What does your Preflight Checklist include? - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:32 PM   #1
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What does your Preflight Checklist include?

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So I'm curious, what does everyone's preflight checklist include? How thoroughly do you check your model before you decide it's safe to take off?
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:46 PM   #2
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Re: What does your Preflight Checklist include?

2 hours of begging with the wife to let me out
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:00 PM   #3
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Re: What does your Preflight Checklist include?

well you should check everything on a new plane and then double check,but if you go that far it leaves you nothing to blame but yourself if it goes in after that LOL .Roger
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:04 PM   #4
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Re: What does your Preflight Checklist include?

No one checklist applies to all airplanes. I have a specific checklist for each individual aircraft.

Other than the normal things like making sure you have your radio, flight box, tools, etc my checklists include such things and wingbolts, elastics, canopy screws, batteries charged, check all linkages, check all leads are secure with no cracks, frays or bare wires, check antenna extended and secure, check control movements for right direction of travel and are moving freely, check wheels and collars, check prop condition - no cracks nicks or deep scratches, spinner secure, no servo jitters or sloppy connections, servo arm screws are there and tight etc etc etc.

It may sound like a lot to check but you get use to it and can do it fairly quickly after doing it a few times. And you'd be surprised how many times you catch something that you may have otherwise overlooked. No matter how experienced full sized pilots are, they use and depend on checklists. And as said earlier, every airplane has subtle differences and therefore require a specific checklist for that craft.

I saw a fellow a few years ago assembling his 1/4 Extra 300 and got distracted by others chatting with him and forgot one of his wing bolts. Pretty hard to control a large plane when one of the wings come off while pulling a high G manouver! A checklist may have prevented that. Also to help prevent such things, I also use a seperate small plastic box to hold all the parts like nuts, screws, bolts etc for that specific plane. Get distracted and forget something, the missing bolt nut or screw is in the little box to remind you.

I know everyone says it all the time but you really cannot be too safe! Give it a try. Make up a checklist and use it. One day it could just save your prized aircraft or prevent others from getting injured!
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:09 PM   #5
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Re: What does your Preflight Checklist include?

Originally Posted by Rooky View Post
2 hours of begging with the wife to let me out
+1 on that!!!

First I make a quick check of the model for loose bolts, wires, wheels, no unknown damage etc. Then I check the battery charges, engine lean out, idle, vertical full throttle, 30 pace radio test, reconfirm control surface directions and trim settings. I also have to make sure I have the right model selected on my radio! Finally check the wind direction and go!

I've done a couple stupid things - once I flew my Cub with the glow ignitor still attached...amazing it didn't fall off! I landed and taxied back and it was still there. I flew my trainer with the ailerons plugged in opposite - didn't take long to figure that one out. And I'll never forget the left wheel on my Pitts falling off on the landing approach...
Dean Myers
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CMPRA Calgary (www.cmpra.com)
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:28 PM   #6
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Re: What does your Preflight Checklist include?

if the wings are on and the engine is running you are good to go.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:41 PM   #7
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Re: What does your Preflight Checklist include?

dont forget your self on the check list ,SUNGLASSES. I am the worst for that, taking off with out them .all it takes is one time into the sun and you will know what I am talking about .Roger
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:09 PM   #8
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Re: What does your Preflight Checklist include?

1. The day before I go fly, I will charge all my batteries, while they are charging I take the time to go over my jet in case I missed anything after the last day's flying. This includes:

- check all radio components in the fuselage for secure mounting (batteries, receiver, ECU etc)
- Check all flight surfaces, checks include secured hinges (if not skin hinged), clevises, and servo slop
- Check air systems for leaks (generally I will pressurize the air system and leave it while the battery charges, if there is no loss of pressure during that time I am probably safe
- Check landing gear for free operation and up/down locks
- Check turbine mounting bolts
- visually inspect the airplane for any cracks or wear that looks abnormal

2. Before my day of flying begins:
- check my battery levels
- range test my airplane with and without engine running
- Cycle the gear again and check the brakes
- fuel the airplane and visually check as best I can for any leaks

3. Start up sequence
- Be sure of all equipment needed is within reach: Tx, Start Box, Propane (if needed) Fire extinguisher etc
- Be aware of where my jet blast will be directed and orient my jet so that it is not going to be blowing directly on anyone or anything
- Remove hatches on my jet and use the Start Box to monitor the engine start
- Run the engine to full throttle once start sequence is completed.
- Check to be sure all surfaces are moving in the correct direction (this is done at the start of the day and before every flight)

4. After each flight (assuming shut down happens at start up area and all the same equipment is there)
- Remove hatches and plug in start box to monitor engine shut down
- I do not walk away from my airplane during the cool down sequence, I might stand around and chat, but I stay with the airplane
- While cool down sequence is happening, I check all flight surfaces again to make sure nothing has loosened up, primarily servo's and if there is any slop

5. After the day's flying
- As I take the airplane apart, I check as much as I visually can, this includes listening for any rattles in the wings, fuse etc that aren't normally there and may indicate a missing bolt or broken part
- Check wing tubes to make sure they haven't loosened up
- Check landing gear to make sure there are no bends, or binding (my jets are typically stored gear up so I have to retract the gear at the end of the day anyway, gives me good reason to check for binds
- Unplug my batteries, this way there is no chance of leaving them on causing any electronic problems, fires etc.
- Check the turbine mounts, EGT probe, anything that is visible
- Check all linkages
- Check radio equipment install for secure mounting still (batteries receiver etc)
- Check whatever visible bolts and fasteners I can
- Inspect tail pipe (if equipped)
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:38 PM   #9
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Re: What does your Preflight Checklist include?

Immediately before takeoff:
Throttle up to clear it out and check transition.
Antenna extended (I run 72 Mhz)
Control surfaces all moving, and moving in the right direction
Trims set appropriately

I tell all my students they need to fly with TACT.
Dave Holmes

The older I get, the better I used to be!
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:48 PM   #10
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Re: What does your Preflight Checklist include?

A few hours before flight:
-check wind conditions outside
-do basic visual inspection of aircraft
-test components such as landing gear for strength
-repair any cracks on fuselage/dents

At flying location:
-check for people/animals that might make flying unsafe
-connect batteries, etc.
-range check
-another wind check
-final check for people/animals
-takeoff (hopefully)

-battery disconnected
-radio off
-go home!
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