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Pre landing brake check

Old 29th Aug 2020, 15:44
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Pre landing brake check

Okay, happily, it did not rise to the level of concern of a close call, but...

Yesterday, by prior arrangement I had to test fly a C210 following heavy maintenance. The shop pilot flew it before I did, and declared it ready to go. So I confirmed the walk around check with him, and hopped in for the flight I was required to do. I did all my pre flight checks, and everything was fine, so off I went. The plane flew like a dream! The runway I had to land back to is 2000 feet of grass, and there was no wind. So, not "short field", but I was paying attention not to use too much runway either. I touched down where I wanted to, with a comfortable amount of runway left for a rollout. I applied the brakes, and both pedals went all the way to the firewall, with no braking. (They'd worked fine when I'd taxiied out for takeoff!). No room to go around now, wires ahead! So full aerodynamic braking (which I was doing anyway), and pump the pedals. Both brakes came back, and I used a little braking to complete my stop comfortably before the end of the runway.

So, my only observation as I returned the plane was that the brakes didn't work! He replied, "Oh yeah, I meant to tell you...". He's a good guy, so I know that there was no ill intent, a simple oversight. But, I failed, as I should have checked the brakes on final. It's not a flight manual checklist item, though I know it is a good practice, and I have been casual, in that I've never before flown a plane where the brakes went bad during the flight! It's usually something you notice when you taxi out for takeoff. But, a first for me yesterday, both brakes went soft during a 35 minute flight. Pumping them got me the braking I needed, but was something I did with rapidly increasing urgency!
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Old 30th Aug 2020, 03:31
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A brake check on downwind was incorporated into the pre landing checks when I started flying in the early '60's, civil C150, 172,182. Your post made me pull my USN T-28 notes and the only mention is to do a brake check after the chocks had been removed following start up (no park brake), nothing on the pre landing. Not possible to do a brake check on some aircraft because of the means of operation.
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Old 30th Aug 2020, 04:20
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I always do a break check as part of the prelanding check. On 2 occasions I have found no brakes when they worked fine on the way out.. The first was in a Seneca. There was a pinhole leak in the brake fluid reservoir and all the fluid leaked out in the course of a 3 hr flight. The second was in a Nanchang (pneumatic brakes) and was the result of no air pressure due to a failed air line.
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Old 30th Aug 2020, 19:54
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The downwind brake check I was taught was: "Brakes off". Unless there was no fluid at all, I'm not sure applying brake on downwind would detect failure, and might increase the possibility of landing with the brake on.
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Old 2nd Sep 2020, 12:56
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Originally Posted by Maoraigh1 View Post
The downwind brake check I was taught was: "Brakes off".
Me too!
However, from now on I will pay more attention to how the pedals feel when I press them both gently downwind,
Nevertheless, probably more important in Kitfox to check on short final that you are not riding the brakes!

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Old 5th Sep 2020, 12:06
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If the brakes were OK when taxiing before takeoff, chances are they work for the landing. The problem with testing the brakes on the before landing check is if there is already a hydraulic line leaking. By testing the brakes then you run the risk of squirting the hydraulic oil overboard. If the manufacturer's POH checklist tells you to check the brakes before landing well that's fine.
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