Pre-Flight Planning resources

Pre-Flight Planning

Safety precautions

Pre-flight

Removal of locking and safety devices CAO 20.2

Before take-off, the pilot in command of an aircraft shall ensure that all control surface locks, undercarriage pins and locks, and any other devices used for restricting movement or preventing operation of any part of an aircraft or its equipment when not in flight or taxiing are removed.

Compliance with this regulation is achievable by complying with the rules set out  in CAO 20.2 (see extracts of the order in the following paragraphs).

Where external control surface locks, undercarriage pins and locks, or other external locking or restricting devices have been fitted, they shall, except where otherwise approved by CASA, be removed before taxiing for the purpose of taking off. They shall be removed only by the pilot in command or the co-pilot, or by a person instructed in this function and authorised to perform it by the owner, hirer, operator or pilot in command.

Where external control surface locks, undercarriage pins and locks, or other external locking or restricting devices are removed by a person other than the pilot in command or co-pilot:

  • removal shall only be effected as directed by the pilot in command;
  • the locks, pins and other external devices shall be shown to the pilot in command from a position which will enable him to readily determine that all pins, locks and devices are being displayed
  • during the hours of darkness the owner, hirer, operator or pilot in command shall ensure that adequate lighting is provided to enable the pilot in command to see the articles displayed; and
  • when the pilot in command is satisfied that all locking devices have been removed and displayed they shall give an agreed form of acknowledgement to the person effecting removal.

When an aircraft has been parked, taxied or towed in winds exceeding 35 kt and the control systems and surfaces have not been effectively restrained either by a person in the cockpit or by approved control surface gust locks, the pilot in command or an appropriately licensed maintenance engineer shall, before flight, inspect the control systems and control surface attachments for damage.

Where external control surface locks or restricting devices have been removed, or where an aircraft is to be flown for the first time following maintenance work involving the aircraft’s control surfaces or control surface systems, the pilot in command shall, immediately before taxiing for the purpose of taking off, test the flight controls to the full limit of their travel and carry out any other tests as are necessary to ensure that those controls are functioning correctly (CAR 244(1)(a)).

Security of doors and hatches CAO 20.2

Immediately before taxiing for the purpose of taking off on any flight, the pilot in command shall ensure that all doors, escape hatches and loading hatches are properly secured.

Precautions before solo flight in aircraft fitted with dual controls CAO 20.2

The pilot in command of an aircraft fitted with dual controls, which is to be flown solo, shall ensure that the safety harness and any other articles or equipment which may foul the controls are safely secured. If the second control column is easily detachable, it must be removed.

Fuel system inspection CAO 20.2

The operator and pilot in command shall ensure that the following inspections and tests for the presence of water in the fuel system of the aircraft are made:

  • either:
    • if any of the following apply, an inspection and test in accordance with the approved data:
      • the aircraft manufacturer’s data specifies the manner in which inspections and tests for the presence of water in the aircraft’s fuel system are to be made, and
      • the data has been approved under regulation 42M as part of the aircraft’s system of maintenance or
    • in any other case, before the start of each day’s flying, and after each refuelling, with the aircraft standing on a reasonably level surface, drain a small quantity of fuel from each fuel tank into a clear transparent container and check by an approved method for the presence of water and
  • on such aircraft types which may be specified by CASA, extend the inspection to fuel system filters and collector boxes. It is recommended that all aircraft fuel system filters and collector boxes be checked for water contamination at frequent intervals.

The paragraph above does not apply to helicopters that are being hot refuelled in accordance with CAO 20.10.

If, at any time, a significant quantity of water is found to be present in an aircraft fuel system, the operator and pilot in command shall ensure that all traces of it are removed from the fuel system, including the fuel filters, before further flight.

The operator and pilot in command shall ensure that, before each day’s flying, they inspect all external fuel tank vents to be free from obstruction.

Daily inspections

An inspection (called a daily inspection) must be carried out on the aircraft before the aircraft’s first flight on each day on which it is flown (CAR Schedule 5).

A daily inspection must consist of the making of such checks set out in the aircraft flight manual (AFM), approved system of maintenance or the following list (as applicable to the aircraft):

Table of checks included in a daily inspection

Check that ignition switches are off, the mixture control is lean or cut off, the throttle is closed and the fuel selector is on.

Check that propeller blades are free from cracks, bends and detrimental nicks, that the propeller spinner is secure and free from cracks, that there is no evidence of oil or grease leakage from the propeller hub or actuating cylinder and that the propeller hub, where visible, has no evidence of any defect which would prevent safe operation.

Check that the induction system and all cooling air inlets are free from obstruction.

Check that the engine, where visible, has no fuel or oil leaks and that the exhaust system is secure and free from cracks.

Check that oil quantity is within the limits specified by the manufacturer for safe operation and that the oil filler cap, dipstick and inspection panels are secure.

Check that the engine cowlings and cowl flaps are secure.

Check that the landing gear tyres are free from cuts or other damage, have no plies exposed and, by visual inspection, are adequately inflated.

Check that the landing gear oleo extensions are within normal static limits and that the landing gear doors are secure.

Check that the wing and fuselage surfaces are free from damage and that the inspection panels, flight control surfaces and flight control devices are secure.

Check that the interplane and centre section struts are free from damage and that the bracing wires are of the correct tension.

Check that the pitot heads and static ports are free from obstruction and that the pitot cover is removed or is free to operate.

Check that fuel tank filler caps, chains, vents and associated access panels are secure and free from damage.

Check that empennage surfaces are free from damage and that the control surfaces, control cables and control rods, where visible, are secure.

Check that canard surfaces are free from damage and that the control surfaces, control cables and control rods, where visible, are secure.

Check that flight controls, the trim systems and the high-lift devices operable from the ground have full and free movement in the correct sense.

Check that radios and antennae are secure and that where visible, radio units and interwiring are secure.

Check that drain holes are free from obstruction.

Check that there is no snow, frost or ice on the wings, tail surfaces, canards, propeller or windscreen.

Check that each tank sump and fuel filter is free from water and foreign matter by draining a suitable quantity of fuel into a clean transparent container.

Check that the windscreen is clean and free from damage.

Check that the instruments are free from damage, legible and secure.

Check that the seat belts, buckles and inertia reels are free from damage, secure and functioning correctly.

Additional items for agricultural aeroplanes

Check that the agricultural equipment is secure.

Check that the dump and fan brake mechanisms are free from obstructions and operate correctly.

Additional items for seaplanes

Check that the hull and floats are free from damage, corrosion and water accumulation.

Check that the float attachment struts, bracing wires and attachment fittings are secure and free from damage and corrosion.

Check that the water rudder and its attachments are secure and free from damage and corrosion and that the water rudder has full, free and correct travel.

Back to top