Why do Pilots Dump Fuel?? Explained by Captain Joe
It’s not exactly common knowledge because it doesn’t happen too often, but sometimes ...
It’s not exactly common knowledge because it doesn’t happen too often, but sometimes pilots have to dump excess fuel from their planes. The reasoning behind this procedure is not exactly hard to understand, especially if you watch this video from Captain Joe, everybody’s favorite YouTube pilot.
Basically, fuel has to be dumped to shed weight for landing, because fuel is heavy and landing with too much fuel on board puts much more stress on the structural frame of the plane, possibly leading to disastrous results. But why would a plane have too much fuel in the first case, as it seems wasteful to just dump the high dollar liquid out unceremoniously when better planning could eliminate this, right? It turns out, fuel is only dumped in unplanned rerouting and emergency situations. Captain Joe uses a great example of an overseas flight that is loaded up with fuel for the long journey, only to be rerouted due to a medical emergency onboard. With literally tons of fuel on board for the flight across the ocean, the plane will be far too heavy to land safely, so the pilot opens the dump valve at the end of the wing and releases two tons of fuel per minute until the craft reaches a safe landing weight.
Hopefully, you never find yourself on a plane that’s having to dump fuel, as it means you’ve likely been diverted somewhere other than your intended destination due to an emergency. However, at least you can take solace in the fact that there is a way to jettison the excess fuel so the pilot can land safely and get the situation taken care of.
Have any of you ever been on a flight that was diverted? If so, did you notice the fuel dump before landing? Did you know what was going on, or did the massive trail of liquid leave you scratching your head?