Remove before the flight is an important safety precaution often seen on passenger aircraft and space vehicle parts, usually in the shape of a red ribbon or some other colored warning symbol to indicate that an object, like a locking device or a cap to prevent the move of dangerous mechanical parts, is only utilized when the plane is on the ground. It is important to remove this warning because if it does not adhere to it can present the threat of disaster to an airline or space vehicle. Removing this warning is simple but must be done immediately before the damage or danger to the plane or spacecraft can occur. This warning should also be removed from aircraft that are undergoing maintenance, which means removing it from the checklist prior to the start of the flight. It is also important to note that if any part of the warning is missing from an aircraft it should be replaced immediately.
Removing these ribbons is simple and many pilots like to do it themselves. Most commercial pilots will be trained to use the “pin” method for securing the warning, although many new pilots will prefer to remove the entire warning in order to better explain to potential passengers what it is meant to look for. If the pilots are not trained to do this the “rubber band method” can be used. This method consists of looping the rubber band around the item in question and then yanking it away from the plane as the plane is taking off. This causes enough of a reaction that the item will be pulled free of the aircraft by the air currents, usually causing it to drop to the ground or to be jostled in the air and come to a screeching halt.
Many companies have also begun creating their own remove before flight stickers and banners to place on their corporate aircraft. These decals and custom banners are placed on the windows and are very easy to remove once they have been applied. In addition to the company logos, many other types of personal information can be placed on these signs as well. This information can include photos of the family, the pilot in command, the actual airplane, and of course, the REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT message. If the flight crew has taken special safety precautions to avoid flapping, the crew chief will usually use his finger to push the flag in the direction of the runway. Removing these flight flags gives the pilots and the entire crew a greater sense of pride when they return to the tarmac.
The method that most pilots prefer to remove the ribbons is to make sure they have all of the items necessary to successfully remove them from the plane before departure. This includes additional pieces of hardware such as eyelets, clips, clamps, and other mechanisms that will secure the ribbon in place. However, if the aircraft is not equipped with all of the necessary hardware to remove these specific parts it is possible to simply rip them out before departure. However, even if the mechanical parts are available the chances of having them loose enough to allow the removal of the ribbons is slim.
Most pilots will remove their REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT ribbons prior to take off. After taking these items off of the aircraft they then attach these items to the top of the Protective Coverings. If the aircraft has these protective covers already attached, they will then need to attach these coverings to the undersurface of the fuselage. Once the protective covers have been securely placed, they can then be secured in place with Velcro or other attaching hardware. Once the entire REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT banner is secured in place, it can then be removed from the airplane without risk to the personnel who are working nearby.
One of the main reasons that many pilots will remove their REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT banners is to remove them for safety purposes. If an unexpected departure from a specific airport is not planned a removable aircraft banner can help to protect the crew and the passengers of the airplane by having it secured in place. Since most aircraft are fitted with the necessary hardware to support these removable aircraft banners when they are removed before flight, they will usually remain in place until the airplane has reached its destination.