Aero-News TV at OshKosh 2021 Fuel Monitoring

image of Scott Philiben speaking to Aero News spokeswoman at OshKosh 2021

“At AirVenture 2021 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Aero-News Correspondent Maria Morrison spoke with CiES Inc. President Scott Philiben about their fuel monitoring systems for small aircraft. Working with industry partner Cirrus to revamp the fuel reading accuracy, CiES was able to create a safer, more modern fuel quantity sender suited to nearly all general aviation aircraft, available as OEM equipment, or under a Retrofit STC.”

Read a transcript of the video below, or you can view the YouTube video here.

Maria Morrison: Okay, Scott. Thank you for bringing CiES here to Oshkosh. What are you showing the people today?

Scott Philiben: CiES really got founded in addressing an age-old industry problem – and that was inaccurate fuel level in GA. We all know that because some of us who have been flying for a long period of time have experienced it. The other thing is that everybody in the world knows it because it’s a movie icon. It’s such a bad problem that every movie that you see when there’s a problem with the airplane, they’re tapping on fuel gauges.

We thought it might be time for a change. So right around 2010, Cirrus approached us and said, “Hey we’re having issues with fuel quantity. Could you help us? Oh by the way, it’s got to fit in the same hole. It’s got to perform the same function. It’s got interface with the same avionics we already have.”

So we looked at different solutions, but we came up with this float idea. Let’s retain the float but then let’s pair that with modern technology. Right here is the internal sensor assembly inside the unit. What we have in the fuel tank is not electrically connected to what is outside the fuel tank. So that sparks that originate in your wiring don’t actually find their way in the fuel tank. That’s a new FAA requirement, but it’s also something that would be safe for legacy aircraft. So this sensor is driven off a set of magnets at the rotor. The magnetic field direction is measured through the aluminum body of the sender, so that keeps the electronics out of the fuel.

Maria Morrison: So, if i wanted to put this in an airplane, how would I go about doing this? Is this ready for general aviation use?

Scott Philiben: Yeah, we have a very comprehensive STC that covers 99% of the GA fleet and we interface with a variety of aftermarket engine gauge options. Typical in a medium-sized low-wing aircraft, you’ll end up with two fuel senders. One will be at the inboard or lower portion of the tank and one will be at the outboard. They have to combine together to measure all the fuel in the aircraft and you could actually extend that out. We could have more senders, but what it’s showing is that we have raw data for each of the individual senders and what people would normally associate with a fuel gauge. And we’re able to illustrate that we’re able to take out damping, vibrations and fuel movement, as well as provide a very consistent reading. You can see there’s this scum or line on here and it’s absolutely perfect. It shows the level of accuracy we’re able to achieve with this system.

Maria Morrison: We know that CiES improves fuel level accuracy. What’s the benefit of that to pilots?

Scott Philiben: Well, interestingly, my father thought I’d be sued within the first year by pilots running out of fuel. But after we’ve installed approaching 80,000 fuel senders in the field in over 14,000 or 15,000 aircraft, we’ve yet to have a fuel starvation or exhaustion event. So it’s proving out that if pilots have accurate information in the cockpit related to their fuel state, they seem to make much better decisions about finding their way to a runway versus a highway or a field.