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captainjoe AirbusA320 OUTSIDE CHECK explained by CAPTAIN JOE

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What is a outside-check ? 

I´m sure you might have experienced this once you were waiting at the gate prior to boarding, the pilot walking around the aircraft and closely looking at the exterior of his aircraft. What is he/she doing ? That is what I´d like to explain in today´s video ! 

Every pilot has to check if his aircraft, helicopter, gilder, little sports plane or a big commercial jet, hasn´t encountered any damage or leakage from prior flights. Aviators call this regular procedure the outside check or exterior walkaround !

Let´s take the Airbus A320 as an example. After completing our first checks within the cockpit, the last item on the "preliminary cockpit preparation checklist” reads, “EXTERIOR WALKAROUND —— PERFORM ! 
You have a similar checklist in your car manual, in which you should check your tire pressure, oil quantity etc. prior to a long car journey. So the aircraft manual lists the items which should be inspected whilst doing your outside check. 
For example: 
• Condition of Pitot Probes ( free and clean )
• Clean Static Ports ( Parts to measure altitude and speed )
• Damages on aircraft nose section  
• Chocks in place ( so the aircraft can move )
• Nose wheel structure, tyre abrasion 
• Depth of nose wheel damper 
• Condition of taxi and runway turn of lights 
• Condition of exterior antennas  
• Condition of landing lights 
• Any leakage of wing tanks 
• Strobe and navigation lights on the outer part of wing
• Condition of slats and flaps 
• In and outlet of turbine 
• Fan blades of turbine  
• Tyre abrasion on main landing gear  
• Brake wear on main landing gear 
• Depth of main landing gear damper
• Possible damages on horizontal stabilizer 
• Horizontal stabilizer in neutral position 
• In and outlet of auxiliary power unit ( APU ) 
• Any dents and scratches of wings and fuselage  
• Any leaking fluids 
• secure closing of doors and hatches 
These are only a few important ones listed in the exterior walk around “checklist”.
To approve that you have completed the outside check you need to write down time and your signature into the “Technical Flight Log”, similar to your service check book in your car. Important ! This not a “once a day check”, NO, the outside check has to be performed prior every flight ! 

The same rule applies for little sports planes, private jets and helicopters, although these aircrafts fly on a less regular basis, so their vulnerable instruments, engine in and outlets are covered with a red protective cover, marked with big letters “REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT”. And safety bolts, which protect the rudders from flapping about in the wind, are also tagged with this warning sign.
More information about the “REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT” in another blog. 

It´s required by law, that a commercial jet has to have functional flashlights and reflective vests to properly perform the outside check during night operation. 
In the event that something is malfunctioning or broken, we´ll request a certified technician for help. If he can repair the broken part, he´ll state his repairs in the "technical flight log” and approves that the aircraft is airworthy. Otherwise if new parts or a bigger inspection and repair is needed, he will “write it off” and the aircraft is then AOG = Aircraft on ground ! 
Safety first always goes first ! 

So the next time you´re waiting at the gate, look out for your pilot performing his outside check !
Next time we´ll talk about the REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT warning pins and tags.

Thank you very much for your time! I hope you enjoy this basic introduction video about an A320 outside check!
Wishing you all the best!

Your "Captain" Joe

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