Real Answers from Real Pilots


(Matthew Dean) #1

Hey guy, so I three questions. First who normally does the preflight check of the aircraft? Second what is the craziest thing you have seen or found while doing it? Third how often do you actually find water/ debris in the gas?



On an airliner the First Officer usually does the preflight check on the exterior of the aircraft, although the Captain sometimes offers to do it. On long over water flights maintenance personal also do a check. In the cockpit we each have our areas of responsibilities that we are responsible for on the precheck.

The craziest thing I have ever found on a walk around is a hydraulic leak that resulted in a flight cancellation. I have also seen bird strikes and a broken windshield.

I have never found water or debris in gas of an airplane. On jets we do not check the fuel as it is heavily filtered before it gets to the airplane and again before it reaches the engines.




As Chris said typically the FO will do the walk, except on long flts (over 8hrs) when we’ll have an Augmented crew (3 pilots). In that case usually the RO (Relief Officer) will get “the walk”.

I’ve really never anything too strange. Maybe a fluid leak, damaged or low tire and the occasional unfortunate bird.

As for water or contaminates that’s really more of a general aviation problem.


(Matthew Dean) #4

Thanks guys. Have any of you ever hit a bird?


I have hit several. One in a Seminole and a few in the 757. I have never had any damage from them. No Sully like stories here :slight_smile:

(Matthew Dean) #6

What do you do? Do you just go oh theres another one. Lol


When we encounter any irregularity with the airplane, including a bird strike we write it up in the maintenance logbook and maintenance personal inspect the airplane.



I actually ran into a flock of small birds in Wichita back when I was flying the RJ. Sounded like hail. First thing you do is a quick scan and make sure everything is working. After that I say a little prayer for dearly departed :grin:



Here you go Matthew. My friend Ryan hit a goose going into EWR a few years ago. Ouch!


And here’s another couple courtesy of Ryan. Lizards and BEES!

EVERYTHING happens to this guy!

(Matthew Dean) #11

Holy cow that’s nuts. Lol

(Eric) #12

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(Matthew Dean) #13

So how far ahead do you normally do the precheck before take off. For once you find something like that and have to ground the plane. Its not exactly like they have a spare sitting over to the side for you to do a quick change right?



We generally do the preflight walk around as soon as we get to the airplane, so about an hour prior to departure. If we are in a hub airport and find something that grounds the airplane there can sometimes be another one available. Even at out stations I have switched airplanes because mine was grounded. That being said, I have seen flights cancel because another airplane was not available.



Matthew it really depends on the operation. Earlier is ALWAYS better. When I was flying the 717 Interisland they always kept 1 or 2 spares ready to go because the schedule was so tight. There’s also a manual all airplanes have called the MEL (Minimum Equipment List). It’s created in cooperation with the FAA and basically tells you what you can fly without and what you can’t. There are many components and systems on modern airplane that have 2 or even 3 redundancies. More times then not you can still go provided it doesn’t effect the safety of the flight.