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Czech Gripen 100years

The Importance of Pre-flight Preparations

3 min read

Preparing an aircraft for flight involves some of the most arduous tasks and activities as told in a report by afbcaslav. The report talks about aeronautical technicians of the 212nd tactical squadron in Čáslav air base who make sure that every aircraft's pre-flight preparation, including the Czech Gripen's, is carried out meticulously to ensure the safety of the pilots, the crew, and the aircraft.

"The head of preparation is always an airplane technician who knows all about the flight shift," says the report. Among other things, he/she must have all the necessary information such as the take-off time, aircraft configuration, fuel requirements, equipment and armaments needed, and more.

During basic flight days, the technicians begin the physical preparation at the aircraft stand once the necessary ground equipment such as input and output system covers, wedges under the wheels, protective elements, grounding cable, hand fire extinguisher, etc. are moved there. After the protective elements and covers are removed, the head technicians check the engine, engine compartment, landing gear, hydraulic system, oil system, fuel system, air conditioning system and even the aircraft cover, rods and screwed joints. The condition of the operating fluids and the required pressures in different parts of the aircraft is also checked.

However, when there is use of ammunition, the pre-flight preparation goes on for a longer time and the technicians have added responsibilities. For example, the weapons and ammunition need to be transported, prepared, charged or configured, and installed on the aircraft. Charging and handling of live ammunition are carried out carefully with all the movement of both people and ground vehicles in front of the aircraft prohibited. "If the armourers carry out this preparation, for safety reasons, no one else is allowed to work on the aircraft. There is a difference between flying live ammunition and without it during training flights", says the senior ensign of the 212nd Tactical Flight, aviation technician Petr Mešťák.

The technicians also make sure that all activities and preparations are recorded and entered on the aircraft's preparation log. This is to ensure that the aircraft is deemed flight-ready. After the flight, the technicians wait for the pilot's report on the condition and the configuration of the aircraft.

Just like the pilots and the rest of the team, aviation or aeronautical technicians also come from military background and go through months of training to be able to understand the planes inside out, and perform the tasks at hand.

"Being an air engineer in the Air Force is a prestigious and beautiful, but at the same time, difficult and a very responsible profession," says the report.
Read the full story here.