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Whenever flying with drop tanks, it is advisable to operate both engines from the LEFT drop tank until empty and then operate both engines from the RIGHT droppable tank. This procedure empties the left tank in the minimum time and, if necessary it can be released sooner by operating each engine from its own individual tank.



On early airplanes the left and right fuel systems are connected by an electrically operated "cross-feed" valve which makes it possible to operate either engine from any tank, except the outer wing tank'. Late airplanes have a cross-feed position on the tank selector valves. When prolonged single engine flight makes it necessary to use fuel from the dead engine side, or when operating both engines from one droppable tank, operate the fuel system as follows:

(a) Airplanes with four-way fuel tank selector valves.

I. Turn tank selector valve to the tank supply fuel.

2. Turn the cross-feed switch to CROSSFEED.

3. Turn other tank selector valve OFF.

(b) Airplanes with five-way tank selector valves.

I. Turn tank selector valve to the tank to supply fuel.

2. Turn other tank selector valve to CROSS-SECTI0N.

NOTE: It is not possible to cross-feed from the outer wing tanks.


Do not attempt to use the booster pumps on modified airplanes during cross-feed, operation if there is a leak in the fuel lines to the dead engine. The booster pumps will pressurize the fuel lines, forcing fuel out through the leak.


NOTE: Engine fire extinguishers are NOT installed in this airplane. Strict adherence to the following instructions as to the mixture control positions will reduce the possibility of fire. If fire does occur, move the mixture control to idle cut off, and shut off tank selector valve, electric fuel pump and ignition to the effected engine. See pilot's check list.

Check for normal fuel pressure 16 to 18 lb/sq. in. with electric fuel pumps OFF.

Check for idling pressure of 9 lb/sq. in.

Set prop selector switch to FIXED PITCH, with 2300 RPM, 35 in Hg.

(10) Check magnetos, max. normal drop, 100 RPM after shifting from both to either left or right magneto.

With RPM at 2300

1. Check propeller control levers DEC. RPM then INC RPM (full forward)

2. Check propeller selector switches DEC. RPM then INC RPM, then return to AUTOMATIC CONSTANT SPEED.

This material is courtesy of Stan Wood WW2 P-38 Pilot in the Pacific.

More about Stan Wood and his P-38 experiances: Click Here