FAR 91.103 refers to weather, airport data and POH information
on aircraft performance. FAR 91.7(b) refers to inspection of aircraft
condition for safe flight. If a situation exceeds your knowledge
or experience, get expert advice.
We are now ready to go through the preflight. Every effort is
made to minimize the wasted time and movement about the aircraft
while maximizing a through inspection. As though walking up to
the C-150 for the first time we unchain the left wing. Note right
main tire for yellow chalk mark showing that refueling has taken
place since last flight. (This is so that we don't have to walk
over to it again when we roll the aircraft tires for inspection.)
We use a single key to open the door and place it on the floor
below the trim wheel. (A single key is not as likely to result
in an accidental turning off of the magnetos as is a key ring
full of keys.) (Placing the key on the interior cowling has caused
many a key to disappear down the defroster hole.)
Fuel may be ordered by radio using 122.95. This is the universal
frequency used at airports with towers for Unicom services such
as ordering a taxi or fuel. At CCR we normally use Chevron and
call the truck as "Chevron one". If the truck fails
to answer contact "Chevron Base". Give your location
as "East Ramp Golf two Cessna 6185K". With the new aircraft
cover you should check the logbook to ascertain if any remark
is there that would make the aircraft unairworthy.
Preset radios and transponder. Remove the control lock, turn on
the master, check the fuel gauges, and say, "Clear flaps"
before lowering the flaps. (Get fuel as necessary.) The "regulations"
requires that a fuel gauge be accurate ONLY when reading full
and empty. Open right door and get fuel sump cup. Drain and check
fuel in left tank. Place sump cup in right seat. (You don't need
to carry it) Check wheel faring (brake lines if visible), front
and back side of left flap and antennas. Check empennage, horizontal
and vertical stabilizer, elevator hinges and movement on left
side. Remove tail chain. Check rudder hinges and movement. Check
elevator (under side, too) and trim hinges and movement on right
side. Check empennage. Check back side of right flap, front and
back of right flap hinges, counterweight and movement. Wing tip
and right leading edge. Unchain right wing, check underside of
right flap and drain right wing sump. Return sump cup. Check right
fuel tank and cap.
Check nose wheel faring, strut, and damper, inside engine compartment,
loosen oil stick with left hand, remove with right hand, clean
with left hand, re-insert and check for 4 quarts minimum. Pull
fuel strainer with right hand and clean left hand with gasoline.
Oil stick can be hung on prop blade while adding oil. (Be sure
not to lose seal off lid of bottle into engine.) Don't make oil
cap too tight. Check leading edge of propeller, spinner mounting
plate for cracking, and cowling inlets. Make sure air filter is
secure and intact. Watch for 'working rivets, those that have
gray powder around them. Roll aircraft at least 40 inches to check
tires. If diagonal cord shows in a smooth area the tire is unsafe
for flight. Check static air hole, overflow, pitot tube, and stall
warner. Don't blow into any aircraft instrument intake hole. Check
left fuel tank and cap. Check left leading edge and tip. Check
left aileron front back, movement and counterweight. Rocking the
wings and gently moving horizontal stabilizers is a good way to
pick up internal damage via sound. Do the 'squat test' to make
sure everything is clear of the aircraft. The only difference
in preflighting a C-172 is the luggage door and alternator belt.
The preflight requires the student to be aware of the possible
causes of accidental propeller movement. That the key may possibly
be removed from other than the off position. That the magneto
can be otherwise grounded and allow a short movement of the propeller
to start the engine. That, while there is no absolute safe way
to turn the propeller, backwards is the safest. (Do not turn propeller
of C-150 backwards). The only time you can have too much fuel
is when you are on fire. From full tanks the maximum safe flight
time of a C-150 is three hours. The tanks are full and the caps
are tight only when checked by the pilot. No C-150 flight should
be undertaken with less than four quarts of oil. Failure to monitor
a radio frequency prior to transmitting as well as being poorly
prepared to talk impinge on the flight safety of everyone. Poor
use of the radio is the most common failing of the incompetent
Throughout the first preflight the instructor keeps up a running
commentary into the tape recorder as to the why's, wherefore's
and how to's for each check. On successive flights additional
operational checklists are added. The first student effort is
usually pages long. The second effort is more concise. For the
third effort the instructor provides a twice folded 4 x 6 card
cut half way through one fold. This card can be made into a compact
but complete checklist covering all operations from preflight
to shutdown. Arrows can be used below each list to indicate direction
to fold card. Emergency list is in outlined red. Finally the pilot
developed list is cross-checked with the manual approved one to
make sure that all items are covered.
Where the student has previous flight experience the same process
is used but the pilot is allowed to build on his experience. I
feel it is vital that a pilot have his own personally developed
checklist for every aircraft flown. Build on first learned skills
and habits. The published and universal lists omit or rearrange
the order of items so that mistakes often occur. The checklist
must contain all items from the aircraft manual BUT there are
many supplementary items of radio, transponder, leaning, taxiing,
braking, and clearing that are not mentioned. Time is never wasted
giving a careful preflight.
Confirm ability to get full use of rudder and brakes. Use cushions
as required. Adjust so you can see instruments, over the glare
shield, under the wing of Cessnas and below the aircraft. Don't
sit where head movements are required to see instruments related
to IFR control. Be aware that having to reach to rotate head can
induce vertigo. Always confirm locking of seat rails. Consistent
setting of the seat will make your flying more consistent.
The use of checklists prevents accidents. The most likely misuse
of a checklist is when an interruptions occurs in mid-use. With
two people the challenge-response process is best. Professionals
One checklist development process is devoted to the flow of the
list. The list starts at the top of the panel and works down,
or left to right or right to left. The flow can even be a series
of S-turns. Try to make your student checklist one that will flow
with later and higher-performance aircraft.
· Doing all that needs doing well and efficiently
means that every item is sequenced for a minimum of body, head,
hand movement and time. Try to develop a flow pattern checklist
for the procedures that remain constant for the aircraft. Arrange
and rearrange the items into sequences and groups that flow the
way you flow. Then give each item a finger in your sequence that
will be used to touch each item as it is checked.
Develop a Pattern
Consider getting the servicing of the aircraft completed the night
before or phone before leaving for the airport. Check the tires
while walking to the plane. Check the wind sock and traffic pattern
while driving into the airport.
Leave the baggage door unlocked since it makes an excellent emergency
· Place the keys in plane sight on the floor or hanging
off the compass. Check the aircraft to Arrange and rearrange the
items into sequences and groups that flow the way you flow. Then
give each item a finger in your sequence that will be used to
touch each item as it is checked.
me log book and aircraft papers.
Check antennas for corrosion, cracks and security. Knock on spinner
and propeller to confirm that sound remains the same. Changes
in sound would indicate cracks.
For some aircraft this would begin with (1) prime since several
minutes may be required to allow fuel to spread through the intake
manifold. Do not make this list a how-to-do list. (2)Seats, belts,
doors , (3) Master, pump
pressure, gauges (4) Mixture, Prop, Throttle, C. H. (5) flaps
Check attitude indicator, turn coordinator and heading indicator.
Check VOR sensitivity (10 degrees to each side of center both
ADF selector switch to ADF.
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