Preflight Preparation

      For everyone’s sake, complete all pre-flight checks before moving onto the runway.   Don’t get into takeoff position and then start looking for someone to help with your positive control check.   Few things frustrate tow pilots with engines running, or other pilots waiting for a tow (or others waiting to land) more than watching someone hurry into position and then halt the launchline to begin preparations that should have been expedited beforehand.  

     When inspecting the aircraft before flight, think of it as looking for trouble.   Make a serious effort to find anything that seems questionable, or different from before.   Progressive wear (on hinges, canopy seals, wheels and tires, skid plates, fabric, etc.) may not prohibit this flight, but if you fail to inspect them today, you’re more apt to forget next time – and you won’t have a firm idea of how rapidly the wear is taking place.   Subtle signs of progressive wear may be observed, sometimes for years, before maintenance is required, but aircraft cannot heal themselves.   They require constant, thoughtful CARE.

      If it’s your one flight for the day – and especially if you or the sailplane have not flown for a considerable time – always make your pre-flight inspection comprehensive.   If for some reason you feel short of time and are tempted to hurry the process, the fact is you’ve waited too long to begin, and it may be best to postpone the flight altogether until you have enough time to put SAFETY FIRST!