Michael Kilcher, a snowbird pilot who splits his time between Winter Haven, Florida, and Old Forge, N.Y., came up with his own solution for refueling his airplane.
“Back in the early 2000s I owned and flew a Skyhawk about 200 hours per year,” he said. “I purchased a Petersen STC for it so I could burn auto fuel. I bought a new, steel 55-gallon drum that had a side bung, a 12-volt electric fuel pump and a separate fuel filter and other miscellaneous hardware/fittings. I then built from a wooden pallet a cradle to which I strapped the 55-gallon drum. I ran wiring from the truck battery to the bed so I could power the pump. The connection was made with an SB connector.”
“I would generally fuel up before flying and would stop at the gas station on my way to the airport,” he continued. “If I were flying far I would buy enough fuel to fill the tanks and, if I were flying into a short strip someplace, I might pump in just a few gallons. I had a couple of wooden sticks that I marked to determine how much fuel I had when done flying for the day so when I went flying next I would know how much fuel I needed to buy.”
“I built a stand that was a tad lower than the open tailgate of my truck,” he continued. “When I’d get home after flying I would slide the tank/cradle off the truck and onto the stand. Easy. Next time I needed to haul fuel I would slide it back into the truck and secure it.
“I saved thousands of dollars using auto fuel for several years while I owned that airplane. I never had trouble with lead-fouled plugs and they were very easy to clean at maintenance time. Aside from the occasional smell I had no real complaints about auto fuel. I did keep disposable exam gloves for fuel sampling or any other like activity to keep it off of my skin. It was a slick set-up that saved me a lot of money and I would do it again in a minute.”