DA42 Fuel & Oil

As a gentle reminder,

  • Fuel: If an FBO asks you if you want Jet-A Negative or Positive, it should always be Negative.
    • Positive means that anti-freeze is added to to the fuel, which is totally unnecessary in a light twin, unless you fly at -40°C or even colder flight levels – which is extremely unlikely, even in the deepest winter
  • Oil: When you measure oil, before the necessary second oil dip for the reading you must screw the oil dip all the way back in (and of course wipe the dip stick!)
    • Yes, it’ll cost you valuable milliseconds – but you will get a correct reading. Not screwing it back in will show too low an oil level, which typically results in subsequently overfilling the oil tank, which is not economical and can easily lead to unnecessary MX to figure out where oil drippings are coming from

Thank you for your business!

Twin churn…

By mid October we will likely have onboarded a beautiful, new-to-us DA42 with WAAS (LPVs here we come..!) and GFC700 with yaw damper and a flight director supporting constant airspeed climbs and vertical navigation!

No more constant altitude disARM surprises, and no more intercept overshoots and AP-initiated Dutch rolls on the localizer 🙂

Synthetic Vision will continue to be available and come in very handy on night and IFR flights as well as XM Satellite WX and Radio and USB charging ports (even in the luggage area for passengers in the back!).

It will also feature upgraded brakes (Beringer) to help avoid producing flat spots or even flat tires (braking gently above 50 KTS is still a good idea!), and reclining seats (please handle gently!).

At that point our current two twins (or at least one of them) may have moved on from BFI – we will see.

Stay tuned...!

PS Please please please treat this plane like it was your own, and like it was new. Some DA42 features are notoriously fragile and can be easily broken if not handled with care, e.g. all of the locks on canopy doors and aux tank lids or the seat recliner.

Twin Star: New Taxi / Landing lights

Both Twin Stars have just received new Taxi and Landing light bulbs which are significantly brighter than the ones that were worn out and probably just about half as bright as when they were new.

To help preserve the (not exactly cheap) bulbs, please generally turn off those lights as part of the cruise checks until approach/landing, except for local training flights / practicing maneuvers or to temporarily alert nearby traffic to your presence where using the Taxi light is recommended.

Twin Star gearbox oil level inspection

The gearbox oil level of the CD-135 engines of our Twin Stars is inspected through a small round glass at the prop end of the engine.
We have newer gearboxes on both DA42s: the oil level does not need to be at the top of the glass, but the level is correct when the oil covers (at least) half of the inspection window:

So if you see it at just about half, you’re good to fly!

OIL TEMP on departure

All engine instruments need to be in the green prior to departure. On cooler days – or on the first flight of a day – in can take several minutes all the way into the runup phase before the oil temperature is in the green.

Please be patient, and wait that extra minute or so before taking off so you have a safe flight – treat any aircraft engine life your life depends on it.


3WF is equipped with Garmin’s Electronic Stability and Protection safety system which is activated by default every time you turn on the avionics.

For any and all training flights with the intention to practice flight maneuvers please make sure to deactivate ESP (see the Pre-/Postflight section at the top of the Before You Fly 3WF… page) so as to avoid ending up in a fight with the Autopilot.
The feature will turn itself back on for the next flight, so don’t worry if you forget to re-activate it.

If you intend to fly X/C without maneuver practice there is no action item; ESP will simply be automatically ready to assist should the need arise.

For more information about ESP see chapter 8.10 in the G3X Touch Pilot’s Guide.

AOPA Pilot Passport

You are encouraged to participate in AOPA’s recurring Pilot Passport program – have fun, expand your experience, and earn badges by exploring the airports in WA and beyond!

However, please do not take unnecessary risks by flying into airports with potentially insufficient runway length (a runway may be long enough to land, but takeoff distances usually require more runway), especially in combination with obstacles like trees or sharp rising terrain near the airport.

As for the surface, this is also a gentle reminder of Renter/Student Ops Manual regulation 5.6 – Runway Requirements – and 5.6E in particular: “Operations into any field other than paved surfaces (soft, gravel, sand, grass, etc.) are prohibited unless prior approval is obtained from the Director of Operations, Chief or Assistant Chief Flight Instructor.

Soft fields can hide a number of hazards like

  • potholes or rocks in the grass,
  • gravel causing very expensive prop damage
  • mud is the last thing you want to get stuck in during landing or trying to get out of on takeoff.

    These are all unnecessary problems, and therefore all soft-field exercises should be simulated on paved taxiways and runways .

Soft-field landing in our Twin Stars are not allowed at all; it’s not part of multi-engine training anyway.

Thank you for your understanding and helping keep our planes in the condition you wish to find them when you want to go fly!

Drinks in the cockpit

Two inflight engine shut downs in early 2020 have prompted Airbus and EASA to order changes to how liquids are consumed (or not) on the flight deck. A drink spilled on the center console of a Delta flight required a diversion, and an Asiana flight diverted after a similar spill. 

Hydration is important, especially on X/C flights – but needless to say, spilled drinks into or onto any cockpit components can lead to both inflight issues, major clean-up/MX costs, and aircraft downtimes.

Please be mindful only bring travel mugs or other containers that can be fully closed, and make sure passengers of yours do the same.

Non-carbonated water is still the best way stay hydrated on any flight.