Pre Flight

flydrummer

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I'm gonna start training soon so I've been checking out a few schools and taking intro flights. I've been studying the Jeppesen Private Pilot Manual in the mean time so I do have some basic knowledge. I went on one the other day. As we were walking around the plane a dude in the fuel truck pulls up and says, "filled you guys up a lillte bit ago, you're good to go". The CFI says thanks. I was thinking to myself....that's nice but I'd still like to visually inspect the tanks anyways. We didn't. I said nothing cause I felt it wasn't my place, but to me that's one of those things you should do on every preflight regardless what the fuel truck guy says. Or is this like driving school...where they teach you to drive with your hands and 2 and 10 but in reality no one does that. Or is it just that as time passes you start to get lax in procedures and they become more of a ritual?
 

RichardRambone

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I ALWAYS visually inspect anything someone other than me touches. Fuel guages are notoriously inaccurate at times so if you've got any doubt tell your CFI that you'd like to verify it. I was flying a 310 once and the cap wasnt screwed back on correctly after the line guys fueled it and it was spitting fuel out as I flew. Luckily it was a short hop but I ALWAYS double check my fuel/oil filler caps before I takeoff. Good luck with your flying. Private pilot training was probably the most exciting time of my short career thus far.
 

mayday1

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Good observation on your part.. I echo everything the above poster mentioned. Fuel issues are nothing to take lightly or casually... always check the tanks, the caps, the gauges, etc. Nothing against line guys, but you are (will be) PIC and will be ultimately responsible should something go wrong. Don't take any chances with fuel.
 

flydrummer

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So if I decide to train at that school I'm gonna assume it would be good to ask for a different CFI? I mean, I can sit here and pat myself on the back for catching something like that but I want to make sure that whomever I learn from is gonna be teaching me the correct way.
 
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RichardRambone

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I dont know the whole situation with your CFI but if you reiterate to him that you'd feel more comfortable checking visually then I say you are acting like a PIC and showing your initiative in safety and taking command. He/she should praise this. Sometimes us CFI's can get lazy. Complacency kills as they say.
 

flydrummer

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RichardRambone said:
I dont know the whole situation with your CFI but if you reiterate to him that you'd feel more comfortable checking visually then I say you are acting like a PIC and showing your initiative in safety and taking command. He/she should praise this. Sometimes us CFI's can get lazy. Complacency kills as they say.
Well this was just a discovery flight so at this point it wouldn't be a problem to meet the other CFIs and decide from there. I guess what I was asking is IF I decide to train at this school shold I feel confident that I'll get the best intruction from this particular CFI? I know we all have bad days but those first impressions...:)
 

Avenger29

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You are paying for the airplane and the time of the CFI- you are the PIC...check everything- especially fuel (Which I believe to be one of the most important items of the overall preflight). Linemen are known for being rather bright in some cases and incredibly stupid in others. If you end up crashing- IT IS ALWAYS THE PILOT'S FAULT. Check everything humanly possible.
 

texanpilot1

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I would question the quality of the CFI if on my discovery flight I noticed something that he/she didn't do. The way you train is the way you are going to fly and you probably want to do everything right. I agree with everyone else and would suggest looking into a different CFI. There is story after story about this. But one is a Lear pilot out of Salt Lake that took off without checking his fuel cap. It was a sight to see them rotate with fuel spilling out of the wing. wish i had it on video!
 

dhc8fo

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Hold on guys....if this was a scheduled flight, who is to say that the CFI didn't do a walk around BEFORE the student got there where he did visually check the fuel? When I did discovery flights, I only had X amount of time to spend with the student it was a cheaper flight so I didn't want to overburden a potential new student who hadn't flown with all of the details that were to come (such as a thorough preflight). The goal was to rope them in with the actual flight and then let them discover later all of the other crap that goes with the fun stuff. :)

Have no idea if this is the case, but neither do you.
 

texanpilot1

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Good point! i have never done a discovery flight. so how about questioning your CFI is something that you are intitled to do and if you have a question go for it.
 

flydrummer

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I did take that into consideration. However I do remember after we met, he was handed the keys and said to the dispathcer something to the effect of not knowing we were taking the aircraft given to us.
 

Avenger29

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I don't know about that...I remember my discovery flight...

My instructor was relativly new at the school (the junior instructor, I guess) so I flew with her (and still do)...We went through a full preflight and checked everything, and she had me do everything. We then strapped in, and I logged a 1/2 hour that day- just what I paid for. I don't think this CFI did a preflight inspection before the student arrived, and may have been lax on the preflight b/c they had not had enough experience to know the troubles that can result. A lot of people get complacent in their jobs and don't check stuff. My advice: go do some 'hanger flying' and listen to the stories of those who did not preflight everything like they were supposed too. Adjust your preflight checklist accordingly. I know my father has experienced a couple of near death experiences and adjusted accordingly. For example, check the pitot tube to make sure the little flip up cover is not frozen and check the drain hole in the tail and make sure it is unclogged (do you know what 10 gallons of water in the tail does to the CG?). They don't teach you to do those two items in flight school.

I would definetly watch other CFI's do preflight, if not necessarily selecting them to teach you. You are the CFI's boss. You do not have to fly with them if you do not feel comfortable. It is as simple as that, although it is wierd for the person with minimum expertise to fire the teacher. That is a little wierd, I just can't get over that. It feels wrong as hell, but it is the truth.

Your jepps manual is correct. Don't trust the line guys with anything. Period. It is your a$$ on the line, not theirs.
 

User546

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Simply put: Never take anyones word, and always check them yourself before every flight.

1) You want to check the fuel, make sure its really been filled to the top.

2) You should always check and make sure the right color of fuel is in your fuel tanks.

3) Make sure the gas cap is secure. Lineman don't always get the fuel caps tightened down properly, and you don't ever want to look back and see fuel streaming out of your tanks. We had this happen on one of our CJ's awhile back. Luckily a passenger had come up to the cockpit to notify the pilots.

4) Two important things to always visually check, regardless of whether or not anyone has told you "they checked, and is okay": Gas and Oil. NEVER take anyones word. I always look at it like "if this engine ceases on me inflight, and I have to make a crash landing somewhere, when the Feds come to talk to me, am I going to be absolutely positive there was sufficient oil and fuel during the preflight?"

It's good that your already working on the proper "mindset" of a good, safe pilot. Don't be afraid to be more assertive in the future, the flight instructors will see this as a good trait.
 

TonyC

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flydrummer said:
Or is this like driving school...where they teach you to drive with your hands and 2 and 10 but in reality no one does that.
They're teaching 9 and 3 now, so your arms won't be broken by an airbag. :eek:

:)



President Ronald Reagan put it best:


Trust, but verify.




:)




.
 

Illini Pilot

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even though this is definately something the CFI should have done...you will be doing the preflights after the first lesson or two. be glad you are this aware of the dangers of taking the preflight lightly...i usually turn the preflight duties over to the student after the first couple times, but i will still watch them from the desk or wherever periodically to make sure they aren't just walking around it. its amazing to watch some of them eventually just walk around the plane and look at it, run their hand on the prop and stick the tanks. then i get the fun of busting them :)
 

flydrummer

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Thanks for the replies. I hope that I maintain a good level of awareness throughout my career! And I hope someone slaps me if they see that I'm not. :)
 

MFRskyknight

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Being assertive with your CFI, as awkward as it may feel with your inferior level of experience, may save your life. Especially with such critical items as fuel, oil, etc. For example, let's say you've been flying 10 minutes with the fuel needles buried in the red.

You're thinking, "Looks a little low--but those are inaccurate anyway, and he's a professional. I'm sure he's paying attention."

He's thinking anything from, "Only a few more months of this crap and I'm off to the regionals" to "Man, I'm starving; is it lunchtime yet?" to "Did I return those DVDs to Blockbuster?"

It's comforting to think of CFIs as machines who are at 110% of their game every day, but, you know, human beings and all that stuff. I don't think I can add anything more to the excellent advice given here by all so far, except that I've had one or two firsthand CFI-judgment-related experiences as a student that I would not care to repeat, so I feel I can't emphasize assertiveness enough.

MFR
 
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