Preflight routine inspection checklist. Use aircraft POH for specific aircraft.
Cockpit and Controls
- Ignition switch off
- seats adjustment
- seat belt security and placement
- instruments intact and usable
- Flight controls -Hand controls smooth movement fore/aft, right/left, plus all 4 corners travel. Verify flight controls move all three control surfaces in correct direction
- Engine controls operate and lock properly (throttle and mixture starting controls)
- Brakes have proper throw and pressures (right and left if both)
- Steering wheel smooth operation. Verify direction.
- Eye protection clean with clear view (canopy for closed cockpit or face shield/glasses in open cockpit fit good and secured)
- Suspension general function and operation
- Brake fluid for hydraulics or mechanical actuation control general condition and functional
- Tires have proper air pressure (main and nose/tail wheels)
- Nose or tail wheel operates smoothly and in correct direction
- All structural wing attachment points general condition and fastener security
- Leading edge and forward air foil shape good (PPC fabric and baffles in good condition)
- Wing material or surface condition good, upper and lower.
- AIR – Aileron travel is smooth, full travel, skin is in good condition and secured. Flap operation is smooth, full travel, skin is in good condition and secured. Flaps lock in proper positions.
- Airspeed indicator and static port (if equipped) cover removed and free of debris
Powerplant (Propulsion System)
- Engine mounts from the engine to the main frame, general condition & fastener security
- Propeller and reduction system security and general condition, should be secure from propeller to aircraft frame.
- Propeller blade general condition good. Rotate propeller in same direction as it turns (make sure both ignition systems are off) to inspect all blades
- Exhaust System – Springs with safety wire, vibration mount condition, free of cracks, general condition good
- Ignition system – Spark plug caps secured, general condition of wires
- Fuel System – Fuel tank security, fuel pickup, low point water check, condition of lines, fuel filter, security of all lines to fittings, verify fuel vent open, verify fuel quantity for flight
- Induction system – air inlet filter condition good and secured with safety, carburetor secure and in good condition, air/fuel mixture inlets and lines secure and operational.
- Fluid Levels – Oil & coolant levels are checked. Make sure all caps are secured after checking fluids.
Control cables and control rods
- Turn buckles safetied with wire, routing and all attachments general condition
- Cables and rods general condition, attachments, and tautness good over complete routing
- General condition of fabric or covering top, bottom and sides
- Elevator and rudder full travel smooth operation
- Structural wires or struts general condition, fasteners, and operation
- Trim tab operation/condition (if applicable). Ground tabs secure
OVERALL – Verify the aircraft is in a safe condition to fly
Ready aircraft to enter cockpit
- Untie aircraft, secure tie down ropes in aircraft or coil neatly if they stay at airport
- Remove ground chalks and secure in aircraft
- Locate a suitable area free of dirt that can be picked up, minimum dust, preferably a paved clear area away from people and objects
- Position aircraft so prop blast is clear, verify brakes on, throttle is closed and propeller area is cleared
- Position into wind if possible for best warm up and cooling
- Seats adjusted for full operation of all controls
- Seats locked into position
- Put on seat belts (lap first than shoulder) and adjust so all controls and systems can be fully operated
- Check all controls systems for proper operation
- Check all systems operations
- Brief passenger on all necessary items of flight and emergency procedures
- Brief passenger on what they can hold onto, and what not to touch
- Remove safety pin for ballistic chute operation
- Install helmet and headphones, check intercom and radio communications systems
- Install eye protection for open cockpits (safety glasses, helmet shields)
- Key in, Ignition on, master power on
- Check gages for operation and fuel level
- Fuel pump on
- System switches on
- Ignition systems switches left and right on
- Choke/enricher on (or pump primer as appropriate)
- Throttle down/closed with brakes on
- Look at propeller area and make sure area is cleared, Yell out window “Clear Prop”
- Start engine
- Make sure the airplane does not move, hands on ignition switches for quick shutdown if necessary.
- Adjust choke or enricher to keep engine running smoothly
- Continue to monitor area and shut down engine if any person or animal approaches
- Check gages for proper ranges (oil pressure, RPM, charging voltage, engine temperatures within ranges)
- Plan taxi path to runway to avoid paths that would not put your light sport aircraft in back of any prop wash or jet blast. Observe other aircraft closely which could start up when you are taxiing in back of them, and taxi in front if practical.
- Turn on strobe light (if applicable)
- Release brake – parking brake (if applicable) or toe brakes
- When first rolling, immediately check brakes, steering, and shut down if either is not functioning properly
- Observe proper right of way while taxiing
- Landing aircraft has right away to taxiing aircraft
- Two aircraft approaching head on will turn right (similar to what you would do in a car)
- Two aircraft traveling in same direction, the forward aircraft has right of way because it can not normally see the aircraft in back
- With two airplanes converging, the pilot who sees the aircraft on the right must avoid that aircraft. The aircraft on the right has the right of way.
- Maintain appropriate speed for taxi. A GPS provides this speed since the airspeed indicator is not effective at these slower speeds. A rule of thumb is five MPH or brisk walking speed normally or 10 MPH for long unobstructed areas.
- Position controls properly for wind conditions
- strong tailwind – pitch control pushed forward to keep the wind from lifting the tail, ailerons neutral
- strong headwind – pitch control neutral or back to hold tail down, ailerons neutral
- strong quartering tail wind – elevator neutral or down (control column forward/nose down), aileron down on the side from which the wind is blowing (stick or wheel turned away from wind) so the air flowing over it will force the wing down.
- strong quartering head wind – the elevator in neutral position (tail dragger elevator up/stick back), and the upwind aileron should be up (stick or wheel turned into wind) to keep wing from lifting.
- Runway incursions -observe all taxi way and run way markings
- RUNWAY INCURSIONS taxi special safety note– runway incursions are most important and must be adhered to for your and the general public safety. This is a most important concept. You must simply taxi slowly and observe the basic airport markings/signs. Taxiing across any runway or entering a runway to takeoff, you must get clearance to proceed. There could be large aircraft which may not be able to respond to LSA quick movements. A most important runway marker is the “Hold Short Line”. You always stop before this line and get clearance before you cross this line.
- At a towered airport this is clearance from the tower. Always read back clearance when received from tower before proceeding.
- At a non towered airport the procedure checklist is:
- Listen and monitor all air traffic on the UNICOM radio frequency taxiing and in the pattern
- Observe all air traffic taxiing and in the pattern. A 360 degree turn is typically done to see in all directions.
- When all air traffic is clear from observations and radio communications, and you are holding short before the line, announce you are entering the runway. This is your clearance at a self announce UNICOM airport.