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You’re nearly half done with your preflight inspection. Continue it by inspecting the right wing, its control surfaces, and fuel tanks. (Note: Some aircraft, especially low-wing aircraft, start on the left wing and move to the right. Follow your plane’s checklist!) Here’s how it’s done:
- Inspect the flap surface, control rod, and hinges for condition if the plane is equipped with them. Some aircraft combine flaps with ailerons, called flaperons, and other craft don’t have flaps.
- Carefully check the aileron for smooth movement, and inspect the cable and hinges that control it.
- Inspect the right wingtip for condition, especially if it has been a rental plane or has been parked near other planes.
- Inspect the wing-tip light lens for damage if lights are installed.
- Check the condition of the right wing’s leading edge, looking for damage, excessive bugs, or ice that can reduce the plane’s ability to lift.
- Disconnect the tie-down from the wing.
- Inspect the right tire for proper inflation and make sure there are no grease leaks from the wheel bearings or hydraulic leaks from the brakes.
- Inspect the top and underside of the wing for obvious damage.
- Use the quick drain and vial to draw and inspect fuel from the wing tank, if equipped. Each plane is different, so make sure you read the operating handbook to find out the right way of doing this. You are verifying the octane color (noted in the operating handbook) of the fuel as well as looking for sediments or water in the fuel.
- Check the level of fuel in the wing tank. This is relatively easy in low-wing aircraft, but might require a ladder for high-wing planes.
Make sure the gas cap vent hole is clear of debris and make sure you replace the cap securely. You don’t want fuel spilling out in a bank or being siphoned off by the wind!
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide