Episode 56. Fuel management and flying the U-2, with Tim Decker

Tim DeckerTim Decker’s flying career includes almost every segment of aviation, including military, fractional, airline, and even airshows. He applies safety habits from each of these jobs to his flying in his Cirrus SR22, and shares some of those in this episode. He explains the difference between minimum fuel and emergency fuel, when it’s smart to declare an emergency, and why instructors must embrace scenario-based training. He also talks about the concept of factored landing distances and shares how to calculate them in ForeFlight. In the Ready to Copy Segment, Tim tells us what it’s like to land a U-2 in a crosswind, two key lessons he learned from flying airshows, and the key differences between a career as an airline pilot and fractional pilot.


  • Preventable fuel accidents: “Why do we have people running out of gas and then declaring an emergency, after they’ve run out of gas?”
  • Handling emergencies: “A lot of GA pilots just rip stuff out of memory… If it’s not a critical memory item, I would expect somebody to open up the checklist.”
  • Managing automation: “If everything is working well and the weather is poor, I would expect us to use the automation and use the autopilot for safety.”
  • Flying the U-2: “If you don’t land it straight, it will ground loop—just like any taildragger.”
  • Lessons from GA for airlines: “I can sometimes tell when I’m flying with another pilot who has a lot of GA—especially tailwheel—time.”

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