Features

July 2011 Issue

Preflight Lessons

Kick the tires, light the fires." So goes a popular, flippant saying about preflight inspections. Most of the time, thatís what we and various accident reports would label an "inadequate preflight inspection." Sometimesóimmediately after stopping long enough to drop off or load a passenger, for exampleóit might be adequate. After all, we just flew it in hereóitís a perfectly good airplane; why bother risking burnt fingers to check the engine oil or soiling our clothes to check tire pressure? Indeed, we donít go to such trouble when getting in a car; why are we conducting an inspection at all? Thatís easy: Because despite the overall safety of general aviation, regardless of our comfort with flying and/or with the specific airplane, the hard truth is that airplanes are terribly unforgiving of mechanical imperfection.

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