Pre-flight Inspection and Checklists
Before commencing any flight trials, it is important to ensure that the airfield and aircraft are
all as they should be. It is now standard practice in the aviation industry to do this by way of
a series of well-established and routine checklists. These should cover the following:
- 1. Departure. Checks at base carried out before even leaving for the airfield.
- 2. Post-assembly. Carried out on the airframe once it has been put together having been removed from its transport cases or hangar.
- 3. Pre-flight. The standard checks on the aircraft before each flight; see, for example, Figure 20.2.
- 4. Flight procedures. An overall list of checks that pertain to the type of test flight to be carried out; see, for example, Figure 20.3.
- 5. Site. To ensure that the airfield in use is fully understood and meets all the requirements for safe operation.
Atmospheric conditions play an important role in all flight operations. Therefore, before flying, suitable measurements of prevailing conditions for the flight test should be made and recorded. At the most basic level, this will be the wind speed and direction: at the very least a small hand-held anemometer should be available to the team. Pressure and humidity can also be useful in understanding engine behavior and limits on glide angle (lift and drag are of course affected by air density). The team should also have defined the worst case weather under which the test may go ahead. This should be done before reaching the flying field so that nobody is tempted to test-fly in marginal conditions.