Preflight check 123ABCD

by Chad Bastian

This simple routine was developed by master pilot and instructor, Chad Bastian.  It is good for both PPG and PG.  To reinforce its importance and help your memory, it should be said out-loud e.g. "One chin strap".  All but "D" refer to some important aspect of the check.

A tandem pilot recently died because he failed to complete a simple preflight check like this one.

This preflight video from USHPA is helpful for all pilots.  It includes general questions each pilot should ask himself before launch.

All pilots MUST memorize this preflight check routine to finish their training with Southwest Airsports.

1. One chin strap

Place your fingers between the strap and your chin and be sure that the buckle is fastened.  The helmet is useless if it comes off.

2. Two karabiners

These are the two karabiners that connect your glider to your harness.  Grasp them with each hand and squeeze them to be sure the gates are locked!

3. Three straps

There are two legs straps and one gut strap.  Put your hands under each of them to be sure they are securely fastened!

A. Air

All pilots should sit at launch for at least 15 minutes and observe the conditions.  Are they within your comfort conditions?  Is it cross or gusty?  If you are not 100% at peace about the conditions DO NOT LAUNCH!  It could be your last flight....

B. Being

As trained soldiers know, your mental state is critical to your safety.  Are you 100%?  Not too happy, not upset, not tired?  If you have been using drugs or alcohol, flying is easy and fun but you might get killed in the process....

C. Clear

a. It sounds silly, but is it clear in front?  No pilots flying across your launch path?  Obstacles?  Hitting trees at launch happens nearly everyday in Roldanillo and Valle de Bravo.  I still can't figure out how this happens to sober people who care about their safety?
b. ALSO, are you lines clear?  No knots? No tangles?  The fine lines on some gliders are particularly hard to see and it's another reason why forward inflations can be suicidal if you have not CAREFULLY checked your lines prior to launch.

D. Radio check

Making sure "da radio" works and your are able to communicate with other pilots is just as important as the other checks.  A pilot I know would be alive today if she had known how to properly operate her radio.