Keep the Keys on the Panel

Have you ever been frantically looking for the airplane keys after you have completed the preflight and are ready to start up? Or have you ever tried to get your keys out of the pocket after you have strapped on your seatbelt? There is an easy solution to the problem of where to put the keys, and there is more than one reason to put them there.

Any time you are around the airplane on the ground the top of the instrument panel is a great place to keep the keys (unless of course the space above the panel has a hole or holes large enough for the keys to fall into). Consistently putting the keys on top of the panel after you unlock the door before a flight or after you pull the keys out of the ignition after a flight ensures that you always know where the keys are.

Keeping the keys on the panel also allows you and anyone around your airplane to see that the keys are not in the ignition and that the magnetos are not live, which means the engine will not come to life if you move the propeller.

But in order to make sure that you and the line guys are in fact safe when the keys are out, you should periodically make sure the magnetos are grounded.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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