Extended preflight checklist

Here in Austria, we have a military draft for those people unfortunate enough to be born with the wrong 23rd chromosome pair. I kinda lucked out, because I came to a rather relaxed unit and was trained to be a truck driver. We learned on really, really old Steyr trucks where you had to double clutch etc. They were really fun to drive though! Because their parking brake was not operated by air, but via a cable, you could ease it in with a lever, just like with a normal (manual) car, and drift through rubble or on snow. Good times.

Anyway, what I really wanted to write about was that, during and after my time as a truck driver, I had a totally different attitude towards cars in general. I would check on the tires, equipment, engine etc. much more frequently than I do now. Nowadays, I’m basically like Chuck: Four tires? Steering wheel? Let’s go!

Tagged with: , , ,
6 comments on “Extended preflight checklist
  1. Bernd says:

    I’m still low-time (175 h) so I always do my preflights very thoroughly. I truly hope that I will stick to that through my entire “career”. There already has been an instance where I found a “no-go” snag by following the checklist. In this case, extending the flaps for the walkaround; when trying to retract them again I found that it would not work. And this particular model has a small engine and huge flaps so that it will barely climb with full flaps at MTOW. Now it can land perfectly fine without flaps in 1000 ft, but if worst came to worst, and I had lowered the flaps, and needed to go around, I would have been in a bad situation. Theoretically manageable, but quite precarious, and very high workload.

  2. mike says:

    Where I work, the use of the checklist is mandatory, especially in the cockpit. It’s probably a good habit to get into when you make flying a career. We don’t fly big airliners with thousands of systems and there are only a few critical buttons to get the aircraft off the ground but at a minimum you’ll look very silly having forgotten to turn on a few items or have switches in the wrong place – worst case scenario, people get hurt. When things go wrong in a helicopter, they go wrong quickly.
    What I have found in my own career and after teaching many many flight students is that often times pilots tend to inspect every little set screw and safety wire on a fuel control, for example, but then forget or overlook the very simple things like seatbelts hanging out of the door. The fuel control setting probably don’t change much in the 100 hours between inspections but passengers get in and out every day. Keeping it simple is the key!
    On the Skycrane, a lot of guys always look up at the helicopter. But it will tell you a lot about itself by looking on the ground. Fuel leaks, hydraulic leaks, forgotten tools …
    This probably applies to a lot of aircraft, even the not-so-tall ones. 😉

  3. Quill says:

    The solution to this problem: Julio should put in a series of switches that have to be set in the right order for the engine to start. The sequence is in the checklist. Every flight the sequence is changed, and the checklist updated. If some of Julio’s tools are missing, no code for Chuck until they are returned. I’ve sometimes pondered if something like this should be in those instructions that actually are quite important but nobody reads – if you don’t read the instructions, it won’t work. Likewise, I once saw some people unsuccessfully trying to hand prop a Cessna 172 – I’d just read the POH of a 182 (which I assume is similar) the night before and knew that for hand-propping to work the key must be in the start position to run the trembler coil – don’t think they were doing that, I thought about telling them but didn’t in the end. (I was just getting my high-performance endorsement, I can’t claim to read stuff like that as often as I should.)

  4. Fbs says:

    The big difference is that if something goes wrong in the car, you park on the sideway and call a cab to go back home. In a plane….well, that’s the end of your problems because you’re dead. I’m still surprised many don’t understand that and that many pilots I check as a FI don’t know what are the important items to look to in a C172 preflight…(like aileron hinges or control cables for the elevator..)

  5. Manuel says:

    Woohoo, Steyr Diesel 680! And someone really internalised the WOLKE AMA (for a time) 😉
    I think it’s normal though to stop fully checking your vehicle every time, if you’re the only one who uses it, got to know its internal workings and know where to park it. Periodic checks will suffice.
    Except, when they have been in service for 40 years like some army vehicles 🙂

  6. Franz says:

    It’s “kick the tires, light the fires, first in the air is lead, brief on guard”, right?

    After, thankfully during the pre-flight check, I found a bottle of water peacefully lying in the fuselage next to the control cables and had my harness pop open during a winch launch, I became even more diligent about my checks.

    And if you try to drive a car with a couple of kinda-fixed mechanical issues for a longer distance, then opportunities for checks will not be wasted. Ask me how i know . . .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *