Pre-Fight Checklist - RC Groups
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Jul 07, 2003, 09:57 AM
Registered User

Pre-Flight Checklist

Pre-Flight Checklist

1. Transmitter charged
2. Frequency flag on radio
3. Batteries charged
4. Battery in plane (if using Velcro be sure it is secure)
5. Battery hooked up
6. Prop on tight
7. Prop on correctly (Letters out - GWS)
8. CG correct
9. Wing secured (If using rubber bands be sure they are not brittle)
10. Control surface hinges secure
11. Wheel retainers secure
12. Control horns secure
13. Control rods free from binding
14. Servo arms secure (tighten screw that holds arms into the servos)
15. Control rod connections secure (“Z-bends” holding)(Dubro Micro screws tightened on servo arm and plastic “keepers” on control horns snapped in place)
16. Servos and speed control connections into receiver securely
17. Crystal in place and secure
18. Rudder trimmed
19. Elevator trimmed
20. Aileron trimmed
21. Rudder – Stick to the left rudder turns to the left and stick to the right rudder turns to the right
22. Elevator – Pull stick back and the elevator goes up. Push stick forward and the elevator goes down.
23. Ailerons – Stick to the right - right aileron goes up, left aileron goes down. Stick to the left - left aileron goes up, right aileron goes down.
24. Throttle response – Stick forward and the motor starts
25. Range Check – I walk away from the plane about 50–75’ with the antenna collapsed and run through all of the stick movements. It helps to have a buddy there to give the “thumbs up”.
26. Taxi test - I like to see how the plane is reacting to power and make sure it is rolling straight before I take off.
27. Assess the surroundings. Make sure you know who’s at the field and what they are doing. Being mindful of your surroundings before, during and after flights helps to avoid surprises like dogs, kids, or that other R/C’er around the corner doing a “Pre-Flight” on your frequency.

This is what I try to do now. Please add anything I’ve missed or “forgotten”. I will review this thread and by the end of the week I will put together a final list with all of the comments and tips in time for the weekend flights. I hope this will help some folks avoid a possible disaster.

Last edited by FJR; Jul 07, 2003 at 09:15 PM.
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Jul 07, 2003, 10:40 AM
Forever TMWT Pilot #11
LcJ's Avatar
Good list. One thing has happened to me several times. The spur gear slides forward on the shaft and disengages the pinion.

This is only a problem if it disengages when you need to add power on landing or if it happens right after takeoff, especially on a breezy day when you turn.

I probably should glue the spur in place, but instead I just pinch the spur between my thumb and forefinger and force it back to where it should be. I try to remember to check this. I thnk too many hard landing early on jarred it forward.

Latest blog entry: RC Logger's Eye One Xtreme Quad
Jul 07, 2003, 01:29 PM
Registered User
How about "extending antenna"?

I know it is obvious, but...

Don't ask why I thought of this. I was too embarrassed to post photos of the results. I was halfway to the pile of balsa (100 feet away) before I figured out what happened, DUH! MiniFlash is repaired and flying again.

Jul 07, 2003, 02:20 PM
Registered User
Dick Huang's Avatar
If you are not flying alone, the first thing you should do is get the frequency pin for your frequency and make sure it is clear!
Dick Huang
Jul 07, 2003, 03:24 PM
Senior Moment Member
Actually you need two lists, a pre-flight inspection list for your "walk around" inspection to check that everything is ready, the BIG list.

And a shorter takeoff checklist when you're ready to go. Flight control movement, antenna up, takeoff trim set, wind direction....
to make sure you're ready to fly.

Jul 07, 2003, 03:36 PM
Registered User
eSmasher's Avatar
5. Battery hooked up

Should come just before you test the control surfaces - never when you are handling the plane - the motor can start without warning (glitch, someone else on your freq., accidently knock Tx etc) and give you a very nasty cut.

Electric is more dangerous than Glow - you can't stall an electric motor - with a glow it hits you once or twice then stalls - an electric keeps going like the Energiser bunny

Get your hands and face behind the propeller disk (and everyone else) before checking the Tx in set to motor off before connecting the flight battery.

Never leave an armed plane unattended - either fly it or disconnect it. Of course if you have a kill switch it should be off when connecting up and only on for control checks and flying.

I know this sounds like a lecture but the guys at my club are real keen on safety - a Scottish champion flyer had a finger badly damaged (I think by an electric) a few months ago.

Jul 07, 2003, 03:39 PM
but it's a nice obsession
jgmtens's Avatar
Jimmy has the right idea for the pre-takeoff checklist.
Something short and easy to remember.

We use CTT:

Control surfaces - make sure they move in the right direction!

Trim - make sure it is set correctly for this airplane!

Transmitter - make sure you have a green light or good power indication!

Happy flying!

Jul 07, 2003, 03:44 PM
Endangered User
MattLarson29's Avatar
Two additional notes:

1. Grasp the control surface and wiggle it to make sure it is secure and the pushrod is not slipping / bending under load.

2. If you have a transmitter that has memories for more than one plane, make sure the correct memory has been selected.

Jul 07, 2003, 05:31 PM
Registered User
Uh, is the title of this thread a typo or a freudian slip?

Jul 07, 2003, 09:21 PM
Registered User

Keep 'em coming guys! I agree that there should be two lists. I was trying to think of everything I could this morning. The final lists will be "Walk Around" and "Pre-Flight".

Thanks Again Everyone!

Jul 07, 2003, 09:35 PM
wild in the park?
wherndon's Avatar
I went to the field and after I did all 27 checks it had gotten dark and I didn't have any lights on my plane


hope y'all can take a joke...
Jul 07, 2003, 10:10 PM
Registered User

I'm sorry that you didn't get to fly, but if your plane had lights that would add, at least, 6 or 7 more steps and then it would have been too dark to do your checks accurately and I think that should be another check: #35. Be sure there is enough light to do the previous 34 steps in the checklist.

Joke well taken...

Jul 07, 2003, 10:22 PM
wild in the park?
wherndon's Avatar
thanks FJ.
Your check list is very comprehensive, and well thought out.
Personally, I like to keep things fairly simple when I get to the field.
A lot of the above items I will check before loading the aircraft for the trip to the field. Say like, rubber bands for the wings.
Other's I reserve for a post flight check, when I get home. Such as the prop nuts being tight, or the control horns being loose.
I suppose it is up the individual as to when he/she checks all the items. But your list makes for a good maintenance program for everyone.
Jul 08, 2003, 09:20 AM
Registered User

Thanks, being new to the hobby I needed to write this stuff down for my own benefit and thought maybe it would help other newbies. From all of the posts I can see my mistake was that there are numerous things on the list that can certainly be done ahead of time. The final list will be be better organized so that people will spend less time "pre-flight" checking and more time the night before going over everything.

Man, I am still laughing at your earlier post!

Jul 08, 2003, 11:04 AM
Registered User
After my SA comment, I'd like to say that this thread should appear on this forum at least once a month. There are so many critical "to do" things to have a successful flight, that we probably should have the list tatooed on our arm! I don't want to know where the tatoo goes for the guys that wear long sleeves.