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Quiz: Can You Pass This Preflight Walkaround?

Every flight should start with a good preflight. Do you know what to look for on this aircraft walkaround?

  1. 1) You're reviewing the maintenance logs of your plane, and you see that the last annual was done on July 1st, 2015. Today is July 1st, 2016. Can you go flying?
    Armando G Alonso

    According to FAR 91.409, an annual inspection needs to occur within the preceding 12 calendar months from the date it was last performed. This means that you can fly the plane all the way up to July 31st, 2016 before it needs an annual.

    According to FAR 91.409, an annual inspection needs to occur within the preceding 12 calendar months from the date it was last performed. This means that you can fly the plane all the way up to July 31st, 2016 before it needs an annual.

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  2. 2) During your walk-around, you notice the nose-tire looks slightly low on air. Do the FARs allow you to fill up the tire yourself, or do you need a mechanic to fill it up for you? (assuming you're a private pilot)
    JimNtexas

    According to FAR par 43, (c) Preventive maintenance (1) "removal, installation, and repair of landing gear tires" is allowed by licensed pilots. This includes filling them up if they're a little low. Of course, you should be on the lookout for leaks if your tire got low very quickly.

    According to FAR par 43, (c) Preventive maintenance (1) "removal, installation, and repair of landing gear tires" is allowed by licensed pilots. This includes filling them up if they're a little low. Of course, you should be on the lookout for leaks if your tire got low very quickly.

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  3. 3) Your oil is just under the low-level mark on the dipstick. Do the FARs allow you to top off the oil yourself, or do you need a mechanic to fill it up for you? (assuming you're a private pilot)
    revedavion.com

    According to FAR par 43, (c) Preventive maintenance (6) "Lubrication not requiring disassembly other than removal of nonstructural items such as cover plates, cowlings, and fairings." is allowed by licensed pilots. 

    According to FAR par 43, (c) Preventive maintenance (6) "Lubrication not requiring disassembly other than removal of nonstructural items such as cover plates, cowlings, and fairings." is allowed by licensed pilots. 

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  4. 4) You take a fuel sample from the wing. What color should it be? (your airplane burns 100LL)
    Aaron Landry

    100LL fuel is blue.

    100LL fuel is blue.

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  5. 5) If there was water in your fuel sample, would it float to the top, or sink to the bottom?

    If you have water contamination, it will sink to the bottom of your fuel strainer. That's because water is heavier than avgas.

    If you have water contamination, it will sink to the bottom of your fuel strainer. That's because water is heavier than avgas.

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  6. 6) You check the aircraft lights, and the right navigation light (green) is burned out. Can you fly during the day (VFR) with it inoperative?
    Gord McKenna

    Nav lights are only required for night VFR flights. So, if you render the nav light inoperative following FAR 91.213, you can go during the day.

    Nav lights are only required for night VFR flights. So, if you render the nav light inoperative following FAR 91.213, you can go during the day.

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Hey, not bad...just keep working on your preflights.

Your score: % Keep working at it, and you'll be a preflight expert in no time.

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Nicely done - you've got most of this preflight down.

Your score: % Looks like you're ready to go flying - get out there and have some fun!

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Looks like you're a preflight expert. Nice work.

Your score: % Looks like you're ready to go flying - get out there and have some fun.

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Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at colin@boldmethod.com.

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