Recent comment and responses observed on several large scale email lists led us to collect this information. NASA would certainly appreciate your help if you have additional information to contribute to this Pre-flight safety check list.

With the wing removed, check the following items

  • Are batteries fully charged? Check with E.S.V.
  • Is engine broken in?
  • Aircraft must have pilot’s identification, AMA number, telephone # and address in it.
  • Check for any visible cracks or tears.


Engine and Fuel Tank Area

  • Blunt faced prop hub (acorn nut) or rounded spinner required.
  • Sand off sharp edges of prop and balance it prior to installation.
  • Paint prop tips either white or yellow for visibility.
  • Is there any prop damage i.e. cracks, nicks?
  • Is propeller properly attached? Facing correct direction and installed about the 2-3 o’clock position upon the compression stroke.
  • Does engine have proper (needs definition) muffler?
  • Is engine mounted securely to engine mount?
  • Is throttle arm and push-rod connection secure?
  • Is glow plug correct length, type, and installed tightly against it’s compression ring?
  • Is engine mount securely mounted to fuselage?
  • Are all engine components secure? Lock washers – Locktite – etc. Notice if there is any oily black residue on or near the engine mounting screws/bolts, or muffler mount as this is a sure sign that something is loose, or metal-to-metal rubbing against each other.
  • Is there any apparent damage to fuel lines?
  • Is fuel tank isolated from vibration?
  • Fuel lines should not be too long to be caught in prop. Also the fuel draw line should be as short as possible with a slight amount of slack, to maximize fuel draw. Is there a fuel filter installed?
  • Check to see that the fuel tank clunk falls freely.
  • Is fuel tank mounted correctly in relation to engine needle valve? Center of fuel tank centered or within 1/2″ of needle valve gives optimum performance?
  • Is there an engine kill switch?
  • Is cowl secure?


Receiver and Servos

  • Is receiver securely mounted and isolated from vibration? Should also be placed into a plastic bag to keep fluids out of receiver (fuel).
  • Are all servo tray screws snug against the grommets, not crushed?
  • Are all servo arms and wheels secured with a screw to the servo drive shaft?
  • Are push rods securely firmly secured to servo arms. If ball links are used are they peened on or was a drop of CA placed onto the threads to secure nut.
  • Are servo arms adequate in thickness and material? Giant scale needs strong ones!
  • Are the servo rails secured to the fuselage? Are they made from spruce, or plywood?
  • Is the power switch in the aircraft mounted so it can not be accidentally turned off? It is suggested that if you use a rod connected to an internally mounted switch, you mount the switch where “in” is “on”.
  • Are all connections secure? Did you use “twist ties’ to lock servo plugs together?
  • Is antenna in good condition w/o cuts, breaks and frayed wire exposed? Never, ever tie a knot in the end of the antenna to affix to the fuselage or vertical fin.
  • Was a grommet or fuel tubing used to line the exit hole in fuselage for antenna wire? Never fold excess length of antenna wire back on itself. If long and trails behind the airplane, you should run antenna through a control horn hole to secure it from loosely flying about behind plane.
  • Are the holes in the horns aligned with the hinge line?
  • Differential throw?
  • Is wing free of warps?
  • Does it have the proper amount of wash-out?
  • Does the wing balance laterally?



  • Is there any apparent structural damage?
  • Are hinges adequate and pinned?
  • Is covering secure?
  • With a firm but gentle pull, will the elevator detach itself?
  • Are control horns secure and in good condition?
  • Do the holes in the control horn align with the aileron hinge line? Otherwise, you will have differential throw.
  • Is there a gap between the elevator and the horizontal stab?



  • Is there any apparent structural damage?
  • Are hinges adequate and pinned?
  • Is covering secure?
  • With a firm but gentle pull, will rudder detach itself?
  • Are control horns in the horn aligned with the hinge line?
  • Differential throw?
  • If tail dragger, is steering tail wheel isolated from rudder?


Landing Gear

  • Is landing gear firmly attached to air-frame or wing?
  • Are wheel collars secure? Flats filed into music wire prevents slippage. Mount so set screws are at the 6 o’clock position.  Main gear should have a slight amount of toe in. This is especially true for conventional (tail dragger) gear.
  • Are the wheels aligned with the wing?
  • Is the landing gear in their proper location fore and aft?
  • On tricycle gear, does plane rest level or preferably with a slight nose down or rake?
  • Is stance too narrow? ( Distance between gear legs)


Pushrods or Cables

  • Are all clevises in good shape?
  • Can they be pulled free from the threaded end?
  • Does each clevis have a keeper?
  • Are push-rods and clevises of adequate size and strength to prevent flex?
  • Are push-rods supported?
  • Are cables multi-strand and without slack?
  • Are there any “z” bends in push-rod wire where it exits air-frame? This condition induces flexing of control surfaces. There should be a straight shot from control  horn to servo, unless cabling is utilized.
  • Do cables have a guide around pulley?
  • Are cable ends properly swagged?
  • Do turnbuckles have safety wire?


Start Engine and perform the following checks:

  • While engine is running at full throttle, hold the nose of the plane so that it points straight up for at least 5 seconds…or longer. Then hold the nose down for the same period of time. the engine should keep running in all positions.
    Caution: always point exhaust away from everyone and everything. If engine stops, try richening the fuel mixture, it may be too lean. if that doesn’t solve problem, do an inspection of the fuel line and fittings for a leak.
  • Does engine quit running at low throttle trim? This is a safety requirement!!!!
  • Does engine have a reliable idle? Does engine hesitate when quickly throttled up? This usually means the setting is incorrect. When pinched off at idle, the engine should speed up after two to four seconds, then stop. If it quits immediately as you pinch off the fuel line, the setting is too lean. If it continues to run on and on, it is too rich.
  • Perform a vibration range check with the engine running at all speeds. If range decreases significantly, some part of your mechanical systems may be mounted too rigidly. The receiver may be mounted too firmly in the fuselage. Loose engine mounts, and mounting screws will contribute to radio failure by the vibration they create. Vibration must be kept to an absolute minimum!
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