Chapter 2—Ground Operations

Table of Contents
Visual Inspection
    Inside the Cockpit
    Outer Wing Surfaces and Tail Section
    Fuel and Oil
    Landing Gear, Tires, and Brakes
    Engine and Propeller
Cockpit Management
Ground Operations
Engine Starting
Hand Propping
Before Takeoff Check
After Landing
Clear of Runway
Engine Shutdown
Securing and Servicing


During the after-landing roll, the airplane should be gradually slowed to normal taxi speed before turning off the landing runway. Any significant degree of turn at faster speeds could result in ground looping and subsequent damage to the airplane.

To give full attention to controlling the airplane during the landing roll, the after-landing check should be performed only after the airplane is brought to a complete stop clear of the active runway. There have been many cases of the pilot mistakenly grasping the wrong handle and retracting the landing gear, instead of the flaps, due to improper division of attention while the airplane was moving. However, this procedure may be modified if the manufacturer recommends that specific after-landing items be accomplished during landing rollout. For example, when performing a short-field landing, the manufacturer may recommend retracting the flaps on rollout to improve braking. In this situation, the pilot should make a positive identification of the flap control and retract the flaps.


Because of different features and equipment in various airplanes, the after-landing checklist provided by the manufacturer should be used. Some of the items may include:

  • Flaps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Identify and retract
  • Cowl flaps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Open
  • Propeller control . . . . . . . . . . . Full increase
  • Trim tabs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Set


Unless parking in a designated, supervised area, the pilot should select a location and heading which will prevent the propeller or jet blast of other airplanes from striking the airplane broadside. Whenever possible, the airplane should be parked headed into the existing or forecast wind. After stopping on the desired heading, the airplane should be allowed to roll straight ahead enough to straighten the nosewheel or tailwheel.

  • Turn ignition switch to OFF when engine stops.


Finally, the pilot should always use the procedures in the manufacturer's checklist for shutting down the engine and securing the airplane. Some of the important items include:

  • Set the parking brakes ON.
  • Set throttle to IDLE or 1,000 r.p.m. If turbocharged, observe the manufacturer's spool down procedure.
  • Turn ignition switch OFF then ON at idle to check for proper operation of switch in the OFF position.
  • Set propeller control (if equipped) to FULL INCREASE.
  • Turn electrical units and radios OFF.
  • Set mixture control to IDLE CUTOFF.
  • Turn ignition switch to OFF when engine stops
  • Turn master electrical switch to OFF.
  • Install control lock.


A flight is never complete until the engine is shut down and the airplane is secured. A pilot should consider this an essential part of any flight.


After engine shutdown and deplaning passengers, the pilot should accomplish a postflight inspection. This includes checking the general condition of the aircraft. For a departure, the oil should be checked and fuel added if required. If the aircraft is going to be inactive, it is a good operating practice to fill the tanks to the top to prevent water condensation from forming. When the flight is completed for the day, the aircraft should be hangared or tied down and the flight controls secured.

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Copyright 2012
PED Publication