Pilot's tip of the week

Fuel, Fire, Flight Controls


Subscriber question:

"I've heard many variations on takeoff briefings and pre-takeoff checks. Is there something simple that hits the high points without sounding like a dissertation?" — Dick M.


“I fly a lot of different airplanes, oftentimes on the same day. That creates plenty of opportunity for distraction, or letting the nuances of a particular airplane get overlooked. For years, I’ve used a final, added safety check just prior to takeoff which helps confirm I’ve set the most critical items. It’s simply: ‘Fuel, fire, and flight controls.’

Fuel means the fuel selector is in a proper position, and the boost pumps and mixtures are set.

Fire means both magnetos and/or the electronic ignition is completely on.

Flight controls means a quick cycle around the horn confirms full freedom of movement, and the flaps and trim are set for takeoff.

I do this after normal checks are complete, just prior to taking the runway. It’s easy to remember and catches the major items that could really cause a problem if not set properly. Anything that’s not on this list is not likely to require an immediate reaction. There will be time to set it properly after takeoff.

So, safe flying.”

Do you have a pre-takeoff check or mnemonic you use just prior to taking the runway?

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