During the after-landing roll, while maintaining airplane track over runway centerline with ailerons and heading down runway with rudder pedals, the airplane should be gradually slowed to normal taxi speed with normal brake pressure before turning off of the landing runway. Any significant degree of turn at faster speeds could result in subsequent damage to the landing gear, tires, brakes, or the airplane structure.
To give full attention to controlling the airplane during the landing roll, the after-landing checklist should be performed only after the airplane is brought to a complete stop beyond the runway holding position markings. There have been many cases where a pilot has mistakenly manipulated the wrong handle and retracted the landing gear, instead of the flaps, due to improper division of attention while the airplane was moving. However, this procedure may be modified if the manufacturer recommends that specific after-landing items be accomplished during landing rollout. For example, when performing a short-field landing, the manufacturer may recommend retracting the flaps on rollout to improve braking. In this situation, the pilot should make a positive identification of the flap control handle before retracting the flaps.
Clear of Runway and Stopped
Because of different configurations and equipment in various airplanes, the after-landing checklist within the AFM/POH must be used. Some of the items may include:
- Power—set to the AFM/POH values such as throttle 1,000 rpm, propeller full forward, mixture leaned.
- Fuel—may require switching tanks and fuel pumps switched off.
- Flaps—set to the retracted position.
- Cowl flaps—may be opened or closed depending on temperature conditions.
- Trim—reset to neutral or takeoff position.
- Lights—may be switched off if not needed, such as strobe lights.
- Avionics—may be switched off or to standby, such as the transponder and frequencies changed to contact ground control or Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF), as required.
- Install chocks and release parking brake in accordance with AFM/POH.
Unless parking in a designated, supervised area, the pilot should select a location and heading that prevents propeller or jet blast of other airplanes from striking the airplane unnecessarily. Whenever possible, the airplane should be parked headed into the existing or forecast wind. Often airports have airplane tie downs located on ramp areas which may or may not be aligned with the wind or provide a significant choice in parking location. After stopping in the desired direction, the airplane should be allowed to roll straight ahead enough to straighten the nosewheel or tailwheel.
The pilot should always use the procedures in the airplane’s AFM/POH shutdown checklist for shutting down the engine and securing the airplane. Important items may include:
- Parking Brake—set to ON.
- Throttle—set to IDLE or 1,000 rpm. If turbocharged, observe the manufacturer’s spool down procedure.
- Magneto Switch Test—turn momentarily OFF then quickly ON again at idle rpm to check for proper operation of switch in the OFF position.
- Propeller—set to FULL INCREASE, if equipped.
- Avionics—turn OFF.
- Alternator—turn OFF.
- Mixture—set to IDLE CUTOFF.
- Magneto Switch—turn ignition switch to OFF when engine stops.
- Master Switch—turn to OFF.
- Secure—install control locks and anti-theft security locks.
A flight is not complete until the engine is shut down and the airplane is secured. A pilot should consider this an essential part of any flight.
Securing and Servicing
After engine shutdown and deplaning passengers, the pilot should accomplish a post-flight inspection. This includes a walk around to inspect the general condition of the aircraft. Inspect near and around the cowling for signs of oil or fuel streaks and around the oil breather for excessive oil discharge. Inspect under wings and other fuel tank locations for fuel stains. Inspect landing gear and tires for damage and brakes for any leaking hydraulic fluid. Inspect cowling inlets for obstructions.
Oil levels should be checked and quantities brought to AFM/POH levels. Fuel should be added based on the immediate use of the airplane. If the airplane is going to be inactive, it is a good operating practice to fill the fuel tanks to prevent water condensation from forming inside the tank. If another flight is planned, the fuel tanks should be filled based on the flight planning requirements for that flight.
The aircraft should be hangared or tied down, flight controls secured, and security locks in place. The type of tie downs may vary significantly from chains to well-worn ropes. Chains are not flexible and as such should not be made taught as to allow the airplane some movement and prevent airframe structural damage. Tie down ropes are flexible and may be reasonably cinched to the airplane’s tie down rings. Consider utilizing pitot tube covers, cowling inlet covers, rudder gust locks, window sunscreens, and propeller security locks to further enhance the safety and security of the airplane.
Hangaring is not without hazards to the airplane. The pilot should ensure that enough space is allocated to the airplane so it is free from any impact to the hangar, another aircraft, or vehicle. The airplane should be inspected after hangaring to ensure that no damage was imparted on the airplane.