The Importance of Pre-flight Checklists

Aircraft are advanced vehicles, capable of transporting individuals across the globe in times that were thought to be impossible before. Aircraft are also one of the safest ways to travel in general, this being due to the stringent regulations placed on their construction, operation, maintenance, and more. To ensure that an aircraft is safe and airworthy, they require regular inspections that are carried out at numerous intervals. The pre-flight inspection is the most commonly conducted type, carried out every operation prior to takeoff. As aircraft consist of numerous systems, apparatuses, and components that are spread across assemblies, it is crucial that pilots take advantage of pre-flight checklists for safety.

In general, a pre-flight checklist is a list of items or tasks that the pilot and crew must undertake before the aircraft can fly. Based on the specific aircraft in question, these lists enable pilots to ensure that all flight crucial parts are checked for their operability and condition, guaranteeing that there is nothing that warrants a major concern or hazard. As a missed item can put pilots, crew members, and passengers at risk in the case of an overlooked issue, pre-flight checklists should always be used instead of relying on memory.

Pre-flight checklists first came about after a fatal testing accident of a B-17 in 1935. As the elevator lock was left on, the pilot was unable to manage pitch control. After investigations were concluded, engineers came to the realization that aircraft in general had advanced to a point where systems were too complex for a pilot to remember by memory. As such, the practice of using a checklist quickly grew. As many accidents have come about due to disregarding the use of pre-flight checklists, one should never rely on their own memory, even if using the checklist ends up being a double-check.

To design an optimal pre-flight checklist, such lists should be simple to follow and efficient to carry out. Clarity is also paramount, ensuring that the right position for the right part is clearly stated every time. For a Cessna 172, for example, pre-flight inspections may require the pilot to check items such as wing flaps to ensure they are free and secure or inspect the fuel tank to see if the proper amount of fuel is available for a particular operation. Depending on the type of aircraft, there can be various sections that one will inspect. For the Cessna 172, these include the cabin, empennage, right wing, nose, and left wing. As one may notice, this order of operations makes it so that the inspector can check each section at a time while slowly circling around the aircraft, rather than having to walk back and forth. This increases the efficiency of such inspections to make sure that all flight critical areas are checked while saving time.

While conducting the pre-flight checklist is the standard that most pilots follow, some may elect to carry out what is known as a segmented checklist. With such methods of inspection, the pilot will conduct a before-takeoff and before-landing checklist for more convenience. Generally, the before-takeoff checklist will include all items up to the “final items”, finishing with steps such as ensuring that all doors and windows are locked, landing gear position lights are checked, and that all systems and engine instruments are ready to go. The before-landing checklist, meanwhile, consists of checking cowl flaps, the security of seat belts, the alignment of the directional gyro, and other steps. With either inspection type, it is paramount that the pilot follows tasks as intended in order to better guarantee their safety throughout flight operations.

Whenever an inspection is carried out and an issue is found, no flight should be undertaken until proper repairs or replacements are completed. Whether you require carburetor parts, throttle components, replacement materials for brakes, or other such aircraft products, there is no better alternative to RFQ Experts. RFQ Experts is an online distributor of aircraft parts, providing customers access to an unrivaled inventory of new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items that come from thousands of leading global manufacturers that we trust. Take the time to explore our offerings as you see fit, and our team is always on standby to provide personalized quotes for your comparisons. Initiate the purchasing process when you are ready to begin and see why customers steadily choose to rely on RFQ Experts for all their operational needs.


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