For new pilot trainees, navigating and landing back at the airport may be a little much after the first day of flying. In order to assure safety, the flight instructor will guide the trainee back towards the airport before taking control of the aircraft.
The flight instructor will resume control of the airplane so that they can demonstrate the descent and “before landing checklist”. The instructor will land the airplane and perform the after landing checklist before taxiing back to the hangar or parking spot.
Just as there is a starting engine checklist, there is also a Securing Airplane Checklist which should be performed to ensure that there is no damage to the aircraft or its electrical components.
Electrical equipment should be shut off before shutting down the engine and the engine is shut off by pulling the mixture all the way back to the “idle cut off” position. The ignition key is NOT used to shut down the engine.
After parking the airplane, the Hobbs and tach times will need to be logged and any discrepancies will need to be noted such as damage, non working electrical or mechanical equipment or anything else that should be notated regarding the equipment.
Hobbs Meter – records the length of time the engine battery master switch is on and the engine oil pressure is greater than 20 PSI. This is what goes into the logbook and is usually how the aircraft billing hours are accounted for.
Tachometer -records the total number of revolutions of the engine and converts them to hours based on standard rotation speeds. The tach time is used as a tracking time for maintenance records and time periods.
Airplane Parking & Securing
Before exiting the aircraft, make sure that all electrical items are shut off and especially that the master switch is turned off which will help to prevent the battery from draining. A dead battery will not be fun for the next pilot.
Also, it may be customary to leave the airplane with the parking brake OFF just in case the aircraft needs to be moved or towed for a variety of reasons.
Small aircrafts such as the Cessna 172 Skyhawk do not necessarily need to be hooked up to a tow bar and tug to be towed into position. These aircraft may be moved by hand and pushed back into their parking spot. When pushing, there are several things to keep in mind.
- A tow bar should be used to push an airplane
- You can push on the struts to move the airplane but not vertical or horizontal surfaces
- you can push and pull on the blades of the propeller if necessary but only close to the hub.
- do NOT push or pull on the tail of the airplane
- do NOT push on the cowling or spinner as the thin metal can be damaged easily.
Once parked, the airplane needs to be secured with tie downs and chocks against the wheels. This is the time to install any protective covers as well including pitot tube covers and control lock or rudder gust lock.
To finish off, the aircraft may need to be refueled and oil replaced as necessary or required as part of the aircraft usage.
Filling the fuel tanks at the last flight of the day will minimize water condensation in the fuel tanks overnight but regardless, the refueling should be determined based on the aircraft usage requirements.
Lock the doors & turn in the keys.
Update training records including flight ands ground time.
Discuss the flight with the instructor and ask any questions regarding the training.