What Are Preflight Checklists and Why Are They Useful?

It is imperative for all pilots to refer to a preflight checklist before takeoff. Commonly referred to as a before-flight checklist, every proficient pilot should understand and follow a written preflight checklist regulated by the FAA. While some pilots incorporate a mental checklist along with flow patterns when performing a preflight inspection, an appropriate checklist should also be used to solidify any actions performed on an aircraft. Though some pilots choose to disregard checklists and their practice, such decisions can result in a potentially preventable situation resulting in injury or a fatal accident. To gain a better perspective on why preflight checklists are to be used, we will go over how they have adapted to suit pilots and modern flight requirements.

First developed with the intention of inspecting an aircraft from beginning to end in a single setting, preflight checklists have a reputation for taking a lengthy, but necessary, amount of time to complete. Since the inclusion of segmented checklists, pilots have been able to dramatically reduce the time necessary to perform preflight inspections. Formulated for each inspection to be carried out at an appropriate time, segmented before-takeoff and before-landing checklists are paving the way for modernized versions capable of regulating varying aircraft. If permitted by an FAA regulated pilot’s operating handbook (POH) for noncommercial aircraft, one can also create their own checklist given that all elements in the used POH checklist are accounted for.

Within a standard FAA approved checklist, a before-takeoff checklist must include options for the following parts: auxiliary fuel pumps, flight controls, instruments and radios, landing gear position lights, altimeters, directional gyros, fuel gauges, trims, propellers, magnetos, engine idle components, flaps, seat belts/shoulder harnesses, and parking brakes. Final items to check during the end of this inspection also include the doors and windows, fuel mixtures, lights, transponders, and engine instruments. If all items are in order and accounted for, the vehicle is ready for flight. Once preparing to land, applying the same level of standards recommended for the before-takeoff checklist, a before-landing checklist must include the inspection of the fuel sector, directional gyro, seat belt/shoulder harnesses, fuel mixture, and cowl flaps. After the aforementioned items have been marked off, the pilot can continue on with inspecting the final items: landing gear, propellers, and flaps.

While the employment of segmented checklists are proven to reduce an individual's time spent on certain inspections, there are personal matters that can conflict with the fundamental use of a preflight checklist. Though checklists are used by most pilots to ensure the safety of one's aircraft and any prospective passengers onboard, many do it to avoid potential embarrassment if an accident were to occur that could have been prevented during a thorough inspection. By shortening the time needed to complete a preflight checklist with the modernization of its before-takeoff and after-takeoff segments, these procedures have grown to become more of a friendly experience, rather than a gruelling process.

While issues can always occur, they can be mitigated when faulty equipment is caught early upon inspection. If you are in need of a particular aircraft part, at NSN supplies, we have what you need when you need it. As your trusted aircraft parts supplier, we invite you to browse our inventory for items such as bonding straps, cotter pins, static wicks, hose clamps, safety wiring, brake pads, wings, and various other components. Due to our quality control and export compliance, we operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. If you would like to request a quote for your comparisons, you can submit an RFQ form as provided on our website. Upon receipt, a dedicated account manager will quickly review and respond with a personalized solution to your needs in just 15 minutes or less, 24/7x365.


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