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Preflight Checklist
 
Author: Bill Cousins

These items should be checked at the field on the flight table before you go flying:

1.Place your plane on the table and generally go over it.

2.Check landing gear; is it attached properly; check screws or bolts

3.Check front wheel, trike gear, and make sure it is aligned properly; this also goes for a tail dragger.

4.Check all wheel collars. You don't want to have a wheel come off after takeoff. { Confucious say one less wheel on landing make pilot wet pants }.

5. Tail feathers. Make sure they are secure by pullling on them lightly. Also pull on the rudder and elevator to make sure the hinges are tight.

6. Check all control horns, clevises, etc and very important, make sure they are locked as some have locks. If not, make sure there is a small piece of fuel tubing slid up the clevis.

7. Make sure your aerial is secure, either up top or underneath. If underneath, make sure you have it in a tube. You don't want to break your aerial. If you break off a quarter of it or less, DO NOT FLY as your range will be limited.

8. Check all servos and also the screws inside yoiur fuselage making sure they are tight.

9. Shake your plane lightly making sure you can hear the CLUNK in your empty tank. It may be stuck up in the tank, especially if you turn your plane upside down to clean it.

10. Visually check your fuel lines for cracks and that they are attached to the motor and muffler correctly.

11. Grab your engine or prop and plane to make sure it is not loose on the motor mounts. That's the best you can do as some are cowled in. Also visually check the prop for nicks or cracks. NEVER fly with a broken or chipped prop. Always make sure your prop is properly BALANCED.

12. Have a look inside your fuselage to ensure your battery and receiver are secure and will not be sliding around causing problems during flight. Ensure receiver battery and transmitter are enclosed in a good foam product. And if your float flying make sure that your reciever and your battery pack are enclosed in a plastic bag and sealed properly.

13. Look at your wing and check your servo, dual servo or multiple servos and make sure everything is secure, tight and locked. If you have multiple servo leads coming out of your wing, for example flaps and flapersons, paint the connectors different colors to correspond to each other for ease in connection.

14. Secure your wing and remember to tighten your bolts. Do not get distracted until those bolts are tight. If using rubber bands, make sure they are not soaked with oil or cracked. Keep your rubber bands in talcum powder in order to keep them from drying out. It also helps soak up any oil present on the bands. It is a real good idea to replace them on a regular basis, they don't cost that much.

15. VERY IMPORTANT. This is the time to check your receiver battery. You might have charged it the night before but who says you don't have a bad cell when you get to the field. Your first flight might be your last. Always get in the habit of checking the battery every second flight with your meter and if you don't have one go buy one. Your tramsmitter battery pack level always shows on the screen.

16. VERY IMPORTANT. Before you turn your transmitter and receiver on in the pit area, check to see if there is anybody on your frequency on the frequency board. For double insurance, communicate with fellow modelers and ask what frequency they re on. Then place your frequency pin on the frequency board and check twice to make sure you are indeed on the right frequency. PLEASE REMEMBER, I know of instances where a frequency pin has been placed on the frequency board and it's the wrong frequency number for that particular plane. Having two or three radios is not uncommon so errors are just a matter of how many planes you have.

17. Before you start your plane, turn everything on and always do a range check. Get help if needed. Remember the 100 feet minimum as a rule. This is with youir aerial collapsed. If your plane is not responding correctly or has jitters at that distance of under, DO NOT FLY.

18. VERY IMPORTANT. Never start your plane without checking your throttle. Always make sure your throttle is on the low setting but you can have your trim up. Make sure all of your control throws are in the right direction according to your transmitter.

19. Now you can start your plane and get it warmed up. Now get help and hold your plane vertical and at full throttle, making sure mixture is set right. A dying engine means it is too lean. If set right there should be no difference in the rpm at any angle. { Glow fuel two stroke or four stroke}. On a gas engine, always make sure your kill switch is working properly.

20. Now you should be ready to tear up the skies but before you do, please remember to extend your antenna. You will takeoff but that will be as far as you get before you loose control and crash.

21. Alwyas check your high, low rate on your transmitter before you takeoff and make sure they are set to what you are accustomed to.

22.VERY IMPORTANT. With a computer radio, always make sure you are on the right plane corresponding with your model number on your computer radio before you fly. I do know of some bad experiences and I won't comment any further on this.

23. On some computer radios, you will need to check your fail safe.

24. Never fly alone. A bad cut could cost you and remember a COMPLETE first aid kit is MANATORY at the flying field. Make sure EVERYBODY knows where it is. A good idea is to have a 5 lb CO2 fire extinguisher handy in the pit area, hung up somewhere. You just never know.

25. Buy yourself a cheap timer and use it to keep track of your time in the air. These timers can be picked up at almost any dollar store. Some even attach to your aerial. Most computer radios have built in timers. USE THEM.

Most of these items in the checklist are for your safety as well as the safety of your fellow modelers at the field with you.

This checklist is of my own opinion and there are probably better ones out there. At least this provides you with a starting point. Parts of this outline may have some applications useful to you. You can add or subtract from this checkllist as you wish. This looks like a lot of time, but all it really takes is about 15 minutes. This is 15 minutes out of a very safe day { you do the math }.

Remember. Never wear loose clothing and keep your fingers, hands and arms away from that prop. Don't reach around. Get help if need be.

When starting your plane it is a good idea to get help so that someone can hold the back of the fuselage or tail feathers while you start it. It is never a good idea to fly alone for safety sake.



 


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