This chapter discusses the basic procedures and techniques essential to the safe operation of the
airplane on the ground prior to and after a flight. This includes the major points of ensuring that
the airplane is in an airworthy condition, starting and stopping the engine and taxiing the airplane
to and from the line area and the runway.
In the line area, there is usually considerable activity - aircraft may be operating at high power
settings, taxiing in and out of the area, taking off and landing on nearby runways; fuel trucks and
people may be moving about the aircraft. Consequently, constant vigilance must be exercised at
all times while performing ground operations.
The propeller is the most dangerous part of the airplane, since under certain light conditions, it is
difficult to see a revolving propeller. This may give the illusion that it is not there. As a result,
the files of Aviation Safety Offices contain many cases that read, "Victim walked into a rotating
While approaching the airplane, the pilot should note the presence of obstructions and articles
such as fire extinguishers, fueling or maintenance equipment or chocks that could be a hazard
when taxiing the airplane.
The accomplishment of a safe, productive flight begins with a careful visual inspection before
the pilot enters the airplane. In addition, a planned routine of starting, Taxiing, Runup and
Before-Takeoff Checklists will assure that the airplane is operating properly while there is still
an opportunity to correct any discrepancy which may appear. When well organized, these
checks can be made quickly and soon will become a matter of habit; the airplane will become
familiar and anything unfamiliar will alert the pilot that something is not as it should be.
The use of appropriate checklists to inspect and start the airplane, as well as for other ground
checks and procedures, is mandatory. Checklists are guidelines for use to ensure that all
necessary items are checked in a logical sequence. The beginning pilot should not get the idea
that a checklist is merely a crutch for poor memory - even the most experienced professional
pilots never attempt to fly without an appropriate checklist. The NATOPS Manual for each
model of aircraft flown by the Navy contains all appropriate checklists for that aircraft.
General. Prior to your first flight, there are several fundamental topics that you, as a
student aviator, must be aware of and understand if you are to obtain maximum benefit from
your primary training. Make your initial appearance, and each succeeding appearance before
your instructor, a good one. Bear in mind that military courtesy and discipline are important
factors in your training and will continue to be so as long as you are a member of the military