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Do YOU always fully check your controls before flight?

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Do YOU always fully check your controls before flight?

Old 25th Apr 2015, 03:53
  #61 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Australia
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It really pays to do proper control checks preflight, full and free and in the correct sense, including trims,and this goes double after maintenance, especially after maintenance. And did I say after maintenance.

This applies to any aircraft.

My first real airborne serious emergency was losing aileron control during a C.of A flight test, in retrospect, if I had been more thorough in my pre-flight, I would have noticed that the aileron cables were not adequately tensioned (Auster Autocar).

Twice I have had restricted controls in a C-172, one was a riveting dolly left in the wing, the other a zinc chromate pressure pack left in the tail cone. I found a large torch built into the wing of an aircraft I had just purchased, amongst the aileron bellcrank, despite the engraved name of a LAME, he denied the torch was his. I have been on YSBK twice, when aircraft have got airborne with aileron sense reversed, one resulted in a badly crumpled aircraft, the other, due to a remarkable pilot using his controls reversed, got back on the ground without damage.

Air Pacific damned near lost a B747-438 on takeoff at Los Angeles, after maintenance on the controls, a full control check was not performed, they found the problem when the aircraft, at near max weight, got airborne with a with a number of spoiler panels up. It was only ground effect over the water that kept this aircraft in the air long enough to get the gear up and dump fuel. It was probably more critical than the QF A-380, QF32, out of Singapore.

The size of the aircraft and of the maintenance system system is not absolute protection, and it is your neck. Not to mention passengers, maybe three of four, or three or four hundred.

I have personally had a case of restricted trim range on a large aircraft, picked up on the post-maintenance control check, limit switches were miss-set ---- which is why Boeing have index markers on the stab, so you can physically see that the stab. is running through the correct range.

The message is real simple, folks, and never miss it.

Tootle pip!!
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Old 25th Apr 2015, 05:05
  #62 (permalink)  
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Before every departure. Check system on all my aircraft have it listed.

Correct sense is done pre flight.

Also always a good idea when doing preflight, as far as possible depending on your machine, move the controls by hand and have a listen. Found one or two buggered hinges/bearings etc doing this sort of thing which resulted in the aircraft being grounded, much to the displeasure of the boss! "Just spray some crc in there to loosen it a bit you'll be right". Yeah no.
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Old 25th Apr 2015, 05:47
  #63 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Age: 47
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Checking controls full and free also lets you check that your yoke has full clearance when you have a passenger in the RH seat.

I remember having a portly gentleman in the RH seat once and found that the yoke would hit his legs when elevators were pulled halfway back and turned left and right. He was also surprised at how far back the yoke traveled.

So this could have been a problem if I needed full control authority for my ailerons with the yoke in normal inflight position !!

I also use full back elevator when braking.

He had to shift to another seat in the cabin before we departed...

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Old 25th Apr 2015, 08:27
  #64 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2013
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I will put my hand up here and say I have forgotten to do control checks once (that I remember) but remembered on the takeoff roll and rejected the take-off.

One of my instructors told me a story about a cadet who was taxiing for take off, did control check before actual take off only to find the co-pilot yoke had some bolt fail during the taxi and jam the elevator. As a result of that, I now do a full control check when I am on the threshold. Actually, I normally do a control check once seated in the aircraft, during the before take-off check list and before take-off.
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Old 25th Apr 2015, 08:57
  #65 (permalink)  
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You can go overboard on these additional checks. Being a once avid reader of overseas flight safety events via the internet and various magazines, I realised that reading all these gory stories was causing me to start jumping at shadows.

For example, during the before take off checks in the old 737 series, I found myself just about buggering my back while twisting in my seat to glimpse the outer section of the leading edge devices to ensure that they were indeed extended before commencing the take off roll.

This, despite the presence of safety features in the cockpit that told me the LED were all set in the correct position.
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Old 25th Apr 2015, 12:22
  #66 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2009
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It really pays to do full and proper control check pre flight.


It also pays to carefully check the weather to ensure that your fuel loaded is sufficient for all operations.


It really pays to do a thorough pre flight inspection, this includes ensuring all covers and pins have been removed especially after any maintenance action.


It really pays to ensure you check the maintenance release for any defects.



It's so easy to wax lyrical.

But really, isn't this just a huge circle jerk contributing nothing but an excuse to inflate personal standings? Or am I just cynical?

Maybe I am cynical.


It really does pay to research the proper meaning and pronunciation of your cute little quote at the end of each post.
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Old 25th Apr 2015, 22:06
  #67 (permalink)  

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This applies to any aircraft.
Aeroplane, yes. Otherwise, not necessarily so.
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Old 26th Apr 2015, 07:33
  #68 (permalink)  
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Compylot, if you must be so condescending towards those here that willingly share their cockups, please at least recognise that 'folk' is already plural.
At the risk of your derision, my control jam story. Departing in an old DH Heron I had the control column jam in the position needed to rotate, which was quite a long way aft. After very carefully dragging it around using trim and without changing gear or flap position, we found that an over enthusiastic baggage handler had forced one bag too many into the forward locker, which was under the cockpit floor. It had forced some loose metal panelling up just enough to foul the elevator system.
I rather suspect that my "full and free" checks had become a bit lax and had only been done to about half travel. Lesson learned.
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Old 26th Apr 2015, 08:01
  #69 (permalink)  
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Nothing new under the sun when it comes to means and ways of screwing up.

11/9/27 Short Crusader (seaplane built to compete for the Schneider Trophy) Flying Officer H.M. Schofield attempted to correct a wing lifting during the take off, but the control wires to the ailerons had been crossed during reassembly, so that the aileron movement was reversed. The aircraft continued the roll, and hit the water at a speed of 150 mph (240 km/h). The fuselage broke in half at the cockpit, and Schofield was thrown clear, sustaining serious bruises but no broken bones.

Roy Chadwick (designer of the Lancaster) died on 23 August 1947 in a crash during the takeoff of the prototype Avro Tudor 2 G-AGSU from Woodford airfield, in the vicinity of Shirfold Farm. The accident was due to an error in an overnight servicing in which the aileron cables were inadvertently crossed.

On 30 October 1935, Army Air Corps test-pilot Major Ployer Peter Hill (Chief of the Flying Branch of the Material Division at Wright Field) and Boeing employee Les Tower took the Model 299 (B-17 prototype) on a second evaluation flight. The crew forgot to disengage the "gust locks," a system of devices integral to the design that held the bomber's movable control surfaces in place while the aircraft was parked on the ground. After take-off, due to the failure to manually disengage all of the gust locks, the aircraft entered a steep climb, stalled, nosed over, and crashed, killing Hill and Tower (other observers survived with injuries)

20 Mar 2001 incident to a Lufthansa Airbus A320 on takeoff from Frankfurt. Captains sidestick wired in reverse in roll. Reached 21 degrees bank, and the wingtip is reported to have come within half a meter of the ground. FO pressed ‘priority’ and assumed control.

Compylots household? If yer can take a joke!!!
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Old 26th Apr 2015, 08:41
  #70 (permalink)  
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Even the best designed control lock systems are not foolproof.
Two classic cases. The Captain of the first was my next door neighbour, so I know more or less from his account how it happened. The F 27 has a really good gust lock located on the bulkhead behind the LHS. To disengage requires a button to be pressed and a handle to be rotated downwards into a detent and the reverse action to engage it, ie press the button, pull it up to a detent.
The airline concerned had their tech logs encased in a hard cover.
To get this clunky document out of the way, some pilots stowed it behind one of the seats. On this occasion it was behind the Captain's seat. In the cruise he ran the seat back to stretch a bit. The detent was either a bit worn or the lever was not fully down. Whatever the case, running the seat back caused the tech log binder to push the gust lock lever up and re engage the control locks in flight. This caused some confusion for a while, as the autopilot was engaged but not holding straight and level. To add to their woes the control lock system also armed the ground fine pitch circuit, which brought on some propeller warning lights. I think that was what gave them the clue to the problem. Fortunately for them, they had the smarts not to pull the power back to idle, thus they kept the props away from the fine pitch position.
The other case was an HS748 at Sumburgh in the Shetland Islands, which had a dodgy gust lock engage during take off, resulting in an over run into the sea with some fatalities, if I recall correctly (I saw the wreckage in the water). This gust lock was also theoretically a sound design as it disengaged if both throttles were advanced for takeoff. However, one pin in the control run dropped back into the elevator circuit, or somehow had been able to remain there even though the cockpit indication showed the gust lock free.
That was put down to bogus parts which had been installed by a previous operator and had not shown up in the maintenance records.
Which could open the discussion "when would you reject a takeoff AFTER reaching V1?"
Depends on aircraft design, but types which do not have control disconnect circuits may not be flyable with jammed or locked controls, yet rarely is this event considered.
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Old 26th Apr 2015, 09:51
  #71 (permalink)  
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You are obviously ignorant of the origin of "Tootle pip!!.
Try Google.
And I do mean "Tootle pip!!", not toodle pip.
Tootle pip!!
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Old 26th Apr 2015, 10:13
  #72 (permalink)  
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Then, of course, there is the case of the ailerons on a Conquest going in the same direction, think about that one.
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Old 26th Apr 2015, 23:32
  #73 (permalink)  
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You are obviously ignorant of the origin of "Tootle pip!!.
Try Google.
Top result:
Urban Dictionary: tootlepip
One who loves one's car and hair too much.
andrewr is online now  
Old 27th Apr 2015, 00:18
  #74 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: UK
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This is kintergarden stuff guys... lesson 1 at flying school is a FULL and FREE check of the flying controls before you get airborne.. I can't BELIEVE that there are people admitting that they don't or have not done it properly !!!

Last edited by Smudger; 27th Apr 2015 at 00:36.
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Old 27th Apr 2015, 06:13
  #75 (permalink)  
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Well Smudger, I am glad to hear of at least one pilot who has never ever made a kindergarten mistake. Congratulations, we need more like you.

Here in my world we try to learn from our mistakes and those of others.

Keep going vegemite kiddies, this is fun.
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Old 27th Apr 2015, 10:15
  #76 (permalink)  
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There will be a few Vegemite kiddies sent to the corner soon if they can't focus on topic rather than each other
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Old 27th Apr 2015, 11:31
  #77 (permalink)  
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The thread ran it's course once LeadSled started on about his hairpiece and black holden with personalized number plates.
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Old 27th Apr 2015, 22:58
  #78 (permalink)  
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Besides controls, who checks for correct operation of the trims. Very pertinent if its just come out of maintenance. There is a Ppruner who tells a good story of wrestling a Metro around the Bankstown circuit with elevator trim operating in the reverse sense.

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Old 28th Apr 2015, 03:51
  #79 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
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How well do you check full and free?

I have always done a full and free control check before takeoff, but one day in 2011 in a 210 at Esperance after doing the standard "stir the pot" control check, I almost came unstuck.
Everything was free and correct at the control check, but after taking off, I went to make a left hand turn and the ailerons wouldnt budge. Now this left me in an interesting predicament, do I force it, and risk snapping something, do I wiggle the ailerons back and forth, to try and dislodge something that could be lodged in the linkages? I elected to just leave the control column as it was, nicely centred, and rudder her around the circuit for a slightly wonky but successful crosswind landing.
After I landed, I performed another full and free "stir the pot" check, and it was perfectly fine, but with the elevator around the neutral position, I had no aileron movement. An engineer took a look and discovered the bearing in the control column had collapsed, and where the yoke tube sits at the neutral elevator position, it wouldnt allow aileron movement.
Moral of the story nowadays, I always wiggle the ailerons left and right a few times all the way up the travel of the elevator, just to make sure.
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Old 28th Apr 2015, 05:28
  #80 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Not only do I stir the stick and alternately press the pedals but if possible (can't see the tail in some planes) I watch the surfaces as well to see if they are operating in the correct sense and I am getting full deflection.
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