The First Things To Be Done With An Airplane (I)

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Pablo Edronkin

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When I receive a plane to be flown, these are the two things that I do before anything else.

First of all I deal with the unpleasant part of flight preparation, which is bureaucracy. You have to check that all papers, permits and licenses are in order - both of the airplane itself, the mission in mind and the crew -; if it is applicable, you have to check the papers of the passengers and cargo as well.

You will also have to prepare the flight plan at this stage and check your fuel, weight and balance and other calculations. The full list of requisites may vary depending on applicable regulations and the characteristics of each plane and flight, but generally these are the things that you will have to check each time.

Tidtness is fundamental in aviation.
Tidtness is fundamental in aviation.

Needless to say, the paperwork is decisive, because you cannot fly with papers that are not in order. Even if you are alone in the middle of nowhere and you don't plan on landing at a regular airport on arrival you should look at these things because you may be forced to land at a real airstrip where the guys are the ARO-AIS might want to see your papers. Besides, if the papers are not in order and you find yourself at a controlled airfield you will not be authorised to fly, so even loading fuel and performing the walk around (visual inspection) would become pointless.

Once you have gone thorough all this hateful business of aircraft paperwork there is something else to do: clean the plane. I do that every time for various reasons, before anything else not to confuse the cleaning process with - say - the visual inspection. In fact, going twice over the whole structure will help you become even a safer aviator.

If it is clean and well cared for, a 1947 plane like this looks like and it is like new.
If it is clean and well cared for, a 1947 plane like this looks like and it is like new.

Cleaning the airplane is not only important due to aesthetic and hygienic considerations; if you are going to take a couple of passengers who are just a little bit concerned about flying, having a tidy plane will help them feel safer and they will enjoy the ride a little bit more. Moreover: A clean airplane is a plane cared for that will last longer, your costs will be lower and your investment will be safer. Plus, A clean airplane flies better, because it will suffer less aerodynamic resistance.

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