by Jonathan M. Stern
There are a number of important steps that take place before the pilot even climbs into the airplane. The weather must be checked. If the flight is other than a local flight at or near the airport, the trip must be planned. Performance must be calculated. The pilot must ensure that enough fuel is loaded in the airplane's fuel tanks and that the runways at the airport of intended landing are long enough to accommodate the airplane in its loaded condition. Most of these topics are covered in greater detail in a later chapter.
Before any flight, however, the pilot must determine that the airplane is in an air worthy condition—safe for its intended flight. This is accomplished by reviewing certain paperwork—to ensure that all required inspections have been performed by the aircraft mechanics and inspectors and that required certificates and documents are in the airplane—and by visually inspecting the airplane. Each airplane has a checklist that guides the visual inspection to ensure that no important point is missed.