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8 Easy-To-Miss Preflight Items

There's more to it than what your checklist says...

1) Maintenance Records

Flying an airplane over a required inspection isn't good, not to mention the headaches you'll have with the FAA. Make sure you check the maintenance records before you go flying. Whether it's your own airplane, a friend's plan, or an FBO rental, your certificates and safety are at risk.

Corey Komarec

2) Pitot Tube Drain Hole

A plugged drain hole could force water into your pitot system. If that happens, your airspeed indicator readouts could be all over the board.

Corey Komarec

3) Oil Breather

The oil breather is what vents the crankcase. Make sure to check that the oil breather is clear of obstructions, otherwise, the crankcase could become pressurized. If the crankcase over-pressurizes, it will put stress on the seals in the engine, and could even cause an engine failure.

Corey Komarec

4) Safety Wiring And Cotter Pins

Safety wiring and cotter pins prevent bolts loosening from engine vibrations and movement of control surfaces. Make sure they're intact before you fly.

Corey Komarec

5) Stall Warning Horn

Check that the stall warning horn hole is fully clear during preflight. With lots of summertime bugs, debris can collect in here, and prevent a stall indication.

Corey Komarec

6) Required Documentation

ARROW - Airworthiness, Registration, Radio Station License, Operating Limitations, and Weight and Balance. Make sure these are on-board the aircraft and up-to-date. Without them, your plane isn't airworthy.

Corey Komarec

7) Antennas

There aren't a lot of checklists that tell you to check the condition of antennas on your aircraft. Make sure they're not damaged or missing.

Corey Komarec

8) Landing Gear

It may seem hard to miss, but there are a lot of parts on the landing gear you can overlook. Landing gear take a beating (yes, even you bounce a landing every once in awhile!). Make sure they're ready for impact before you go. Check for tire inflation, tread wear, brake pads, and that there isn't any hydraulic fluid leaking.

Corey Komarec

Thinking about becoming a pilot? Get started with ATP Flight School, and find out how to start your aviation career here.


Corey Komarec

Corey is an Embraer 175 First Officer for a large regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota, and he's been flying since he was 16. You can reach him at corey@boldmethod.com.

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