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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 10th Apr 2015, 00:23
  #1 (permalink)  
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Do YOU always fully check your controls before flight?

From avweb.com

Quite sobering to think that a "rookie" mistake caused this and shocking that it was common practice !

Flight control checks of the Gulfstream IV that crashed during takeoff last year, killing all aboard, were rarely done, according to flight data from the jet’s most recent trips. The details were part of the accident docket the NTSB released Wednesday as it continues its investigation into the May 31, 2014 crash at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts. Investigators’ initial findings showed that the Gulfstream accelerated to 165 knots but never left the ground, and the elevator position indicated a control lock was engaged. The jet ran off a runway, through a fence and crashed into a gully, where it burned. The two pilots, a flight attendant, and four passengers were killed, including billionaire businessman Lewis Katz.

The accident docket includes data from the jet indicating that out of the last 176 flights, two full stop-to-stop checks of all flight controls were performed prior to takeoff, while 16 partial control checks were identified. During the pre-takeoff operations prior to the crash, flight data also showed no movements of the controls to indicate they were checked. The transcript of the cockpit voice recorder showed that one of the pilots repeated “lock is on” several times in the moments before the crash, followed by, “I can’t stop it.” According to a Bloomberg report on the investigation, the NTSB’s probe includes the Gulfstream’s systems, which were designed to prevent throttle movement with locked controls.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 01:19
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YES I do check the flight controls fully prior to takeoff, the instant before takeoff.

About 20 years ago we had someone with a mis loaded plane have difficulty rotating due to incorrect trim information.

But he did rotate and did fine. And it was at a very unforgiving airport, KMDW.

We actually have had training to verify elevator around 80 knots and that it is moving properly and effectively.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 01:19
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Every flight!

I interestingly watch other people do it and they get no where near 'the stops', I always make sure the test is FULL & free.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 01:40
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Full free AND correct.

That means actually watching them too......not just wobbling them around a bit!!

I was taught this from day 1 years ago and ALWAYS do it on every Aircraft I fly..
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 01:46
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The result in the above accident was of course tragic, yet inconceivable to me. I too was lucky to have a "full and free" check drilled into me from day one. Can't envisage getting airborne without doing it. Also, this is not the first time a Gulfstream has met with disaster due to their control locks. Poor system?
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 01:47
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Likewise ACMS! Before every flight, as part of pre-takeoff checks, controls FULL & FREE movement, and correct sense. Never had the privilege of flying a Gulfstream so I'm not sure how/why the crew would think it unnecessary but seems like a basic (& in this case fatal) error. Unbelievable.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 02:13
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Sad to think that a billionaire was taken out at the result of such a stupid event. Just goes to show you can buy the best gear in the world and still come undone due to human error.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 02:18
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I remember reading an article years ago in Flying magazine. (I think it was penned by Richard Collins. Maybe Len Morgan.)
He was lining up for departure and moved the controls through their full range just, before giving it the gas. The FO said, why do that? We did it as part of the taxi check."

The reply involved the author having witnessed a DC 8 stall on departure and crash. Turns out a bit of gravel had been blown into an elevator hinge by a preceding departure, and jammed it. The crew couldn't lower the nose.

He was haunted by that memory. (Well, you would be.)
Creating the mental image is probably sufficient to jog one into performing that simple check.

Last edited by Tarq57; 10th Apr 2015 at 02:19. Reason: typo
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 02:18
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Pity he didn't buy the best crew....
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 03:17
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Every flight!

I interestingly watch other people do it and they get no where near 'the stops', I always make sure the test is FULL & free.
Likewise. No exceptions.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 03:29
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Always. Adding to "full and free," "in the correct sense." I.e. Looking out, ailerons, left up, right down, elevator up and down.

Trim is an interesting one. Although one can check the mark on the wheel, it doesn't indicate correct movement. A number of years ago after my aircraft's annual, I was trimming nose up after takeoff but the nose was going down. Back on the ground I discovered that the cables had been reversed during the service. I taxied back to the engineer and told him what had happened. He strenuously stated that was impossible until I showed him. Having a sliding canopy, I now stick my head out when checking the elevator trim.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 04:25
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Another vote for full, free and correct every flight. And always do it after the engine run-ups, just in case anything has been blown in to any hinges etc.

As Fuji says, trim is a bit more difficult. Despite nowadays having a sliding bubble canopy, I must admit I normally do the stabilator/trim check on the walk-around. A convenient check (having electric-only trim) involves two people but, failing that, I usually put the trim to neutral and check the stabilator movement against the markings on the fuselage, and then run the trim between extremes while standing outside the cockpit and looking at the tail assembly.

I haven't seen reversed trim but do recall being told off some years ago for writing up a defect when hiring a C152 from a flying school. The trim and indicator system had become partially disconnected and nearly full "nose-up" indication was required to keep the aircraft straight and level. Being a C152, the required yoke forces on take off were not great but there was a surprise element which may well have thrown a student. My cursory check of the elevator and trim had clearly been inadequate.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 04:31
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This is what can happen if you don't do a control check before take off-

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Old 10th Apr 2015, 04:33
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11,000 hours including 2,500 GA and I don't think I have ever taken off without checking the controls. I remember a guy failing his private pilot checkride with one of the faults being not checking for correct control movement. Was looking straight ahead.

I also tend to check the elevator trim as well. On some aircraft you can't see it from the cockpit like the Cessna 170. So as part of the walkaround when I get to the right side door, I check by standing outside the aircraft and holding the control column aft to raise the elevator and then check the trim. Nose up is tab down, nose down is tab up. Check that takeoff position in near neutral. Takes a few seconds.

Stabilators really need to be check with the control near neutral as the anti-servo(trim) tab moves with control movement.

Chances are everything will be moving in the correct direction if the previous flight was OK for the last guy but be especially paranoid about proper direction movement after significant maintenance.

Then again, the Diamond DA-20 is just a spring being adjusted inside the tail to create force on the elevator so all you can do is look at the trim light in the cockpit. But once again, if it was rigged to operate in the proper direction on the previous flight and there has been no maintenance, it probably still is.

Last edited by JammedStab; 10th Apr 2015 at 04:43.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 04:34
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Don't think this crash was any more tragic just because there was a 'Billionaire' in the back Sq7.

Just tragic complacency at its worst, we changed our timing on control checks years ago when we did away with the taxi checklist.

Its done just before start after being cleared by the ground engineer over the headset, can't see the wings of course but you check the indications to verify full and correct movement.

Some will just 'wiggle' the controls but I always go (gently) to the stops on the Rudder, Elevator and Ailerons.

Every time, no excuses.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 07:17
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I blame CVD.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 07:39
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Sad to think that a billionaire was taken out at the result of such a stupid event.
As opposed to anyone else who steps foot in an aircraft.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 08:04
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I also tend to check the elevator trim as well
And with the handle JammedStab, I understand your caution!
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 08:05
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Yep, habitually, since first training flight. I wonder if the accident pilots got lazy, or if they were never taught that habit to begin with.

Odd to think that the San Antonio Sewer Pipe actually has a better design in that respect than a Gulfstream! If you push the throttles forwards beyond idle, the lock gets pushed off.
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Old 10th Apr 2015, 08:32
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This video of a Caribou re engined with turboprops springs to mind - very sad and ultimately avoidable. The piston machine had throttles on the roof and they couldn't be advanced without the gust lock being disengaged, which was a factor in this crash as I understand it.
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