Teaching students about making a thorough preflight check is easy early in training. On the whole, new students are very conscientious and methodical, sometimes overly so. As they become more confident and capable, things –including the preflight– begin to roll a bit more smoothly.
It is the student later in training, and after receiving their certificate that sometimes is tempted to cut corners. The preflight begins to be done as if it were a race and the attention to detail begins to wane. For probably most of these pilots their oversight will have no noticable consequence. But here’s the question: Why rush it? Is it really worth the risk?
I teach a preflight that is based on the old 70’s era Cessna manuals that was systematic and methodical. You start at the baggage door on the left side and work your way around the aircraft the same way, every time. There’s something to be said for routine, especially when conducting a preflight check.
Even (or especially) if the plane is regularly flown, take time to check it over. You don’t know what happened on its last flight. Did they, as I discovered on one plane I used to fly, drag the tail down the runway while in the flare? Did that damage anything? Did they lock the brakes and damage the tires? Did they fuel it properly or fail to report something faulty?
It’s your posterior (and that of your family, students etc.) you are putting in the plane. Check it.