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Preflight Inspection Checklist

Flying usually requires a lot of preparations. Although it used to be possible to simply walk up to the ticket counter just before your plane left and hop onboard, those days are long gone. For safety and security purposes, every passenger must be screened, which means you must collect all proper documentation days in advance. Even after travel arrangements have been made, you still need to consider everything you’ll need for the trip and pack accordingly. Clearly, taking a flight isn’t something you can do on a whim.

But if you think there’s a lot of prep work involved in being a passenger, that’s nothing compared to the checklist of tasks your plane’s crew has to complete before taking to the skies. Just as every traveler is subjected to a comprehensive screening before boarding, the aircraft also must go through a rigorous preflight inspection process. This is to ensure that nothing is out of place and pilots can take wing with confidence that all systems will perform as expected. Whether you’re nervous about flying or just curious about the preparation that goes into every flight, you might be interested to know how much scrutiny planes are subjected to on the ground.

On the Outside

For example, there are multiple points of inspection on the exterior of the plane. These include the fuselage, engines and landing gear. Inspectors walk around the body of the aircraft and perform a visual check of each of these elements. They look for signs of trouble, such as missing bolts, dents, exposed wiring or worn tire treads. They also check the wings and tail section to make sure they appear to be in good condition. If anything suggests there could be a problem once the plane is airborne, the aircraft must be taken out of service and immediately fixed.

Inside the Cabin

Just as the outside of the aircraft undergoes a thorough check, items in the cockpit and cabin are subject to inspection by the pilot and copilot. This includes checking all internal doors to ensure they open and close properly as well as determining that all lights are functional. The pilots also are responsible for ensuring that all switches on the aircraft’s control panel are in the correct position to prevent problems during takeoff and flight. One of the most essential items on the preflight inspection is checking the fuel gauges to verify that there is enough fuel to complete the trip.

No matter how much travelers must do to prepare for a flight, the plane’s crew members and mechanics have an even bigger job. Even if you rack up the frequent flyer miles by the thousands, you may enjoy your time in the air a bit more if you’re aware of all the care and preparation that goes into ensuring the plane is safe to fly. The accompanying infographic includes a complete list of these routine inspections. Take a look at it and gain peace of mind for the next time you take to the skies.

Author bio: Allen Jones is Chief Operating Officer of National Aero Stands, a world leader in engine stand leasing — founded with the purpose of providing aircraft engine transportation stand support. Jones, who has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, currently oversees daily business and leasing operations.