Cessna 172N/P Preflight Inspection

Note: This page is a intended to be a tutorial to assist the student in learning to preflight a Cessna 172 (N or P models). It is not a replacement for the check list for a specific airplane. It does not consider every model variant nor every modification to these airplanes. If the procedures here contradict those in the airplanes Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) or the Federal Aviation Regulations, be sure to follow the procedures in the POH or FARs.

Hobbs Meter The flight hour meter, or commonly called the "Hobbs meter" measures the amount of time the engine ran. Since this is normally used for billing, check the reading against the billing paperwork. It is customary to round up if the reading is between 2 numbers.

Tach The time on the Tachometer, or "Tach Time" is what is used for maintenance." This is the number you check against the due times for things like a 100 hour inspection, airworthiness directives and other scheduled maintenance.


CABIN

Documents

Aircraft Documents CHECK. A-R-R-O-W

Airworthiness Certificate
Registeration
Radio Station License - no longer required for flights in the U.S. unless you have some exotic equipment.
Operating Limitations
Weight and Balance information

Since the Airworthiness Certificate is required to be "displayed", it goes on top when replacing the documents in the clear window. The Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) is a required part of the airplane in airplanes built on or after March 1, 1979. This includes all "P" Models and many "N" Models.



Gust Lock

Control Wheel Lock REMOVE.



Master Switch

Ignition Switch OFF.

Avionics Master Switch OFF.
If your airplane is not equiped with an avionics master switch, turn off each radio individually.

Master Switch ON.



Fuel Gauges

Fuel Quantity Indicators CHECK QUANTITY. Note: Fuel guages must not be used as the sole indicator of fuel quantity.



Flap Control

Flaps DOWN.
Note: "N" Models have 40 degrees of flaps, "P" Models have 30 degrees.



Master Switch

Master Switch OFF.



Baggage Door

Baggage Door CHECK.




EMPENNAGE

Rudder

Rudder Gust Lock REMOVE. (if installed)



Top Tail

Position Light CHECK condition.

Anti-collision Beacon Light CHECK condition.

VOR Antenna CHECK condition.



Tail Tiedown

Tail Tie-Down DISCONNECT.

Check the rudder control cable ends and stop bolts for intact safety wire and general condition.



Tail View

While you are here, look at the belly of the airplane from the tail. Any skin wrinkles and leaks need to be investigated.



Tail

Control Surfaces CHECK freedom of movement and security.




RIGHT WING Trailing Edge

Flap

Flap CHECK.

Check the condition of the flap and it's tracks.



Flap Control Rod

Check that the Flap Control Rod is not binding and the locknut is present and tight



Aileron

Aileron CHECK freedom of movement and security.

Check that the Control Rod is not binding and the locknut is present and tight

Check the Aileron Hinge Pins for security. These are commonly secured with a very small cotter key on one end, or by placing the extended end under the nut on one of the hinge attachment bolts.

WARNING: Do not put your fingers between the aileron and the wing unless you are securely holding the aileron with the other hand!


Aileron Counterweight

Aileron Counterweights CHECK security.




RIGHT WING

Right Tip

Wing Tip CHECK condition. Check the lenses of the position light and strobe. (if installed)



Right Tie Down

Wing Tie-Down DISCONNECT.



Right Tire

Main Wheel Tire CHECK for proper inflation.



Brake

Fuel Sample

Before first flight of the day and after each refueling, use sampler cup and drain small quantity of fuel from fuel tank sump drain.



Fuel Cap

Fuel Quantity CHECK VISUALLY for desired level.

Fuel Filler Cap SECURE.




NOSE

Oil Dipstick

Engine Oil Level CHECK.



Fuel Strainer

Fuel Strainer DRAIN about 4 seconds before first flight of the day and after refueling.



Propeller

Propeller and Spinner CHECK for nicks and security.



Alternator Belt

Alternator Belt CHECK tension and condition.

Engine Compartment - CHECK for bird nests and other foreign matter. Check for leaks.



Landing Light

Landing Light(s) CHECK for condition and cleanliness. Note: Some models have the landing/taxi light on the leading edge of the left wing

Carburetor Air Filter Check for restrictions by dust or other foreign matter.

Nose Tie-Down DISCONNECT.



Nose Gear

Nose Wheel Tire CHECK for proper inflation.

Nose Wheel Strut CHECK extended approx. 2 inches.

Shimmy Damper CHECK for leaks. (Note: some dampers do not contain fluid)



Static Port

Static Source Opening (left side of fuselage) Check for stoppage.




LEFT WING

Main Wheel Tire CHECK for proper inflation. (same as right side)

Before first flight of the day and after each refueling, use sampler cup and drain small quantity of fuel from fuel tank sump drain. (same as right side)

Fuel Cap

Fuel Quantity CHECK VISUALLY for desired level.

Fuel Filler Cap SECURE.




LEFT WING Leading Edge

Pitot

Pitot Tube Cover REMOVE and check opening for stoppage.



Fuel Vent

Fuel Tank Vent Opening CHECK for stoppage.



Stall Warning

Stall Warning Opening CHECK



Wing Tie-Down DISCONNECT. (same as right side)



Left Tip

Wing Tip CHECK condition. Check the lenses of the position light and strobe. (if installed)



LEFT WING Trailing Edge

Aileron CHECK freedom of movement and security (same procedure as the right aileron)

Flap CHECK (same procedure as the right flap)


Books about the Cessna 172

Cessna 172 (A Pilot's Guide Series)
T-41 Mescalero: The Military Cessna 172.

Books about Cessna

The Complete Guide to Cessna Aircraft (2nd Edition)
Cessna Warbirds: A Detailed and Personal History of Cessna's Involvement in the Armed Forces
Cessna Warbirds: A Detailed and Personal History of Cessna's Involvement in the Armed Forces
Cessna Aircraft (Images of Aviation)
The Complete Guide to Single-Engine Cessnas
The Legend of Cessna
Standard Catalog of Cessna Single Engine Aircraft
Illustrated Cessna Buyer's Guide (Motorbooks International Illustrated Buyer's Guide)

 





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