Pre-Flight Checks. C.B.S.I.F.T.B.E.C

First up – we get in the glider and get strapped in. In a glider it will be a four, or five-point harness. Once strapped in we go through the sequence in the mnemonic above.

  • Controls. Here we are checking three things. That:-
    1. We haven’t accidentally fouled any of the control rods or wires that go to the tail end of the aircraft (or to the rear seat in a two seat trainer)
    2. We haven’t inadvertently left the rudder lock on.
    3. Our legs and clothing will not get in the way of being able to recover from a spin or other maneuver which requires full control deflection.

With full left rudder applied, we take the stick completely round the box to the full extent of it’s travel. forward Left, down to back left, across to back right and up to forward right, then reverse the rudder and do it all again.

  • Ballast. We check our weight (including parachute) to ensure we are not outside the limits for the aircraft. In a two seater trainer it’s important to check the weight of the back seat instructor because his/her weight will affect the weight loading for the front seat.
  • Straps. This may sound daft after the opening paragraph – but you’d be surprised. If you are in a two seater, ASK THE QUESTION of the person in the back. “Are you strapped in and are you secure” If you are a trainee, it will earn you brownie points.
  • Instruments. Check we have no cracked glass facias, no condensation behind the glass which might indicate a possible failing instruments or a leak somewhere, Check we have the electrics switched on, audio vario on and finally that the altimeter is zeroed, making a note of the subscale reading in case you need to transition from QFE to QNE.
  • Flaps. Check you have full travel and they are set for take-off
  • Trim. Check you have full travel and that you are set forward for Landing. WHY? Because if you have a launch failure, you will need to get the nose down to a “Landing Approach” attitude and build up flying speed quickly so you can assess the picture and decide on either a land ahead or a go round.
  • Brakes – Airbrakes that is. Looking left and right, check that they open and close together (no differential) and finally that they are closed and LOCKED (not easy in a sim unless you’ve built your own airbrake lever – but again, good habits ……)
  • Eventualities Taking into account all factors, weather, wind speed and direction, the topology of the airfield, decide what you are going to do in the event of a low, medium and high launch failure. (did we mention in X-Winch, you have a 5% chance of a launch failure – just to keep you on your toes ) It’s also a good idea to decide what you are going to do when you get to the top and release that cable because in real life, you’ll only have three or four minutes flying time to find some lift before you are at circuit height. So unless you have lots of £££ , it’s a waste of a launch fee to wait until you are off the wire and then start wondering what to do/where to go. Tick … Tock … Tick … Tock
  • Canopy. Finally, unless you actually like X-Winch making fun of you – close the canopy