What to Expect When Flying: Pre-Departure (Part 2)

Yesterday I began to describe the events and noises you can expect to see and hear before take-off. So, let’s continue…..

Other noises you may hear at this point will be mainly hydraulic. The pilots will be working through their initial pre-flight checks and this may involve use of hydraulic systems. When the luggae hold doors are closed you can either hear a metal ‘clunking’ noise or a whining noise – dependant on aircraft type. 

Sometimes you can hear a hydraulic pump – which pumps fluid into a cylinder – which sounds a bit like a dog barking! It’s a completely normal noise to hear.

Once all the passengers are on-board, the captain will give the command to close the doors (you will not hear this). Once all the doors are closed, the captain will normally make a ‘welcome on-board PA’ with details on route, weather, and length of the flight.

Following this, the senior cabin crew member (or equivalent) will introduce the crew. Following this, the cabin crew will demonstrate the safety & emergency preocedures and I ask that you please pay attention to this.

Once this has been completed the crew will complete what’s called a ‘cabin secure check’. This just means they are checking your seatbelts are secured, and your personal items are stored correctly. Different airlines have different rules with this. Please follow any instructions the crew give you. I promise that you will only be asked to do something for your own safety – not for fun. The crew are simply following company procedure.

While all this is happening it’s likely that the aircraft will begin pushing back. To enable this, a ‘tug’ is attached to the front of the plane. When this is being connected you may hear a ‘clunking’ noise as metal hits metal. This is nothing to worry about.

If you look out of the window at this point you may be able to see a member of ground staff walking alongside the aircraft. They will be ensuring that no other vehicles, or people move behind the aircraft. They will also be visually checking the aircraft one more time ensuring that everything is ok.

Once the push back is completed it’s time to start the engines. Engine noise is different according to the aircraft type, but you may hear a slight bang as they are ‘fired-up’. It’s also possible to see some smoke come from the engines. Once again, this is completely normal.

The engines will start to spin faster and faster, and you will be able to hear them getting slightly louder.

During this time, the pilots will be working through more pre-flight checks. When they are ready they will start to move the aircraft forwards and taxi towards the runway.

In the next article, I will cover the noises you may hear during the taxi – and explain what the pilots will be doing.

To see all articles in this series, click here.

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One response to “What to Expect When Flying: Pre-Departure (Part 2)”

  1. Normally after a plane has landed, before its next take off, we can see maintenance work in progress. Crews checking the engines and wings and so on.

    There’s this aircraft engineer who told us that during these maintenance work, they don’t actually check the aircraft condition. They just..merely look through it. Is this true? How are aircraft maintained? And how frequent?

    And I’m a paranoid person. Slight bump can cause panic attack. Yet I love to travel. I need to overcome this fear. I’m always stressed out whenever I fly. Ive read up on turbulence and so on. But the fear is still there. And having a travel companion who’s stubborn doesn’t help. He thinks having your electronic gadgets turned on during a flight (take off AND landing) is ok. And I’ve seen lots of stubborn people like that on board (out of the crew’s sight of course). And I’m frightened, as I always believe there must be a solid reason why we are told to do certain things.

    So is this dangerous? Electronic devices turned on during flights?

    Thanks in advance!

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