CHAPTER 5. Prefl ight and Ground Operations

Flight Deck Management

After entering the fl ight deck, the pilot should fi rst ensure that all necessary equipment, documents, checklists, and navigation charts appropriate for the fl ight are on board. [Figure 5-63] If a portable intercom, headsets, or a hand-held global positioning system (GPS) is used, the pilot is responsible for ensuring that the routing of wires and cables does not interfere with the motion or the operation of any control.

Regardless of what materials are to be used, they should be neatly arranged and organized in a manner that makes them readily available. The fl ight deck should be checked for articles that might be tossed about if turbulence is encountered, and any loose items properly secured.

When the pilot is comfortably seated, the safety belt and shoulder harness (if installed) should be fastened and adjusted to a comfortably snug fi t. The safety belt must be worn at all times the pilot is seated at the controls.

Checklist After Entering Flight Deck

  • Seats adjusted for full operation of all controls.
  • Seats locked into position.
  • Put on seat belts (lap fi rst, then shoulder) and adjust so all controls and systems can be fully operated.
  • Check all control systems for proper operation.
  • Check all systems operations.
  • Demonstrate and practice flight and emergency equipment and procedures.
  • Demonstrate and practice what passengers can hold onto, and what not to touch.
  • Demonstrate and practice positive exchange of controls.
  • Remove safety pin for ballistic chute operation.
  • Install helmet (if applicable) and headphones.
  • Check intercom and radio communications systems.
  • Install eye protection (safety glasses, helmet shields).

It is important that a pilot operates an aircraft safely on the ground. This includes being familiar with standard hand signals that are used universally for ground operations. [Figure 5-64]

Engine Start

The specifi c procedures for engine start vary greatly since there are as many different methods as there are engines, fuel systems, and starting conditions. The engine start checklist procedures in the POH should be followed. The following are some basic steps that apply to most aircraft:

  • Key in, ignition on, master power on
  • Check gauges for operation and fuel level.
  • Fuel pump on (or pump fuel bulb to fi ll carburetor bowls)
  • System switches on. (Some WSC have specifi c system switches turned on after the engine is started because engine starting may create lower voltage possibly damaging instruments or systems. If in doubt, start engine and than turn on instruments and systems not needed for starting.)
  • Both ignition systems switches on
  • Choke/enrichener on (or pump primer as appropriate)
  • Throttle closed
  • Brakes on
  • Ensure propeller area is cleared, loudly announce to propeller area “Clear prop,” and wait for any response.
  • Start engine through pull cord start or electric start (do not try to hand prop under any circumstances)
  • Ensure the aircraft does not move, keeping hands on ignition switches for quick shutdown, if necessary.
  • Adjust throttle, choke or enrichener to keep engine running smoothly.
  • Turn on electric instruments if applicable.
  • Check gauges for proper ranges (oil pressure, revolutions per minute (rpm), charging voltage, engine temperatures within ranges, etc.)
  • Continue to monitor area and shut down engine if any person or animal approaches.

A relatively low rpm setting is recommended immediately following engine start. This is typically a slight increase in the throttle to keep the engine running smoothly. It is not recommended to allow the rpm to race immediately after a start with a cold engine, as there is insuffi cient lubrication until the oil pressure rises on four-stroke engines, and unequal heating on two-stroke engines. In freezing temperatures, the engine is also exposed to potential mechanical distress until it warms and normal internal operating clearances are reached.

On four-stroke engines, as soon as the engine is started, the oil pressure should be checked. If it does not rise to the manufacturer’s specifi ed value, the engine may not be receiving proper lubrication and should be shut down immediately to prevent serious damage.

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