A Thorough Preflight

This should get a big sigh and a b-o-r-i-n-g from most folks but we should consider the implications of not doing a thorough preflight walk. Only you can answer the question: do you really look at pieces and parts or do you just skim over because someone flew just before you? One of the most difficult things is to maintain vigilance and discipline when doing routine tasks, and preflight becomes routine for all of us.

Just because we have one of the best A&P mechanics around does not mean that every moving part will be detected and replaced before failure. In addition to standard checklists get smart about the particular aircraft you are about to fly. Find out if there has been any kind of trend in terms of wear and aging you need to watch for. For example, the balance weight attach point on Cherokee ailerons was recommended to be added to checklists because they started to crack. Piano hinges on different model trim tabs also started to crack. Note the synthetic sleeves in the Warrior piano hinges. These combined with a dry type silicon lubricant at maintenance help to extend life. Do you know what a nose low strut looks like? Excessive nose pressure at higher speeds during take off and landing roll out can lead to very sensitive steering. The likely hood of over controlling is greatly increased. None of us want to discover the off road capabilities of our aircraft. In other words know your airplane and its problem areas. (For more information, see http://www.landings.com/.)

This is not meant to cause a deluge of listings in the squawk book but rather to provoke more reading, investigating and obtaining more knowledge. You must admit that knowledge of detail creates security, awareness and a certain level of confidence in dealing with the many nuances of aviation.

Question: It’s very unlikely, but do you know how to deal with control surface failure? Suggestions next week.

References: Plane & Pilot Sept. 2002

These safety tips are provided by the WCFC Safety Committee. They are intended to stimulate thought and discussion about flight safety and do not necessarily represent club policy nor are they intended to replace instruction from a qualified instructor.