Remove Before Flight" labels: essential safety accessories and personalisable goodies

June 18, 2024

Imagine a plane ready to take off, its passengers and crew confident in the safety of the flight. But what would happen if a small red tag, often ignored, was not removed?

These labels, known as Remove Before Flight tags, play a decisive role in the aviation industry. Far from being mere accessories, they are an essential part of aviation safety. This article traces the history and development of these labels, looking at their importance, how they work and their modern applications.

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Early uses

The origins of "remove before flight keychain" labels date back to the early days of aviation, when aircraft were still fragile machines prone to mechanical failure. In the 1920s, pilots and mechanics used various rudimentary systems to protect flight controls and on-board instruments during ground operations.

Appearance of the first "Remove Before Flying" labels

The standardisation of "Remove Before Flying" labels appeared in the 1940s, with the boom in military and commercial aviation. These labels, often made of bright red fabric with clear white lettering, were used to alert pilots and maintenance personnel to the presence of protections or locking devices that needed to be removed before take-off.

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Evolution over the decades

Over the decades, "Remove before flight" labels have undergone constant evolution, both in terms of materials and design. The first fabric models have been replaced by more resistant and waterproof plastic versions. The lettering and symbols have also been improved for greater visibility and understanding.

Its use in the field of safety

Remove Before Flight" labels are not just decorative accessories. They play an active role in air safety by ensuring the correct operation of flight controls, on-board instruments and other critical systems.

Technical explanations

Let's take the example of a tag attached to a pitot tube, an essential instrument for measuring air speed. If the tag is not removed before the flight, it can obstruct the tube, providing incorrect data to the pilot and compromising flight safety.

Actual cases and incidents avoided

Numerous incidents and serious accidents have been avoided thanks to the presence and rigorous use of "Remove before flight" labels. In 1969, a Boeing 747 took off with the rudder guards still in place, causing major damage to the aircraft and narrowly missing a disaster.

Standardised procedures

The use of "Remove before flight" labels is integrated into the standard safety procedures for pilots and ground staff. Rigorous checklists ensure that all protection and locking devices have been removed before each flight.

International standards and regulations

The use of "Remove Before Flight" labels is regulated by international standards and regulations established by bodies such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These regulations define the technical characteristics, usage procedures and visibility requirements for these labels.

Technology and materials

The materials used for Remove Before Theft labels have evolved over time, from fabric to tough plastic. Modern materials offer absolute durability, weather resistance and improved visibility.

Advantages of different materials

The choice of material depends on the specific application. Fabric offers flexibility and breathability, while plastic offers increased resistance to abrasion and chemicals.

Conception and design

The design of Remove Before Flight labels has also undergone innovations to improve visibility and efficiency. Bright colours, clear symbols and concise messages enable quick and unambiguous identification.

Use in commercial and military aviation

Remove Before Flight" labels are ubiquitous in commercial and military aviation.

Commercial aviation

In modern airliners, these labels can be found on various components such as pitot tubes, landing gear, antennas and instrument access doors.

Military aircraft

Military aircraft also use "Remove before flying" labels, but similar messages can also be found painted directly on the aircraft for greater resistance to extreme conditions.

Differences and similarities in procedures

Although the objectives are similar, the procedures for using "Remove Before Flight" labels may vary slightly between the commercial and military sectors. In commercial aviation, the emphasis is on strict checklists and rigorous visual inspections. The military, on the other hand, may favour double-checking systems and intensive training to raise staff awareness.

Adaptations in other industries

The concept of 'Remove Before Flight' labels has been successfully adapted in other industries where safety is paramount. Similar labels can be found on :

  • industrial machinery: to remind people to remove protective devices before starting up;
  • Medical equipment: to indicate the presence of sterilisation or protective caps;
  • racing vehicles: to indicate the removal of temporary safety devices installed during transport.

Success stories

Successful stories can illustrate the effectiveness of "Remove before flight" labels and the potentially catastrophic consequences of neglecting them. For example, a press article could recount an incident that was narrowly avoided thanks to the watchful eye of a mechanic who spotted a tag that had not been removed. Similarly, a documentary could present a historic accident caused by the omission of a "Remove before flight" label, serving as a constant reminder of their importance. These stories clearly show that vigilance and compliance with safety procedures are crucial in preventing serious accidents.


In conclusion, the "Remove Before Flying" labels, far from being insignificant elements, represent a symbol of the constant rigour and vigilance required to ensure air safety. Their history, evolution and modern use demonstrate their crucial role in preventing incidents and saving human lives.