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A good preflight


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Wanted to share an experience from today. My wife Was getting ready to fly a Cessna 182rg this morning and came to me after the preflight to look at an anomaly she found in the rudder. When pushing on the rudder each direction during the preflight, the rudder would re center after a push to the left, but not to the right. When pushed right it would stay in that position. There was not any binding in the rudder itself and the rudder deflected normally when pushing the rudder peddles so I started looking in the nose gear steering area. We found that one side of the nose gear steering yoke had lost it's bolt, this removed the spring centering tension from the system on one side. New bushings and bolts were installed and problem solved.


Bottom line, do a good through preflight every time, and if something doesn't seem normal, then check it out carefully and don't be afraid to ask for help. If it doesn't seem right, something must be wrong!

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Good catch on her part!


I've found all sorts of things on preflights over the years.


One suggestion I gleaned from the Cirrus Pilot's site:


ALWAYS leave time for one final 360º walk-around without distractions, right before you get in. That's when you'll find things like...


...an unsecured oil door...


...a camera or phone on the wing...


...an improperly latched passenger door...


...a seatbelt hanging out...


...a loose or missing gas cap...


...chocks still in place...


...tail or wings still tied down...


...pitot or other covers still in place*.


ANY and ALL of those items can be missed on the initial pre-flight - DAMHIK!!!


If you think you're too rushed to do that one final walk around, then you're just too rushed and need to take a breath.




*I once saw a Bonanza preparing to take off with an owl sitting on top - close inspection showed it was one of those plastic owls put in place to keep birds away. I think it was sitting on an antenna. I called the tower and they advised him of it. It could certainly have done some damage had it come loose in flight, and it almost certainly would have been caught on a "final 360".

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Two of my personal favorites that happened to me on my Bellanca:


  • Loose Exhaust Pipe - At an enroute stopover, we stopped for gas and lunch. Went out to do the pre-flight and exhaust pipe was very loose. Would've come off in flight. Great FBO -- called in an A&P on a Saturday and fixed us up. I think he charged $80.
  • Bird Nest in cowl - Had to tie down outside for awhile until a hangar freed up. Noticed a piece of straw hanging from the bottom of cowl. Sure enough, there was a full-size nest wedged near the cylinders. Had to pull the cylinders to ensure we got all the residue out. Obviously didn't fly that day :(

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