The 10 most important pre-flight checks

Checklist are a staple feature in aviation and the most important and longest checklist of them all is the preflight checklists. Hence, a recent post by Vincent on his Plastic Pilot blog is well worth reading as he outlined the top 10 most important pre-flight checks that you want to be sure not to miss. These pre-flight checks are:

  • Ignition off – you don’t want the engine to start while you inspect the aircraft. This could cost you a hand, or more
  • Oil level – you don’t want to come back because of an high oil temperature or high oil pressure indication. Even if you do, you can’t add oil in a warm engine
  • Cowlings free of birds nests – you don’t want a nest on fire under your engine’s cowling
  • Prop free of cracks – you don’t want to loose a blade and have an unbalanced prop make your engine fly away
  • No droppings – you don’t want an aircraft that can’t break, looses oil or fuel
  • Tires – you don’t want a tire to explode on landing and loose control of your aircraft
  • Ailerons free and opposite – you don’t want an uncontrollable aircraft, and as you really don’t want it you’ll check that during the pre-take-off check as well
  • Fuel caps – you paid enough for your fuel, you don’t want it sucked out of the tanks
  • Pitot / Static free – you don’t want a blocked altimeter or an airspeed indicator acting as an altimeter
  • Baggage doors latched – you don’t want to have to land back because of an unlatched baggage door, nor do you want to loose it in flight

Vincent noted that no matter what type of aircraft you are flying, the above checks will always be key. He also pointed out that for almost all aircraft types, the checklist is organized as a gigantic flow pattern – another interesting aspect about checklists which he blogged about last year.


One Response to The 10 most important pre-flight checks

  1. Michael Mayes October 6, 2010 at 14:22 #

    Just ribbing you:

    I do want an airplane that can't break.

    I don't want an airplane that can't brake.

    Yep I try and pay special attention to these above during my preflight. The brakes comment is something that I have actually encountered during training as well. I noticed that the right brakes looked like they were leaking, and brought it up to the instructor before start up. He had me actually see if that brake had any back pressure when stepped on, it didn't and sunk right to the floor.

    Good thing we didn't start up heh.

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