Just started flying again after 14 years and I'm taking this to the finish line this time. All my time, up till 10 am today, is in a C172. I did fly a PA 28-151 today and liked it.

I do have some questions about Pipers (specifically PA 28-181 and 28-151):

  • Does the fuel pump has to be on the entire flight?
  • Is there a fuel pump for each tank?
  • If the pump doesn't have to be on the entire flight, how does the engine/carburetor get fuel considering the engine is higher than the wings?
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! Whatever answers you get here, do check out the POH for that specific aircraft to make sure you have the correct systems information and procedures for it. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 0:26

1 Answer 1


The PA-28 Family of aircraft have two fuel pumps, an engine driven mechanical pump that is always pumping (so long as the crank shaft is spinning) and is considered the "main pump". The airframe also has an electrical backup pump that can be actuated by the pilot. The tanks do not have their own pumps.

You should check the POH for your airframe but generally speaking in the Archer and Arrow I fly the electric fuel pump is turned on:

  • checking fuel pressure before start
  • during take off
  • climb out
  • when switching tanks (I also run it for 30 seconds after switching tanks incase I either need to switch back and to maintain fuel pressure at a critical time in the event of a failure of the mechanical pump)
  • on approach
  • landing/go-around
  • in the event of a mechanical pump failure
  • while practicing maneuvers (S-Turns, turns around a point ETC)
  • during a practice stall
  • Engine power loss in flight
  • Loss of fuel pressure

Most of the above items can be found in this POH.

Note: You should not be running the electric fuel pump for the entire flight, like anything this is a component that can burn out and it should be used when needed or dictated by the POH.

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    $\begingroup$ The EDFP in Lycomings is pretty much an automotive pump as you'd see on cars in olden tymes before in-tank electric pumps. It might get a couple of extra inspections as an aircraft part, but it's otherwise identical. I just installed a cooling shroud on my pump, since I run my O-290 on auto fuel. The pump is run by a little push rod that is driven by an eccentric cam in the accessory case, and the rod works the pump lever. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 1:51
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    $\begingroup$ I was also trained to turn on the electric fuel pump before starting any maneuvers.it should be part of your pre-maneuver checklist along side doing clearing turns. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 5:25
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, as a long-time PA-28 pilot, I would also say before manoeuvres (stall practice, steep turns etc) too. Otherwise great answer! $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 7:35
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    $\begingroup$ The electric pumps on Pipers and Cessna Cardinals are Facet solenoid-piston pumps (the dika-dika-dika sound is the magnetically driven piston sliding back and forth) that pretty much run forever and can't overheat, so while not advisable, it's not too big a deal to accidentally leave it on. Some homebuilts use two of them instead of an EDP and one of the electric pumps runs full time with the other as backup. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 12:14
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you Dave for giving me a fish (the answer to my question) AND showing me how to fish (POH). You're AWESOME 👍 $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 12:53

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