Sometimes we hear that there are accidents with private planes, especially with small propeller planes with piston engines.
Understanding if your private plane rental offers enough security.
Dangers coming from the plane
Examine the plane that is offered to you for rent. There are indications that increase the possibility of suffering often fatal accidents. Here are a few :
Signs of dilapidation of the plane:
Traces of black smoke
If an airplane produces black smoke from the engines, it means that the combustion in the flame tube is incomplete. The smoke you see is the result of unburned carbon. Modern jets are extremely efficient in combustion. Thus, you will tend to see thick black smoke coming from first-generation planes, be they jet or turbo propeller. If you see traces of black smoke coming from the exhaust of a piston engine, it’s even worse.
Signs of wear
Check the general wear and tear of the aircraft: tires, seats, paint, floor, ceiling: even if a plane can fly safely for thirty years, it goes without saying that a recent airplane offers more security.
Manufacturers such as Pilatus for propeller aircraft or Dassault, Bombardier and many others for private jets are a guarantee of safety.
Verify that there is a certificate of airworthiness
It should be displayed just beyond the cabin door. In France, the certificate of airworthiness is an administrative document authorizing an airplane to fly. It testifies to the flying ability of the aircraft. It is the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) that delivers it. It has a limited life and renewal is done after control. The certificate of airworthiness must be up to date. In the United States, the Certificate of Airworthiness is issued and updated by the FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration).
Ice on the wings
If you see frost on the wings and the pilots do nothing, it should be very disturbing. A large airport will have de-icing equipment and will use it to spray the wings. If it’s a small airport they’ll have to move the plane into a heated hangar, or someone will have to go out with rags and brushes to clear their wings. A number of accidents have been linked to frost contamination of the wings. The ice can alter the airflow on the wings and affect their ability to lift the plane.
Dangers coming from the pilots
There are dozens of behaviors, actions, and attitudes of pilots that could signal safety deficiencies. A pilot should abstain from any alcoholic beverage at least eight hours before takeoff. Indeed, the fact that in planes there is less oxygen than on land, increases the negative effects of alcohol. The pilot must be in good mental health. There was a recent accident caused by the depressed state of the pilot, which can be caused by a divorce, the loss of a loved one, or whatever. The pilot should be happy to travel. Do your best to make it comfortable, avoid disturbing it.
Rushing can lead to a pilot neglecting important elements. Passengers must therefore know if there is a general feeling of precipitation. You should be worried if the pilot is really hurrying to respect a certain procedure. You may be late. Avoid putting pressure on the pilot, pushing him to do faster or fly demanding the most from the engine and the airplane. It’s about your security. I remember a Rome to Brussels flight. The airliner had suffered a 40-minute delay in take-off in Rome because of a misunderstanding with the tanker that was supposed to refuel it. It was an old DC-9. Well, the pilot flew full throttle to Brussels, boasting on arrival to have recovered the delay. Still, the deafening noise of engines that have worked full throttle was tedious and even alarming.
Many aircraft accidents occur because of bad weather. So, don’t sare to push your pilot to challenge bad weather. It is better to be delayed than to risk one’s life.