How To Perform A Visual Pre-Flight Check On An Airplane (VII)

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Pablo Edronkin

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Grab the propeller from the root of the blades and shake it; nothing should be loose there either. Then, look carefully: No oil should be leaking from anywhere close to the propeller. Now move the propeller with your hands four times in the direction of normal engine use (normally counter clockwise, from your position, facing the cockpit).

Each time the prop completes a 360-degree turn one cycle will be completed on each cylinder. You will hear a squishing sound and feel some hydraulic resistance to the movement of the prop; it should feel the same each time, and if it doesn't your engine may be suffering from compression problems, losing power and causing collateral issues.


Carburettor air intake filter.
Carburettor air intake filter.

Having checked the prop, proceed to open the starboard engine hatch and take, again a look. No leakages, drops or anything loose, including - of course - the four cables attached to the four sparkplugs located on that side, and coming from both magnetos. Check the oil with the measuring device, which is located inside a lid, usually painted yellow. Once you see that the oil level is ok, close tightly that lid and then the hatch.


A classic carburettor for a PA-11, seen from starboard.
A classic carburettor for a PA-11, seen from starboard.

With this last step you will have completed your visual pre-flight check around the plane. Needless to say, if you have any sort of doubt about the plane's technical or mechanical aspects, call a competent mechanic and never take off wondering whether it was right or wrong to do so.


Oil quantity indicator; the back metal struts seen at the bottom are part of the engine mounting.
Oil quantity indicator; the back metal struts seen at the bottom are part of the engine mounting.

Now you can replenish your fuel tank with whatever additional combustible may be required or you can prepare to start the engine.


Closed lid of the oil intake.
Closed lid of the oil intake.



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