What are those “Remove Before Flight” tags?

by Captain Joe

Today we´ll be talking about the REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT tags and warnings you see on parked aircraft.

Have ever wonder why parked aircraft have these red tags with huge letters saying „REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT“?

At the end of the red flag is mostly either a cover or a locking pin because a lot of parts on an aircraft are vulnerable and need to be properly covered or secured before a long parking time.

For example the pitot tube which measure the airspeed has a tiny little entry hole at the front, which gives flies or other small little insects a perfect habitat.

Or if your plane is parked at an airstrip in the desert, sand could accumulate over time in the pitot tube and could lead to a false reading or no reading at all.

Similar situation during the winter, melting snow could enter the tube and freeze up again blocking your pitot tube.

Same comes with locking pins. Locking pins or bolts are very often used to prevent rudders, ailerons and stabilizers from flapping about in the wind and damaging the hinges and joints over time. Therefor most little sports planes have a little hole in the yoke to fit a bolt in place at a neutral position of the rudders to block the moving when exposed to windy conditions.

Big airliners, which sometimes are being parked outside for an entire winter or summer, the complete engines are being cover up to prevent the turbines from windmilling and getting damaged due to friction without lubrication of the inner parts of the turbine.

Even the doors and all other vents and holes are being completely sealed up to reduce stand damage.

A technician once told me that they had to remove an entire birds nest at the rear of the auxiliary power unit.

Therefor aircraft manufactures have come up with an easy and reliable solution, cover up what is valuable and attach a huge „REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT“ sign on to the cover or locking pin to make it stand out for the pilot whilst performing his outside check!