The preflight is one of the most important phases of flying. Missing a critical preflight item can have devastating consequences. You only need to lose a few bolts before some crucial components start departing the airplane. So unless you would like to see what it’s like to fly without your aileron, rudder or elevator, it’s worth giving a little extra attention to detail during the preflight. A flashlight is a very helpful tool to help make sure that each nut, bolt, bracket, safety wire and tube are located where they are supposed to be and that they’re properly secured.
The flashlight makes it much easier to visually inspect the small attachment points that can be hard to see with the naked eye. Point your flashlight at the attachment brackets for the rudders, ailerons and flaps. The flashlight also comes in handy while you’re peeking into the engine compartment where the daylight is obscured by the cowl and the engine components. And if you’re flying an airplane with retractable landing gear, the flash light will help you inspect the squat switches, brake lines and all the attachment points for the gear.
A small, pocket-sized flashlight is all you need. You may already have one in your flight bag for night operations, but if you don’t it won’t take up much space and it’ll make your preflight more thorough.