If you travel frequently or simply have an affinity for aircraft, you might have noticed the routines flight crews and ground personnel perform before takeoff. Flying remains one of the safest modes of travel, due in no small part to the comprehensive inspections pilots and air crews must complete before taking to the sky.
The casual observer might miss the preflight routines of ground personnel on the tarmac. Additionally, most people aren’t aware of — or privy to — preflight activity inside the cockpit. Whether you’re nervous about flying or just curious about the process, knowing about preflight safety procedures can lead to more peace of mind.
Vital areas of the aircraft’s exterior are checked prior to takeoff, including the landing gear, engines and fuselage. In most cases, ground personnel walk around the plane and perform a visual inspection. Possible warning signs include missing bolts, dents, exposed cables or worn tire treads. The wings and tail section also are closely monitored. Indications that any of these elements are out of sorts means immediate repairs.
Inside the cabin, the pilot and co-pilot have a checklist to complete before given clearance to taxi to the runway. This includes ensuring all lights are functional, checking the fuel level and seeing that the cabin door opens and closes properly. In addition, all switches and controls must be properly positioned.
No matter how often you fly, you want to be able to sit back and enjoy the flight. Knowing everything that is done beforehand to keep you safe can help your trip be more enjoyable and stress-free. The accompanying checklist details many key elements of a thorough preflight inspection performed by pilots and air crews.
Author: Allen Jones is Chief Operating Officer of National Aero Stands, a world leader in engine stand leasing — founded with the purpose of providing aircraft engine transportation stand support. Jones, who has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, currently oversees daily business and leasing operations.