Preflight Question


New Member
Dan did a preflight on a rented 150 and found two loose screws that couldn't be tightened - one on the cowling and one where the verticle stablizer connects to the fuselage. His instructor said as long as the other screws were tight, it was OK. What do you guys think?



Well-Known Member
HA HA...that's a great question. I laugh cause I have a couple of cowling screws missing on my plane and that's the first thing that a new student will catch on a pre-flight. Then they will proceed to leave a gas cap off...

150's have a type of cowling screw where you have to push it in and turn it to get that screw to lock. (I think fastener is a better word for them). What happens is the gismo inside, by the engine, gets out of alignment a bit and then they won't lock in place. I never got concerned if one or two don't lock and would have them fixed at the next inspection with a mechanic.

The vertical stabilizer ones are probably screws that hold a plastic or metal fairing on. There will be enough screws to hold it on, still, if one or two are missing.

A few missing screws is no big deal. I just tell the student, "good catch", and tell them not to worry about it.

Who is Dan? and what is he flying?

I think it's cool to have a mom around here. Maybe it will encourage people to be a little nicer and respectful.


Well-Known Member
Two wouldn't concern me....I agree, they're more like fasteners and sometimes they are a real pain. 4 or 5 would catch my attention.


New Member
Thanks - I feel better now.

Dan is my (almost) 17 year old son. He's been flying for about two years and he is about ready to get his PPL. He just has to take his written, and brush up for his checkride. And have his birthday.

DansMom (with Dan looking over my shoulder).


New Member
Good for you DansMom!
It's great to see you take an active interest in Dan's aviation. My mom and dad never lived long enough to see me take up my love of aviation, which is why I carry a picture of them both in my flying wallet. I take them with me everywhere I go.

Yes, a few fasteners here and there is no big deal. It depends on where they are and what others are there around them. Usually rentals will be missing a few items like that, w/o being a safety concern. If you can get them to fix it all the better, but don't hold your breath on them when it comes to rentals.

Hey Dan, when it comes, Happy Birthday and Blue Skies to you bro'!


If specified, this will replace the title that
They're called Camlock Fasteners ... about all they're good for is getting lost!

They look like screws but they're really just a shaft with a cross piece at the end. They're spring loaded and actually aren't suppose to fall out.

They work by pusing them in and turning them until the cross piece locks into a groove. The problem is with time the groove wears down allowing the cross piece to easily slip out (when vibration is introduced at engine start, turbulence, etc.) and then the spring will force the head out and the whole thing hangs loose. With enough vibration and time the thing wears and falls out.

An easy way to make sure they're "locked" is once they are all fastened take the palm of your hand or side of your hande (opposite the thumb) and firmly "bang" or "pound" on the cowling or pannel along the line of fasteners and see if any come loose/pop out.

The only way to trully save a loose camlock is grind a new groove or replace it.

Walk up to any airplane that uses these things and you're bound to find one or two missing.