4.5. Preflight inspections

The pilot in command must inspect the drone before every flight to ensure that it is in a safe condition to operate. Preflight inspections should be conducted in accordance with the drone manufacturer’s inspection procedure or a more detailed inspection procedure developed by the company.

The preflight inspection should cover the entire system used in the flight. This includes the control station and antennas as well as the battery charge of all system components.

The FAA advisory circular 107-2 contains a 24-point reference inspection procedure which lists items a visual or functional preflight inspection should include.

The pilot in command also needs to verify that the aircraft is correctly loaded. Staying within the envelop defined by the manufacturer is critical to flight safety. An aircraft might be able to take off but become unstable with fuel burn if not loaded correctly (total weight and weight distribution).

Risks

  1. Injuries or damage due to preventable system malfunctions.
  2. Reduced safety margins due to a too heavy or wrongly mounted payloads.

Audit Steps

  1. Review the process in place for preflight inspections and validate that this process has been sufficiently formalized, e.g. by using checklists.
  2. Review type-specific checklists used for preflight inspections.
  3. Observe flight operations and confirm that the pilot in command carries out preflight inspections.

 

drone audit program index