Pre-Flight - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-06-2006, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Pre-Flight

I once wrote a something similar to this for another forum... many, many moons ago.

I like to relate our sport to aviation, not just because I have aviation experience, but because there are so many similarities between the two.

Take for instance an avid sport rider who also does track days or amatuer racing, versus say... an F-14/18 pilot. Both wear helmets, both wear suits - one a G-Suit, the other a Leather Suit. Both wear boots, and gloves and other safety features. For example, a parachute is to a pilot what the back-pad or spine-protector is to a rider. Both tend to travel at relatively fast speeds, and both tend to have dire consequences in the event of an error or mishap.

Now, when the rider is at a track day or racing event, he or she will check the bike over before getting on the track and will also have to pass a safety check. So to the Pilot, except the Pilot does it every single time that plane is to go up. 30,000 feet at 450 MPH is no time to say uh oh, I think I forgot to ........... How often do we as riders jump on our bikes, start it up and go riding? Why can't we adopt this same habit of Pilots? Is the safety of our bike more important at the track than at the canyon? Of course not.

For pre-flight, pilots have a checklist - either from the plane's manufacturer or the organization they fly for. Pilots ALWAYS have to check things like fuel, rudder, engine, tires, generators, guages, mags, etc. And each time they do this, they use the same check list. Why? So as to ensure that nothing is left to chance or memory. In flight school, we even did a pre-flight visualization of the mission or flight plan. We'd sit in the briefing room and actually do the flight in our heads first. We do not need to be that extreme, but... we can adopt some of the tools.

So, here is the first suggestion:

Create either a written check list or a mental one for your bike and gear. If it is written, it can be a small laminated card you keep in the trunk of the bike.

Possibly create a couple for different situations. One could be for Track, one for cold or wet weather, etc.

Go through this list for every ride. Never deviate from it. Pull it out and go through it - Tires, tires pressure, fuel, possible loose screws, brakes, leathers, helmet, etc. Read it out to yourself and check things off. This way, you know that each time you ride, you have checked everything - consistently.

Not only will it make you safer, it could help you catch preventitive maintenance issues before they get bad or worse.

We may not be able to prevent disasters, but we can possibly increase our chances of survival. Remember, your equipment is just as important as your gear and vice versa.

More tips to come.

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post #2 of 11 Old 07-06-2006, 10:52 PM
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Keep it clean, and look real close while you're washing and polishing grab the bodywork, mufflers, lights, etc. Tug, bend, shake and watch for loose or "funny" parts.

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post #3 of 11 Old 07-07-2006, 08:22 AM
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Great thread!

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post #4 of 11 Old 07-07-2006, 02:50 PM
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Something else they do (at least my pilots have to do this, and if they don't I remind them to while I'm following behind them), is actually FEEL things...that might not sound like anything, but it really is important to actually touch things, and feel them...your chain (or belt), your shocks, your forks, etc. But grab hold of things and feel them.

I make the same comparison all the time. It's just not like a car (as I stated earlier), and in the sky they can't even pull over. One time one of my instructor pilots was doing a qualifying flight w/one of our newer pilots, when at a pretty high altitude (for helicopters), the entire electrical system shut off. The apache is almost more electrical than mechanical in some ways, so if this happens, the aircraft is done for. Fortunately, they all came right back on, after a few seconds.

m.

post #5 of 11 Old 07-07-2006, 04:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmatt2strokex
Something else they do (at least my pilots have to do this, and if they don't I remind them to while I'm following behind them), is actually FEEL things...that might not sound like anything, but it really is important to actually touch things, and feel them...your chain (or belt), your shocks, your forks, etc. But grab hold of things and feel them.

I make the same comparison all the time. It's just not like a car (as I stated earlier), and in the sky they can't even pull over. One time one of my instructor pilots was doing a qualifying flight w/one of our newer pilots, when at a pretty high altitude (for helicopters), the entire electrical system shut off. The apache is almost more electrical than mechanical in some ways, so if this happens, the aircraft is done for. Fortunately, they all came right back on, after a few seconds.

m.
Ahhhh.... the Apache. Other than the Lynx, I believe it is the only Rotor Craft that can go inverted?

You are absolutely right, in flight school. To check during pre-flight is not just to look. You MOVE the aerilons, you MOVE the rudder... you want to check for ease of movement or if it is too loose. On Prop. planes, especially with gravity feed fuel systems, you have to check the fuel for smell and do a visual as well. You open and check oil levels, etc. Admittedly, when flying in a Squad or even commercially, a ground crew does a lot for you, but you still have to do a walk around and sign off that you agree the aircraft is safet to fly.

Now, if you apply that once again to riding, you can sit on your bike, move the handle bars, hold the brakes and press down, touch and lift your chain to check for slack, if you ride a V-Twin, check the screws - they come loose, etc.

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post #6 of 11 Old 07-08-2006, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIM-RC51
Ahhhh.... the Apache. Other than the Lynx, I believe it is the only Rotor Craft that can go inverted?

You are absolutely right, in flight school. To check during pre-flight is not just to look. You MOVE the aerilons, you MOVE the rudder... you want to check for ease of movement or if it is too loose. On Prop. planes, especially with gravity feed fuel systems, you have to check the fuel for smell and do a visual as well. You open and check oil levels, etc. Admittedly, when flying in a Squad or even commercially, a ground crew does a lot for you, but you still have to do a walk around and sign off that you agree the aircraft is safet to fly.

Now, if you apply that once again to riding, you can sit on your bike, move the handle bars, hold the brakes and press down, touch and lift your chain to check for slack, if you ride a V-Twin, check the screws - they come loose, etc.

Yep...lol, they definately can go inverted...although oftentimes at the expense of the strap-packs. Not much fun to change out, so we try not to encourage it. Another comapnies pilots decided to pull a loopty-loop for their last mission in iraq (it was the PIC's-Pilot In Command-last flight in the army)...broke all 4 strap packs. Their crewchiefs were LESS than thrilled w/them. But they are more than capable of doing it. And it doesn't ALWAYS end in such disaster...just that time.

But definately. I give anything I can put my hands around a tug and pull. Check for any out of tolerance play, check nuts for tightness (especially after my recent exhaust pipe debacle), etc.

m.

post #7 of 11 Old 07-08-2006, 10:54 PM
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truckers have to do pre and post trips also,after a while it becomes habit(a good habit) for a bike or a cage it only takes a few secs to look things over and that few secs could save you a load of trouble later

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post #8 of 11 Old 07-09-2006, 04:48 AM
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I always check lights before every ride too, including front and rear brake levers bring on brake lights. I recently found my front lever brake light on the 9er not coming on. A wire to the switch had gotten knocked off the terminal, probably when debugging from the ride before.

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post #9 of 11 Old 09-20-2006, 11:29 PM
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I've been dealing setup/instability these last few months since my switch to D209 GPs. My last race weekend I made ride height changes to the front and had to remount my Ohlins damper.

One session I am out there and the bike headshakes a lot more than usual ie most of the way down the front straight (Clue 1). I roll through the hot pits, add another click in the damper and go on my way. It seems to have no effect (Clue 2). More damper. No effect (Clue 3). I stop this time and see my damper is not even connected! I am lucky I didn't crash...

In aviation safety we talk about breaking the chain of events that lead to mishaps/incidents. I knew the bike shouldn't headshake like that, but did I stop after the first clue? No! This is the kinda crap that gets us in trouble out there.

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post #10 of 11 Old 09-21-2006, 05:01 AM
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Great thread! This is something my Dad and I have talked about a lot. He's been a pilot for many years with a rating in instruments, water, and dual. When he taught me the basics of riding, it always started with a checklist.

MSF uses the T-CLOCK checklist:
Tires/Wheels - condition, air pressure, spokes, cast, rims, bearings, seals
Controls - levers, cables, hoses, throttle
Lights - battery, lenses, reflectors, wiring, headlamp
Oil - levels and leaks
Chassis - frame, suspension, chain/belt, fasteners
Kickstand - centerstand, sidestand

I spent many tens of thousands of miles flying with him and riding is much like flying an airplane on instruments; constantly scanning the road ahead, rear view mirrors, speedometer, side traffic, and GPS. I remember reading an article somewhere that motorcycle riders do nearly as much multitasking as fighter pilots. And anyone that commutes will nod in agreement

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post #11 of 11 Old 09-21-2006, 08:03 AM
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I just usually make certain no coolant has leaked out of the H-D. I've been go to date.

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