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PA-46 fuel selector

Hi all,
We operate a 1989 PA-46 converted to PT-6A turbine (Jetprop DLX) which makes a great and economic flying machine.
One of the few annoying details (in my opinion) is the fuel selector which has to be moved every 20 minutes or so to avoid fuel imbalance. We have set a timer on the GTN750 which reminds us of doing so. But I think it’s always a certain risk to move the selector, especially when selecting the LH tank, avoiding the “OFF” position.

I believe to have seen on the internet an STC for the PA-46 which installs an electric and programmable fuel selector, similar to the model found on the TBM’s.
Unfortunately I can’t find it anymore. Does anybody know about such an STC or have I just dreamt about it?

LSZR, Switzerland

I don’t think this exists. Unless it is something super exotic it would have been featured in MMOPA magazine etc. While it seems quite easy to build I imagine it would be super difficult to certify as the risks involved with any malfunctions are massive. Finally the Meridian/M500/M600 do have a different system so the number of potential customers to spread out the investment would be somehow limited.

For what it’s worth, in 1000h+ of flying a plane with the same selector and need to switch, I’ve never once selected “off” by mistake, you need to be quite positive before moving to “closed”. One of the mitigants I have in place is that I always take off on “left”, so if I lose power and have time to switch tanks, it’s always going to be away from the “closed” position.


And even if you did accidentally switch to off… while it would scare the … out of your pax (which is not to be underestimated) you would notice immediately and remedy it.

Mainz (EDFZ) & Egelsbach (EDFE), Germany

boscomantico wrote:

And even if you did accidentally switch to off…

On the Jetprop there is an additional header tank thats good for around 20 mins, so plenty of time to sort it out, no need to scare the pax, (unless the pilot is completely asleep)

United Kingdom

Sorry, just noted the OP was indeed referring to the Jetprop. Well, I guess that in that case, and with such header tank, if you accidentally switch the fuel to off, then you will likely not notice immediately. And then, once the header tank runs dry, you get a flameout, which is serious in a turbine aircraft.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 15 Jan 19:20
Mainz (EDFZ) & Egelsbach (EDFE), Germany

Miss selecting the left or right fuel tank has only been an issue once in 16 years of owning my DLX, when I did inadvertently move the selector too far left thus switching it off, but once the header tank (11.3G) drops below 10 gallons there is an annunciator warning light as well as a separate annunciator indicating the auto wing transfer pump is trying to top up the header tank. Hard to miss either warning well before getting anywhere near flaming out.
A non issue IMHO, and as far as l know there has never been an STC mod for the piston PA46 to automate this process.

Lovin' it

Thank you all for your replies.
Indeed you’re right regarding the header tank. Any mis-selecting would be caught by the capacity of the header tank.

LSZR, Switzerland
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