81 votes
Accepted

How do seaplanes do run-up checks without brakes?

I'll limit my answer to single-engine seaplanes as I've never flown a multi-engine seaplane. Typically there is no need to stay stationary in the water when doing a run-up. Just do it while taxiing ...
  • 38.7k
51 votes
Accepted

What level of damage to an aircraft is acceptable to let it depart?

Aircraft Maintenance Engineer here. To evaluate if an aircraft is safe to fly we use three main reference documents: 1. MEL (minimum equipment list). This document contains the list of elements ...
  • 1,132
35 votes
Accepted

Do pilots of airliners and jumbos do a walk around preflight check for every flight?

NO, not all airline pilots do a walk-around for every flight. At my airline, maintenance personnel do a "Pre-Departure Check" (PDC) before each flight from all main bases on all wide body aircraft. (...
  • 34.3k
24 votes

How do seaplanes do run-up checks without brakes?

Aircraft on ski's have the same problem, and the answer is relatively simple... They do an abbreviated run-up on the go. Even if the aircraft has a constant speed propeller, many can't feather the ...
  • 35.2k
23 votes
Accepted

When taking passengers, what should I do to prepare them?

I go through the SAFETY checklist with all my passengers. The FAA recommends this as well. Seat Belts - This is where they are and how to use them. Air Vents - Here are the air vents and how to use ...
  • 11k
23 votes
Accepted

How does one test a stall warning during pre-flight?

Stall warning systems generally function on the principle of measuring pressure distribution or angle of attack. As each aircraft will have a different type of stall warning system, the necessary test ...
  • 16.3k
18 votes

Why don’t airports use jetways as an airlock to avoid having to repressurize the plane for every flight?

I believe there are quite a few misconceptions here: When an aircraft is "pressurised", it means that at higher altitudes, the pressure inside the aircraft is higher than the pressure outside. At ...
  • 1,661
17 votes

What scientific evidence is there about the effectiveness of pre-flight walk-arounds?

First off you are required by the FAR's to preform a preflight check, Sec. 91.7 Civil aircraft airworthiness. (a) No person may operate a civil aircraft unless it is in an airworthy ...
  • 96.4k
17 votes

How do seaplanes do run-up checks without brakes?

Float planes have variable pitch propellers, meaning that the propeller blade can be angled so that it does not provide any forward movement at all, or even turned backwards so it pushes the airplane ...
  • 28.5k
17 votes

Do pilots of airliners and jumbos do a walk around preflight check for every flight?

Yes, pilots of airliners do a walk around to visually check the aircraft before every flight, just like pilots of smaller planes do. A quick YouTube search brings up quite a few videos which explains ...
  • 39.3k
17 votes
Accepted

How do fighter jets pre-flight so quickly?

(Source - My many years on fighter jet flightlines. F-111E, F-106, F-15, F-16) Peacetime alert The designated jets are fully preflighted. Munitions fully loaded. INS aligned, IFF code laid in, most ...
  • 4,963
15 votes
Accepted

Why isn't testing fuel flow from both tanks a run-up checklist item?

There is a very good reason not to run this test: If it is not done perfectly your engine can become starved of fuel during takeoff. For simplicity let's assume your fuel selector only has two ...
  • 67.5k
13 votes
Accepted

How do pilots do a preflight inspection of tail-mounted engines?

In personal experience, I often look for a step ladder to inspect ground inaccessible engines and control surfaces and I have seen others look at their aircraft from a second story window. My ...
  • 17.5k
12 votes

What level of damage to an aircraft is acceptable to let it depart?

The other answer goes over the MEL/CDL/SRM, but I'll address your specific questions: Is it okay to fly with that? (I assume you are talking about the gear door, not the tire) That depends, ...
  • 35.2k
12 votes
Accepted

Why do pilots sample the fuel before a flight?

On the first flight of the day, after every refueling, and if you have flown through precipitation or the plane is left in the rain, you check the fuel for water and to make sure you have the right ...
  • 7,240
11 votes

How do seaplanes do run-up checks without brakes?

Answer 1: WATER RUDDERS As to your question about the "swimming circles" the answer is that the floats have deployable rudders that provide directional control of the aircraft when in the water. They ...
  • 8,140
11 votes
Accepted

Why might flight schools prohibit you from testing pitot heat during pre-flight?

I was taught to check it (on a C152/172) before every flight but I've also heard people say that you don't need to. Some reasons I've heard people give for not checking it are: Risk of draining the ...
  • 70.5k
10 votes
Accepted

In an aircraft with tab-flown control surfaces, how can a jammed surface be detected during preflight examinations or flight control checks?

The system you describe was used on large aircraft before hydraulic actuation became standard. The proper name is servo or Flettner tab. The preflight check would ideally have one mechanic move the ...
9 votes
Accepted

What happens if I don't remove the "remove before flight" pad before flight?

As Ratchet Freak says, it's going to blow away or cause the engine to fail. Latter might happen if it sits tight enough that it doesn't get blown away before overpressure develops in the engine. Not a ...
  • 15.1k
8 votes
Accepted

What should I expect to happen when I get on a skydiving flight

is there anything I as a passenger can do to improve the safety of the flight You should do exactly what your told, when your told and make sure you keep well clear of spinning propellers. You will ...
  • 26.4k
8 votes
Accepted

"The pilot must know the center of gravity and gross weight to fly" -- True or false?

True. It is the pilot-in-command's responsibility to determine if the aircraft is safe for flight. 14 CFR § 91.3(a) makes the PIC directly responsible for that. The 2016 FAA Weight and Balance ...
  • 11.9k
7 votes
Accepted

Where to do the Run-up and Safety on the Return Flight?

The simplest thing is to ask someone local where runups are usually done: the FBO, Ground Control or another pilot. If you can't find out then you can do them anywhere you like as long as it's safe. ...
  • 70.5k
6 votes

How does one test a stall warning during pre-flight?

You can use a stall horn tester for a small Cessna-type suction warning: As the product description points out, this keeps you from needing to put your lips on the potentially buggy leading edge and ...
  • 558
6 votes
Accepted

What are the best practices for gathering preflight weather and information?

At least in the US there are plenty of ways to get a flight briefing. My usual sources of pre-flight information are, roughly in order: The Weather Channel No kidding, if I'm planning a long/multi-...
  • 67.5k
6 votes

When taking passengers, what should I do to prepare them?

We were required to give what amounted to an "airline" briefing before each flight. We were also required to have those stupid little briefing cards for each passenger (of which at least one was ...
  • 5,968
6 votes

How do fighter jets pre-flight so quickly?

Typically you would do a preflight like this, but it's obviously different from place to place, depending on local requirements. Before placing the aircraft on quick response status, you would do the ...
  • 1,015
5 votes

What scientific evidence is there about the effectiveness of pre-flight walk-arounds?

This answer does not answer the question. Rather, I'll try to explain why I believe it is unanswerable (on this site at least). Let $A$ denote having an accident (of any cause), and $I$ denote having ...
  • 39.3k
5 votes

How would one perform a more thorough preflight of the engine on a single-engine airplane without easy access to engine compartment?

These issues don't pop up that often that you would need to include them on a preflight check. Those aircraft/engines are reliable enough that any issue can usually be determined by things like: ...
  • 35.2k
5 votes
Accepted

Does the DA-42 automatically lean to clean fouled spark plugs?

Depends on the variant. Most DA-42s are powered by turbocharged Diesel engines and do not have spark plugs. And yes the DA-42 uses an automatic run up cycle in order to test the Engine Control Units ...

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