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Parking brake

Use with caution

A parking brake on a general aviation aircraft is not rigged separately from the main brakes, as with a car. Instead, it is part of the main system.

The parking brake is a handle and rachet mechanism connected by a cable to linkage at the brake master cylinders. Pulling out the handle depresses both brake master cylinder piston rods and the handle rachet locks the handle in this position until the handle is turned and released.

Parking brakes are a handy feature for runups and parking on a slope, but, just as you may be skeptical about your airplane’s fuel gauges, you should be skeptical about the parking brake too. It could fail at an inopportune moment, such as when you are doing a high-rpm runup. When you apply throttle to perform the runup, keep your eyes outside to spot inadvertent movement of the aircraft, and keep your feet ready on the regular brakes.

If parking your aircraft at a fixed-base operator, do not engage the parking brake. Instead, chock or tie down the airplane. This is so that if FBO personnel need to move your airplane, they can.

When leaving the airplane parked in a hangar or on a ramp, disengage the parking brake (use chocks or tiedowns) to prevent undue wear on the hydraulics.

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Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who is part-owner of a Cessna 182Q.

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