The following article and pictures are from May 1963 FAA Aviation News. I routinely collect old FAA magazines (much to the chagrin of my wife) and I love reading through them and finding gem articles like this one that discusses the importance of a postflight inspection. Unfortunately, the FAA has not archived these wonderful articles online, so I’m doing my part by reprinting it here so we can all benefit from the timeless truth contained therein.
“Any pilot worthy of the name knows the importance of a good preflight, but too often he is a total stranger to its close cousin – the postflight. No flight is truly completed until proper care of the aircraft has been completed.
No regulation covers the postflight inspection, but good sense does. When you leave the aircraft, the safety of the next pilot to fly it may depend upon you – and that pilot may be you.
It is poor form to taxi up and leave the airplane in front of the gate or hangar for the airport operator to take care of. Either park it yourself or make arrangements to have it done and be sure proper postflight procedures are followed:
- First, park into the wind if there is a choice. Tie the airplane down and insert chocks both in front and in back of the wheels. Be sure to release the brakes after chocking; brake systems sometimes lock as a result of fluid expansion, causing serious trouble later. Install approved gust locks and put the pitot cover in place.
- Record and arrange for correction of any in-flight discrepancies. Small items corrected immediately will save time and trouble later. Be sure you also record the flight time so that an accurate record is available for periodic maintenance.
- Service all fuel tanks and top off the oil to minimize condensation.
- Put maps, charts and other objects in their proper place in the cockpit. Loose article can cause accidents.
- Close all windows and lock the aircraft. At many airports, violators are subject to fines. It is also excellent theft protection and it may save someone’s life. At an isolated airport recently, two small children suffocated after entering an unlocked small airplane from which they couldn’t get out.
- If aircraft is to be hangared, be sure the hangar has adequate first protection and check for birds. Birds not only build nests in critical airframe and engine areas, but their droppings impair aircraft surfaces.
- As a final step, before you leave the airport let someone know where you may be contacted. And don’t forget to close your flight plan.
A good postflight, like a good preflight, is safety insurance. Its cost is a little time and thought.”