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View Poll Results: Have you ever caught a problem during pre-flight?
Nope, never found any issues. 20 6.21%
Yes, only minor issues 134 41.61%
Yes, and once was an issue that could have cause major problems. 89 27.64%
Yes, and more than once I have caught major issues. 79 24.53%
Voters: 322. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-24-2011, 04:28 PM
Jim F Jim F is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Canby OR
Posts: 119
Red face Checklist, checklist, checklist!

I thought I was religious about preflight until one day I offered to give a policeman friend a quick ride before putting the plane away... We jsut jumped in and I was more concerned about getting him set up with a head-set and seat etc. that I forgot to do even a walk arround.
When I fired up a friend came running over waving his arms, signaling to me to shut down.... I had left the tow bar on the nose-wheel!
You got to value friends like that!
Now even if I have just made a fuel stop I still do a quick walk around before getting in. And I always, always, always do a thorough pre-flight!
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:53 PM
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Mark12A Mark12A is offline
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 90
Default Problems...

Sort of off the subject, but I ran an aircraft battle damage repair team for the Air Force a thousand years ago (or so). When we weren't fixing battle damage we were working on F-4s and later, F-16s. On more than one occasion we'd do a toolbox inventory and discover a screwdriver or a wrench missing. Sure enough, we'd find it inside an access panel or, even more dramatically, once about three feet inside the left intake of an F-4. A FOD'ed out engine just waiting to happen. With RVer's doing the work on our own aircraft, just something to think about. In practice, we'd shadow the toolboxes so a visual inspection was really pretty straightforward.
Jay Staub
Lt. Col., USAF, Ret.
N6565S Reserved
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:12 PM
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Dennis_I Dennis_I is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sweden, 67" North
Posts: 66

Working as a licensed Engineer on the SAAB 2000 Airliner, common things during walk around: Missing static dischargers, flat spots on wheels, leaking oleos, dents from bird strikes, fuel leaks from bad seals in drain ports, etc, most of them not serious enough to by itself cause a crash, but they might contribute to one of the holes in the Swiss cheese they always are talking about on human factor courses

Dennis Isaksson
Gällivare, Sweden
Grew up with an RV-4
Now: RV-8, Showplanes Fastback. #83218 Under construction,
Tail, Done
Wings, Done
Fuse, Done
Engine and avionic installation in progress

EASA B1 and B2
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:02 PM
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sbal0906 sbal0906 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Posts: 205

On two separate occasions:

1. I found a metal strap had come loose in the engine compartment of the rental Cherokee I was about to take up. No big deal. I showed it to the mechanic and he took care of it.

2. Mag check was showing a larger drop in RPMs than I expected at run-up so I taxiied back and shut down. The school's owner came out to check it out. It was fine. I felt a little silly but I'm still glad I came back to be sure.

On a different occasion, it was more a preflight of my own person at my PPL flight test. I had just sat down and buckled in and the examiner got in and buckled in and then I realized that in my nervousness, I left my sunglasses on the counter in the flight school. This was a Cherokee so you know that I'd have to make him get out but it was also late afternoon/early evening and the sun was getting lower and making a landing or finding key points on the horizon with the sun in your face is a pain. I thought for a moment - do I risk pissing off the examiner or do what I can to have the best flight possible? I apologized and asked him if I could run in and get my sunglasses. .... I got my sunglasses and aced my flight test.

Shamit Bal
Working on empennage but the wing kit has been received.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:09 PM
rcarsey rcarsey is offline
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: North Brunswick, NJ
Posts: 63

I thought for a moment - do I risk pissing off the examiner or do what I can to have the best flight possible? I apologized and asked him if I could run in and get my sunglasses. .... I got my sunglasses and aced my flight test.
Thats ok. On my private pilot exam, during the pre-flight, the audio from the DPE's headset was low. We could have managed to get through the exam, but I decided I didn't want the extra stress on top of the usual private pilot exam.. I decided to shut down and get a different C150. The FBO happily charged me the 0.1 hours of rental time .. but it meant less chance of needing another $300 exam with the DPE.

I found a leaking wing tank in my old RV-6A.. very slow leak, but enough to cause blue streaks. It was just the inspection panel's cork gasket..
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:45 PM
David Paule David Paule is online now
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,692

Once I was visiting friends, a flying couple, and the guy followed me around while I was preflighting for our departure, talking. Annoying but I didn't say anything. Then after I'd closed a large cowl access door, he opened it to talk about something.

I lit into him about opening panels after I've closed them on preflight. The amazing thing was he was an instructor pilot at a major airline.

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Old 07-12-2018, 02:59 PM
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walter walter is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Mansfield TX
Posts: 320
Default New Plane Stored Outside

In the 90's I got a lead on a Cessna Hawk XP II up in Michigan that was for sale; low hours and in great condition. It would be my first airplane purchase so I was pretty excited. I coordinated with a reputable on-field A&P shop to do a pre-purchase which went fine; several squawks were noted and fixed. I received a report that the airplane flew very well! I flew up commercially, hot check in hand. The airplane had been stored outside during the Michigan winter but was now inside a nice warm executive hangar for my inspection. Prior to moving it outside for my inaugural flight I did my newly-minted-pilot walk-around with Cessna checklist in hand. Eventually I sumped the tanks but the liquid was clear and did not smell much like fuel. That's strange I thought. The mechanic had a look and we both agreed, that is strange. Sumped again, and again, and again, and again. Nothing but clear water. The quick drains were removed and over a gallon of water was removed from each tank. That's what we caught in the bucket, the rest on the floor. The wing tank bladders were both replaced at some cost to the owner and I purchased it and flew it home. During the VFR flight home the AI and VSI went TU.

1st note to self: Remember, ice has a hard time getting through a quick drain.
2nd note to self: Reputable A&P shops are not always.
Walter Tondu
Current RV-8A Build Log - Fastback, XP-400, G3X Touch
Prior RV-7A Build Log
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:15 PM
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sglynn sglynn is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Anacortes, WA
Posts: 691
Default pre flight

Pre-Flight is not merely an exercise. In the past I have found:

Baby birds chirping on top of the oil cooler.

Brake fluid leak on the floor.

Fuel leak on floor from wing port.

Unlatched cowl fastener.
Steve Lynn
100% Complete
Airworthiness Certification Complete
First Flight in March 2019
Anacortes, WA
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:26 PM
control control is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Posts: 606

The scariest find... after the preflight:

Wintertime and the clubs PA28 would not start even after getting 5 primer pushes and then an additional 3... Was smart enough to go out and take another look under the cowling, a clear smell of 100LL and some moisture on different cables, could not find anything loose. I had only about 50 hours total time and no knowledge about what to look for other that what had been taught to me during the PPL course.

A friend got close and I got a hunch out of nowhere, asked my friend to get in and use the primer.., I stood at the engine and saw 100LL spraying from a cracked primer line. Someone had used a tie wrap directly onto the soft primer copper line!

Could have gone really bad as I know just about all students gave the Piper 5 pushes off primer no matter how hot the engine was.
RV-14 kit #140138
I have entered the 90% done, 90% left to do zone
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:19 PM
jpowell13 jpowell13 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 591
Default Tie downs and wasps

I told a pax to wait in the FBO once so I could preflight without distractions. Left the wing tiedowns connected while I went to fetch my friend because a jet was warming up in front of me. I looked pretty silly when the slack in those chains ran out and we came to a sudden stop. Flailing linemen were coming at me from several directions, but I noticed too late.

Recently completed the annual on my 6a and found a pretty good sized wasp nest under the stabilizer/fuse fairing. Told a ramp mate about it and he said he had recently found one in the air vent inlet of his 152. Don't think my wasps would have gotten into the cabin, but he might have had a real problem on takeoff had he not discovered the nest. So, I've started checking the cabin air vents on preflight during those hot spring and summer months. John
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