Pilot's tip of the week

Preflight Inspection


Subscriber question:

"I know some pilots who spend 30 minutes or more preflighting their airplane, while others do it very quickly checking only the major items. How long should a preflight inspection take?"
- Brian C.


I think the key to any preflight should be quality rather than quantity.

I once flew with a very wise Flight Engineer in the Air Force who would immediately slow down his preflight if he felt he was being rushed. Rushing is a distraction and we need to conduct our preflight distraction-free.

Use of a checklist is mandatory. No, it doesn’t have to be in our hand as we conduct our preflight, but it must be reviewed to ensure that everything was accomplished.

I used to run a preflight safety seminar where we listed all the important items to be covered on the preflight. Predictably, it was a long list. I’d then ask which items could be eliminated. None were ever removed. Yes, there is much to inspect on our aircraft and in our cockpit before we fly. And it’s all important.

Give it the time it takes to do it right!

Remember my wise Flight Engineer friend whenever anyone, including yourself, tries to make you do your preflight in a hurry. It just doesn’t work!”

Next week's tip
VFR checkpoints

(NEW) VFR Mastery scenario #62 “Sightless in Seattle” is now available. It’s another installment of “You are the controller.” In today’s episode, you’re the lifeline for a VFR pilot who is stuck in IMC. Do you provide guidance the pilot requested—direct to the nearest airport—when you’re certain that’s not the best solution? And if not, what will you offer to a pilot who’s barely holding it together? Watch the Intro video.

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