When performing a climb in a SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 with a Lycoming engine, the fuel pressure decreased. Why would that happen?

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    $\begingroup$ You sure your asking about fuel pressure and not manifold pressure? Also, what makes you think this is specific to one type or manufacturer of engine? $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    May 22, 2015 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ Yes the fuel pressure decreases...we flew sf260fh and that is we encounters $\endgroup$
    – James
    May 22, 2015 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ Does that aircraft it have a fuel pump? If so, what drives it and was it on or off? $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    May 22, 2015 at 16:49
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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking a general question of drop of fuel pressure or a particular event that occurred? Generally speaking it is normal that the pressure of fuel decreases with altitude, at one side fuel tanks are at atmospheric pressure, and at the other end of the fuel lines the engine has an internal pressure (suction). So the tank side pressure varies with ambient pressure. $\endgroup$ May 23, 2015 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


The most obvious answer is "Gravity".

To some extent this is "normal" in a low-wing aircraft with a nose-mounted engine and a fuel pump drawing fuel from the wing tanks into the engine: As the nose pitches up the fuel needs to run "uphill" to get to the engine - that's more work for the fuel pump, which might not maintain full "straight-and-level" fuel pressure.

You can see something similar in a Piper Cherokee in an aggressive climb, particularly if you are only using the engine-driven (mechanical) fuel pump: The fuel pressure typically drops when you pitch past ~15-20 degrees nose-up. The drop isn't much, but it's noticeable if you're looking for it.

If the pressure drop makes you uncomfortable turning on the electric boost pump(s) may reduce or eliminate it, but as long as the fuel pressure remains in the aircraft's normal operating range it's probably not a cause for concern. You should however become familiar with how much the pressure tends to drop in a climb: A larger drop than "normal" may indicate a problem with the (mechanical) fuel pump which you would want to have your mechanic investigate.


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