Generally, when beginning flight training a student will train in either a Cessna or Piper aircraft. With Cessna 172 aircraft appearing to be the most widely used, Piper aircraft come in a close second. The Piper Warrior in particular is a low-wing trainer aircraft that allows for a smooth transition into flying without overwhelming the student with complex systems.
To start things off the Piper Warrior aircraft type is identifiable as PA28-161. The 161 in the identifier refers to the horsepower of the plane. Remember anything above 200 horsepower is considered a high-performance aircraft, which requires additional training, but the Warrior is well below this limit. The general make up of the outside of the aircraft includes a standard straight wing design, fixed pitch propeller and a stabilator on the rear end of the aircraft. The stabilator moves up and down in synch with the yoke inside the cockpit to affect the pitch of the aircraft. Something that often goes unnoticed on the stabilator is the trim tab. It’s located on the edge of the stabilator and is what moves when the trim is adjusted on the aircraft. Knowing where all of this is located is essential for a thorough pre-flight inspection of the aircraft, which should never be forgotten about whenever one plans to fly.
The pre-flight of the Piper Warrior is fairly basic but is necessary to ensure all components are working correctly in the aircraft. A proper pre-flight inspection of this aircraft begins when you step out on the flight line. Observing the aircraft as you walk up to it is a good time to note the general overall condition of the plane. Look for any discrepancies that may set off a red flag. Something that is normally easy to spot is if the plane is sitting to nose high or nose low.
After walking up to the aircraft head into the cockpit and run through the AROW checklist. AROW consists of the following; Aircraft Documents, Registration, Owners Manual, Weight and balance. Once this is complete you are can start inspecting the actual aircraft. Turn the master switch on and view your fuel quantity gauges followed by turning on the strobe lights and landing light. Walk around the aircraft quickly to ensure the lights are operating properly. On a side note I also like to check the stall warning horn to make sure that’s working properly too. After checking these items do a quick test of the annunciator panel to make sure all lights are properly lighting up.
You can now shut off the master switch and begin checking the flight controls. Make sure trim is neutral and the alternate static source (usually located under the instrument panel) is normal. Once outside the aircraft you want to inspect each flight control and check for any interference or worn down bolts and wires. The flaps should be fully extended while doing this. Double check the fuel tanks and drain the fuel for any water. Lastly and most importantly, check the pitot-static mast for any clogged holes! A clogged pitot tube will result in your airspeed indicator reading zero which is not a problem you want to first encounter halfway down the runway. If you’re ready to start your flight training then head on over to our flight schools page and locate your local flight school. Give them a call and schedule your introductory flight today! By Joe R