Chapter 2—Ground Operations
Table of Contents
Inside the Cockpit
Outer Wing Surfaces and Tail Section
Fuel and Oil
Landing Gear, Tires, and Brakes
Engine and Propeller
Before Takeoff Check
Clear of Runway
Securing and Servicing
OUTER WING SURFACES AND TAIL SECTION
The pilot should inspect for any signs of deterioration, distortion, and loose or missing rivets or screws, especially in the area where the outer skin attaches to the airplane structure. [Figure 2-6] The pilot should look along the wing spar rivet line—from the wingtip to the fuselage—for skin distortion. Any ripples and/or waves may be an indication of internal damage or failure.
Loose or sheared aluminum rivets may be identified by the presence of black oxide which forms rapidly when
the rivet works free in its hole. Pressure applied to the skin adjacent to the rivet head will help verify the loosened condition of the rivet.
When examining the outer wing surface, it should be remembered that any damage, distortion, or malformation of the wing leading edge renders the airplane unairworthy. Serious dents in the leading edge, and disrepair of items such as stall strips, and deicer boots can cause the airplane to be aerodynamically unsound. Also, special care should be taken when examining the wingtips. Airplane wingtips are usually fiberglass. They are easily damaged and subject to cracking. The pilot should look at stop drilled cracks for evidence of crack progression, which can, under some circumstances, lead to in-flight failure of the wingtip.
The pilot should remember that fuel stains anywhere on the wing warrant further investigation—no matter how old the stains appear to be. Fuel stains are a sign of probable fuel leakage. On airplanes equipped with integral fuel tanks, evidence of fuel leakage can be found along rivet lines along the underside of the wing.