface current will pull it towards the hole where the movement is.
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 17:10
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LED flashlight will work. No heat and no spark.
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 17:26
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Like MJ said, If you can't reach it, the Grabber as described by Semmern (less than 10) a long thin lat of wood can be used as a paddle to stir the fuel in a circular swirl- all the muck and hopefully the pencil, will collect in the centre of the swirl, If you have a chip-pan at home , you can practice the technique.
That's how we cleaned the Chippy pans (about 4 gallons of oil) swirl, using a square,long-dandled sieve, wait till it slowed and a pool of grotty burnt stuff could be seen and a deft sweep with the seive would collect virtually all the debris.
swirl first, see if the pencil is floating....then a grabber......tempting to use a kid with small hands, but not with avgas or petrol on young, sensitive skin, please!
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 17:38
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Thanks for all the suggestions - will be down the field tomorrow to have a go at extricating said item and post the results!
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 18:09
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Out of interest, how does someone drop a pencil into a fuel tank?
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 18:30
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If you thrash the fuel in there is a chance it will get caught on the roof if you dribble it in towards the front edge it should sweep the floating item to the uphill end of the tank.

BTW I have used this technique with other fuel tanks and pencils/fag ends before.
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Old 25th Oct 2014, 21:21
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Depending on whether the errant pencil is floating or not, you might find it useful to raise one wing or the other to get it towards the filler neck. Preferably lift the wing at the jacking point or if that isn't possible, on the mainspar line of rivets.

If you need to change the longitudinal access of the aircraft, PA38s are quite easy to lower the tail/raise the nose. Gently pull down on the leading edge of the fin - but not the plastic fairing.

And anything you use to look inside the tank with - tie string round it so if it does get dropped you don't end up with more than the pencil inside....
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Old 26th Oct 2014, 00:26
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I've dropped a fuel strainer in the cowling oil filler hole before on a PA28, found it lower cowling air outlet.

Quickly learnt that fuel strainers are not best put balancing on the cowling oil filler cap while checking oil
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Old 26th Oct 2014, 01:14
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Devil

Mad_jock, Fag ends? Flaming either way.
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Old 26th Oct 2014, 02:55
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fag ends may very well mean: CIGARETTE BUTTS

after all the main contributors are not of north america.

there is an old WW1 song, which includes the lyrics;

while you've a lucifer to light your fag, smile ...etc

a lucifer is a match

a fag is a cigarette.

and gay use to mean carefree and happy.
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Old 26th Oct 2014, 14:56
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Probably needless to say, but I'll say it anyway. Ground the aircraft, ground all the tools you are using to the highest extent possible (go to an IT shop - they have special anti-static mats, clips and wristband that are all connected, and are used when working with sensitive electronic components), keep fire extinguishers to hand, don't wear flammable clothing or clothing that may generate static electricity. And if you are going to be hanging over an open fuel filler neck for a while, consider using appropriate breathing protection.
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Old 26th Oct 2014, 16:29
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@FakePilot
He's not called Mad Jock for nothing !
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Old 26th Oct 2014, 18:05
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If you can't find a torch to look for the pencil you could use a lighter or a match.
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Old 26th Oct 2014, 18:07
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I'd advise against using a match. You'll probably be looking in the tank for a while so you may burn your fingers as the match goes out.
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