Jump to content

Pre-or Post flight Inspections


Goldy

Recommended Posts

So I was pre-flighting the R44 the other day and I wondered what other pilots have found on a pre or post flight inspection. I know that with experience we all look for specific items depending on the aircraft we fly.

 

I found water in the fuel (only once), sand in one tank another time. Bad alternator belt, blown clutch fuse and a few other rather minor items. On a post flight inspection once in a B47 (after a night flight) I found one tail rotor blade bent back 20 degrees and the last section of driveshaft bent with a rather obvious wobble. (How it got that way is a whole different story!).

 

So on your type aircraft what have you found? What do you specifically look for?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are familiar with an MD500, up in the dog house, the mechanics will lay towels over the air filters to lube the rotor head. I had been doing Mx runs for tracking and balancing for a couple hours, and after one of the runs, the mechanics had to go have a meeting to discuss some inputs. About 30 minutes later they came back in and said they were ready for another run. I walked out and started climbing in. As I was getting in, I just popped my head up for a quick look at the rotor head since they had been adjusting things. I located 3 large white shop towels laying over the filter and wrapped around the base of the rotor mast to contain the mess from the Tri-Flow as well as a set of wire cutters. One of the mechanics decided to re-do some safety wire and squirt some juice in the head before the next run up. It was a hot august afternoon, everyone was tired and sunburned and dripping with sweat. We decided to call it a day and pick of early the next morning after everyone was fresh.

Edited by Flying Pig
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On one preflight, I went to untie the main rotor at the tail stinger. I noticed that I had to bend down a good bit lower to reach the tie down on the stinger. After a good look at the aft cross tube it was obvious the skids were spread from a hard landing. Upon further investigation a good bit more evidence of a hard landing was uncovered. The previous pilot was quite dishonest about notifying anyone, and when questioned exhibited further dishonesty.

In the interest of generating even more discussion, I would add this question, "When does your aircraft preflight start ?"

 

Edit description

Edited by aeroscout
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not my story, but sharing from a fixed wing friend. During a real cross country (east coast to west coast), after a short pit stop..and a preflight before taking off, he discovered that one of his props was damaged. It appeared to be hit from behind and was significant enough for him to decided to not fly any further. To this day, he is not sure how or when it happened other than he said he always preflights, post flights and checks between legs of his flights. The assumption is it may have happened during taxi after landing. He ended up having to leave the aircraft (jumped on a commercial flight to his destination) behind and it took a couple months to get it fixed. He flies an MU2.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not my story, but sharing from a fixed wing friend. During a real cross country (east coast to west coast), after a short pit stop..and a preflight before taking off, he discovered that one of his props was damaged. It appeared to be hit from behind and was significant enough for him to decided to not fly any further. To this day, he is not sure how or when it happened other than he said he always preflights, post flights and checks between legs of his flights. The assumption is it may have happened during taxi after landing. He ended up having to leave the aircraft (jumped on a commercial flight to his destination) behind and it took a couple months to get it fixed. He flies an MU2.

 

I am just taking a swag at the possible cause of the damage of the prop from behind. Similar damage has been caused by using beta, or prop reverse below the limited airspeed. I could be way off base though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the interest of generating even more discussion, I would add this question, "When does your aircraft preflight start ?"

 

 

You can never see or check it all, but try...

 

The preflight starts as soon as I lay eyes on it, which is ASAP. Spot something that will keep me from flying? Turn around, get technical help immediately, then and there.

If any maintenance has been done, ask the mech to show you the work. You're doing everybody a favor if something's found. Mechs make mistakes too.

Touch everything I look at (heat resistant gloves for recently flown aircraft), open every door and hatch, continue until I'm back at the start. After 45 years and tens of thousands of preflights, I don't remember everything I've checked if it's unremarkable/nominal, but I do it the same way every time, when I'm done I know I've checked it.

If the aircraft has been out of my sight, 360 walk around and into the cabin.

Post-flight is touch any greased bearing I can reach, fluid levels, rotor tips, and general visual inspection.

 

I might be just a little OCD about swashplates, spiders, etc....

Edited by Wally
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the R22

 

-Piece of Vee-belt in tail cone.

-Pool of water in cooling fan base

-Oil rag behind oil cooler door

-Missing teeth on alternator belt

-No elastomeric bearing in tail rotor teeter hinge (turns out it was just an older design)

-Stuff floating in fuel (some type of shavings off the cap)

-Dent in horizontal stabilizer

-Gouges in main rotor blade (bird strike)

-Partially deflated pontoons (mariner)

-Position light out (no one around to change it so had to cancell night flight,...by the way, always check the lights BEFORE getting gas for a night flight,...the morning flight will thank you!)

-No gear oil showing in main rotor gear box sight

-Gap between tail cone and cooling fan wide enough to stick my whole hand through

-No start-up checklist

-Tail cone looked lower than normal (turned out that's how they build them (HP model))

-Inop guages, AI, TC, VOR

-Inop guage lights, VSI, compas, AI

 

What's next?

Edited by eagle5
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Contractors Leatherman lodged in the pitch change links... Quickly sent home and then jail, we think he was trying this intentionally.

Spit cups on the floor boards behind the pedals.

Checklists left by the aux hydraulic pump.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

R44-

  • Rotor tach Magnet on forward flexplate worked its way loose on shutdown, heard clicking and found it on post flight.
  • Someone had dropped fuel cap and found edge bent

  • Landing light out, replaced with LED and haven't had a problem since.
  • Wire broke on back of test light switches

 

R22-

  • Water in fuel
  • Fuse blown on clutch actuator
  • Heater blower not working, kept blowing fuse
  • Alternator belt loose
  • Bee stuck into pitot tube...(yes, I am that good of a shot!)

 

pre flight starts by looking at previous sqwaks and then as I am walking up to aircraft.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many great comments above.

 

I would add some things I bring when mentoring pilots & CFIs.

 

I ask what is the lowest time life component on the aircraft?

 

What is the next component due for removal/replacement or inspection?

 

Are there any recurring ADs or Service Bulletins. If so, is there a sign off sheet showing the last inspection/process and the next time due? 100 hour annual performed & next due?

 

I always address any item I have previously has an issue with, even if on a different airframe.

 

I want to know what was the last maintenance item addressed as a special emphasis/visual inspection area.

 

And one that I find at almost every flight school/aircraft is the fire extinguisher! Read the required maintenance inspection levels and procedures at each level printed on the unit. Many say inspect monthly. I have schools place a maintenance inspection tag on each one. First pilot to preflight in a new calendar month signs it off. Annual req. is usually more extensive, requiring weighing/servicing or such. When the tag is replaced it becomes part of the airframe equipment log. When was the last time you looked at your FE on the aircraft? Is there a record of inspection handy for preflight?

 

I aslo think about continued airworthiness items and tracking of such. Pitot static, x-ponder, encoder, LED lights, etc.

 

I realize many will rely on maintenance personnel for much of this but how do you respond on a ramp check to proving airworthiness after you did an extensive pre-flight? What kind of tracking paperwork flies with you? Food for thought.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My preflight starts as soon as I see the aircraft. Daily preflight is done with a rag and wipe down with RO water, no water spots. (Santa Paula tap water is too muddy).

 

R22

- skin crack extending out from under the reinforcement doubler on the horizontal fin

- inop clock

- compass held on by single screw

- pitot instruments disconnected (post annual)

 

R44

- an incredible ant invasion

 

FW aircraft

- post annual; output of fuel pump went to oil gauge, and oil line to gage went to upper fuel tank. Engine oil would slowly fill into fuel tank.

- bird nests; engine cowl, vertical fin, vents

- wrench in tailcone

- oil leaks, large and small, many times

- carb heat cable disconnected

- cylinder head cover dented from the inside out ( valve keeper)

- missing oil dipstick and cap

- found a handful of loose rib nails in a Super Decathalon

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think you can really call this a post flight "inspection", but once (back when it was still warm enough to have my door off) I landed my R22 after an hour flight. While cooling down I noticed a strange, yet familiar, looking object spinning on the ground not far away. Upon a closer look, turns out it was a mixture guard? Must be from the other 22 I thought? Then I felt down, and sure enough, my mixture guard was gone!

 

How the hell did it get out there?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the interest of generating even more discussion, I would add this question, "When does your aircraft preflight start ?"

 

Personally, my preflight starts when I am walking toward the aircraft. Does it sit properly? Does it look different or odd? Are there puddles under the aircraft? When I start doing the checklist preflight.

 

One thing I have found that many pilots do not do a post flight. That is most likely more import that the preflight. While I don't go by the preflight checklist, over the years I have found the items that one needs to check.

 

Oil, more of a turbine engine thing as they have to be check within a certain time period after shutdown.

 

Physical condition of airframe. Did I hit something?

 

Tires and landing gear. More of an airplane thing, but hey I swing both ways.

 

Any signs of leaks.

 

Fluid levels.

 

Those are the major items. If you are working the aircraft, you want it taken care of prior to your next flight. After all that aircraft is your paycheck. If it doesn't fly, You DON'T get paid.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing I have found that many pilots do not do a post flight. That is most likely more import that the preflight. While I don't go by the preflight checklist, over the years I have found the items that one needs to check.

 

I would guess that many pilots don't do a post flight inspection because they figure the next pilot is going to do a pre flight so why bother (especially at a school where the next guy is basically waiting in the office for you to land, so he can start)?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many great comments above.

 

I would add some things I bring when mentoring pilots & CFIs.

 

I ask what is the lowest time life component on the aircraft?

 

What is the next component due for removal/replacement or inspection?

 

Are there any recurring ADs or Service Bulletins. If so, is there a sign off sheet showing the last inspection/process and the next time due? 100 hour annual performed & next due?

 

I always address any item I have previously has an issue with, even if on a different airframe.

 

I want to know what was the last maintenance item addressed as a special emphasis/visual inspection area.

 

And one that I find at almost every flight school/aircraft is the fire extinguisher! Read the required maintenance inspection levels and procedures at each level printed on the unit. Many say inspect monthly. I have schools place a maintenance inspection tag on each one. First pilot to preflight in a new calendar month signs it off. Annual req. is usually more extensive, requiring weighing/servicing or such. When the tag is replaced it becomes part of the airframe equipment log. When was the last time you looked at your FE on the aircraft? Is there a record of inspection handy for preflight?

 

I aslo think about continued airworthiness items and tracking of such. Pitot static, x-ponder, encoder, LED lights, etc.

 

I realize many will rely on maintenance personnel for much of this but how do you respond on a ramp check to proving airworthiness after you did an extensive pre-flight? What kind of tracking paperwork flies with you? Food for thought.

 

All the above is missing from most flight training. Even though it is part of the PTS and FAR requirements. It should be an essential part of each preflight.

 

Your preflight with respect to the aircraft, in most every case, should begin in the office before you even see the aircraft. You need to have first-hand knowledge of the aircraft’s airworthiness directives compliance and maintenance/inspection status.

 

The pilot in command of a civil aircraft is responsible for determining its airworthiness. You may rely on maintenance personnel for much of this, but in the end it’s your responsibility. The owner or operator of an aircraft is primarily responsible for maintaining that aircraft in an airworthy condition. Therefore, it’s always on you to make that final determination of airworthiness.

 

FAR 91.7; FAR 91.403; FAR 91.407; FAR 91.409; FAR 135.65; FAR 135.71

 

PTS:

 

I. PREFLIGHT PREPARATION

A. CERTIFICATES AND DOCUMENTS

B. AIRWORTHINESS REQUIRMENTS

C. WEATHER INFORMATION

D. CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHT PLANNING

E. NATIONAL AIRSPACE SYSTEM

F. PERFORMANCE AND LIMITATIONS

G. OPERATION OF SYSTEMS

H. AEROMEDICAL FACTORS

 

II. PREFLIGHT PROCEDURES

A. PREFLIGHT INSPECTION

B. COCKPIT MANAGEMENT

C. ENGINE STARTING AND ROTOR ENGAGEMENT

D. BEFORE TAKEOFF CHECK

B. TASK: AIRWORTHINESS REQUIREMENTS

REFERENCES: 14 CFR part 91; FAA-H-8083-21.

 

Objective. To determine that the applicant exhibits knowledge of the

elements related to airworthiness requirements by:

 

1. Explaining—

a. required instruments and equipment for day/night VFR.

b. procedures and limitations for determining airworthiness of the

helicopter with inoperative instruments and equipment with and

without an MEL.

c. requirements and procedures for obtaining a special flight permit.

 

2. Locating and explaining—

a. airworthiness directives.

b. compliance records.

c. maintenance/inspection requirements.

d. appropriate record keeping.

Edited by iChris
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would guess that many pilots don't do a post flight inspection because they figure the next pilot is going to do a pre flight so why bother (especially at a school where the next guy is basically waiting in the office for you to land, so he can start)?

 

Eagle5,

 

Bad guess. If you would post flight and find something for maintenance to address immediately maybe the next guy could make his flight. If he would post flight and find something maybe you would not be delayed or you would be protected from missing something on your pre-flight.

 

I mentor all pilots and CFIs to post flight and know that the aircraft is airworthy.

 

Developing these habits in pilots will make operators happy that do not lose revenue and disappoint customers because we thought that the next guy would preflight. Imagine you return from a revenue flight and do not post flight. The day ends and the next morning you have a flight. You preflight and find something that could have been addressed but now it is a no-go! No revenue, no flight for you.

 

Develop the habit of post flighting your aircraft when possible.

Edited by Mikemv
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My prefight starts when I get up in the morning….

 

I once found a 10 inch drift in the dog-house of a 500. I also located a nut three treads from off on an AS350 non-rotating swash-plate scissor link. These two surly would have ended in disastrous results And, about a kazillion other things maybe not resulting is disasters…..

 

I know pilots who rarely do prefights and others who, like me, conduct prefights as mini-100 hour inspections. I’ve done some prefights right behind those I don’t trust. Pisses them off but I could care less. It’s my life….

Edited by Spike
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eagle5,

 

Bad guess. If you would post flight and find something for maintenance to address immediately maybe the next guy could make his flight. If he would post flight and find something maybe you would not be delayed or you would be protected from missing something on your pre-flight.

 

At a busy school my post flight could be delaying the next guys pre flight! I suppose he's more than welcome to come out and start pre flighting while I'm still post flighting? Anyway, it was just a guess.

 

What about tour operators who are so busy that they're hot loading/unloading passengers? Not much time for a post flight there! How do they handle it in the Grand Canyon?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At a busy school my post flight could be delaying the next guys pre flight! I suppose he's more than welcome to come out and start pre flighting while I'm still post flighting? Anyway, it was just a guess.

 

What about tour operators who are so busy that they're hot loading/unloading passengers? Not much time for a post flight there! How do they handle it in the Grand Canyon?

 

Eagle5,

 

Of course you do what works for you after a flight. Industry Standard Practices would suggest a post flight.

 

As far as the Canyon and hot loading, no one expects anyone to post flight a running aircraft after a landing. Post flight can only be possible when the aircraft is shut down.

 

Do what you feel safe doing and work towards Industry Best Practices when you can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At a busy school my post flight could be delaying the next guys pre flight! I suppose he's more than welcome to come out and start pre flighting while I'm still post flighting?

 

We all plan a half hour to an hour (or more) for preflight don't we? Plan your post flight time into the time you have scheduled for the aircraft. Voila, problem solved.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...no one expects anyone to post flight a running aircraft after a landing.

 

Obviously!

 

Its funny though that this thread seems to be stressing the importance of a post flight inspection, yet there are plenty of operations out there who don't feel its necessary to shut the aircraft down just to check it out before going up again!?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Obviously!

 

Its funny though that this thread seems to be stressing the importance of a post flight inspection, yet there are plenty of operations out there who don't feel its necessary to shut the aircraft down just to check it out before going up again!?

 

I have to be honest, while it is possible to do a partial walk around with the aircraft running, I have hot crewed aircraft many times without even a partial walk around, and I don't consider the practice to be any more risky than a shutdown, preflight, restart.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the real deal guys. Chances are pretty good that if you did a preflight, and everyhing looked primo, and you have a safe uneventful flight, nothing has changed. And maybe only a quick walk around, oil and fuel level verification is really required as a post flight. If you were doing confined or off field operations, autorotation training, or something unusual happened during the flight, a thorough post flight is probably in order. Personally, I would rather catch the fault that happened while I was flying, and report it, than have the next guy find it and report it. But that's just me. If you screwed up, and didn't even REALIZE it, that makes you look even worse than just having screwed up in the first place. In any case, in the very least you should check the oil level, verify the fuel gauge is reading correctly, and look over the aircraft to make sure nothing is leaking or about to fall off, don't just walk away into the sunset with the blades still turning behind you. That's just unprofessional. Hot swaps are ok as long as there is no reason to suspect the aircraft may have a fault. Technically, the flight hasn't ended until the blades stop turning.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

At a busy school my post flight could be delaying the next guys pre flight! I suppose he's more than welcome to come out and start pre flighting while I'm still post flighting? Anyway, it was just a guess.

 

What about tour operators who are so busy that they're hot loading/unloading passengers? Not much time for a post flight there! How do they handle it in the Grand Canyon?

 

Industry standard there (at least in the utility and offshore industies) is to shut down every 3-4 hours no matter what to strech out and check fluid levels etc. Several operators in the gulf have a 3 or 3.5 hour leak check shutdown policy. I'm not sure if they do that in the tour industries, but they should. At least shut it down so the pilot can take eat lunch and do a cursory check half way through his shift.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I fly tours and at most only top the main tank in the 44. That allows me to always be well under my W&B limits. We get passenger weights at time of reservation, so I can plan when I'm going to take on fuel. Either way, even with hot loads I have to re-fuel every 1.5 to 1.7 hours or so. At the very least I'm going to check the oil, do a walk around and open each compartment while the fuel truck does its thing. There's no way in some real world flying we can do a post flight on every flight, but we can take full advantage of the down time minutes that do occur.

 

Good thread....I found some blood the other day on the pass door and looked up and there was a very small ding in the MRB. I knew the ding wasn't there when I started because I inspect each blade before flight! It was obvious it was once a small bird, didn't even know I hit it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...