What Flight Controls do Real Life Pilots Check?

Pro Member Chief Captain
Manuel Agustin Clausse (Agus0404) Chief Captain

Hello pilots! I know that real world pilots before take off they check on the flight controls. What are those flight controls? I've seen that also in my checklists, but I don't know exactly what to check.
I check the engines and the MCDU, and that's all. But, is there anything specific that I have to check before take off?

Thank you

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Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

Rudders, elevators basically checking the movement of control surfaces. Reverse thrusters are checked and basically a lot of gauges. Flaps and spoilers are checked and enginges are put at 60% N1 for take off to check they stabalise, then take off N1. Other than that, I don't really know 🤔

Pro Member Captain
Sam (SamIntel) Captain

They also do a walk around check, just to make sure all the nuts and bolts are there. 😂 If you have active camera you can do the walk around check.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Manuel Agustin Clausse (Agus0404) Chief Captain

Well, if you check all that stuff it's going to take too long! And I've seen real world videos in that the pilots just take 5 seconds to check the flight controls.

Anyway, when I check my flight controls, normally I check the flaps, trim, engines, and MCDU.

I check the rudder, and elevators just before taxi.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Matthew Shope (mypilot) Chief Captain

Before the pilot(s) climb into the cockpit they do what SamIntel said. They also have to remove a control lock on the yoke and sometimes some foam on the outside control surfaces. As far as "checking the controls" is just basically moving the controls inside the cockpit around to make sure that they funtion correctly. My dad says that the safest pilot is the new pilot. Because the new pilot is always looking for traffic and going over the checklist a second time. The others get cocky because they've flown so much they have too much confidence in themselves.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Manuel Agustin Clausse (Agus0404) Chief Captain

That's true about the safest pilot. I agree with you...or your dad 😉 .
What I mean is when the pilots are in the runway and ready for take off. The pilot says "Flight Controls" and the co-pilot says "Check!" after 5 seconds or so. The co-pilots looks for something and checks it. That's what I want to know.
I know that pilots make outside checks...


Flight control check...for you Agus on the Airbus it is Sidestick full left, centre, full right, centre, fully back, centre, fully forward centre. Then full left rudder centre, full right rudder, centre. This is done by both crew one performs the action while other monitors the ECAM flight control page to ensure full deflection is shown

Pro Member First Officer
jelami First Officer

I always check to see if the control surfaces are operational. you see i have downloaded a few planes where the author did not think that working elevators were important Fear It gets a little scary when the end of the runway is closing fast.

Pro Member Captain
David (The-GPS-Kid) Captain

Yip - what you're talking abo9ut Agus is the simple check of the stick and rudder pedals.

On the A340 (that I know you like), the pilots select the FLT CTRLS page on the ECAM screen to see the deflections.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Manuel Agustin Clausse (Agus0404) Chief Captain

Oh, ok. Thanks guys!
I usually do that before taxi to the runway. And I've been videos that pilots do the same as me. But that's ok...I'll check the controls again. 😉

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