The Brief and Only Small Airplane Preflight Checklist You’ll Ever Need

Ready for takeoff?

Small, unpressurized planes typically cruise at an altitude of about 10,000 feet, while a business jet may fly at around 41,000. At these altitudes, much can go wrong if you do not prepare yourself and your passengers for a safe flight.

Even the most seasoned pilots can get sidetracked and forget something important prior to flying. Read on to learn what you need on your preflight checklist so you can take to the skies without any worries!

Legal Docmentation

You must be able to prove that your plane is legal for flight. You will need your:

  • Airworthiness certificate
  • Registration Certificate
  • Applicable operating limitations
  • Weight and balance

User the acronym AROW to remember each item.

Aircraft Integrity

Small defects can create large issues when it comes to aircraft design. Your walkaround should cover every single part and piece of equipment on the air craft.

Look over the wings, carriage, powerplant, and everything else important for flight. Thoroughly check for any defects, deterioration, missing components, and debris.

Flight Radio Control

Before taking off, test the radio on your aircraft works properly. You must keep communication open between you and air traffic control for clearance to take off and land to prevent crossing runways, aviation accidents, and entering the airspace or airport illegally.

Mid-flight communications help in avoiding storms and keeping both ends updated on any emergencies. A broken radio can quickly lead to a crisis situation.

Prior to moving the plane, brush up on contact procedures, radio lingo, and ettiquite on the airwaves. Also, familiarize yourself with the International Air Distress (IAD) channel in case of emergency.

Fuel Gauges

Your aircraft needs fuel to fly. Pay attention to your fuel gauges to ensure that you can get to your destination with plenty of wiggle room.

Many pilots question whether or not to pay attention to them because of misleading information about their accuracy. To clear that up, they are required for a reason, so use them!

Fire Extingishers

Safe flying requires you to pay attention to all types of hazards that can occur. You must make at least one hand extinguisher accessible to passengers. In the cockpit, keep a Halon fire extinguisher.

Passenger Safety

The safety of your passengers comes before everything else. You must keep specific equipment on flight and accessible to each passenger. Make it easy for your aviation accident lawyer to represent you if anything was to ever happen.

Every seat must contain seatbelts. Turbulance and other mishaps can cause serious injuries if passengers are not buckled properly.

In case of a sudden change in cabin pressure, each passenger needs a working oxygen mask available to them. Beneath every seat, also keep life vests in case of an emergency evacuation into water.

Emergency floor lighting serves to send people towards the emergency exits. Also make sure the emergency exits open properly and then get sealed tight. Prior to take off, demonstrate use of all the safety equipment to your passengers.

Never Skip Your Preflight Checklist

No matter how many times you fly, treat your preflight inspection as your first. Always look over your preflight checklist carefully. Failure to do so can result in a lawsuit for property damage, injury, or even death.

While on the ground, learn about new destinations to take your jet! Find ideas on the travel section of our website!

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