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A generic Approach checklist

I meant to ask this for some time and now another checklist-related post reminded me…

A couple of times I had forgotten to set the altimeter to the airport QNH before commencing the approach… fortunately I never did this anywhere where it might matter.

Is there a generic “approach checklist” that people use?

I have one for an ILS approach – mostly because there is a number of steps involved in setting up the GPS in the OBS mode, which I use as a simple reference for where to expect to see the localiser.

One way to catch the mis-set altimeter is to check it against a properly geoid corrected GPS like eg. my yoke-mounted G496. But that check needs to appear on a checklist too.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I think there are simply no 100% safeguards against skipping some required action.

If it’s on a written checklist, items might be skipped or the checklist not completed / not read at all, for whatever reasons. Even if you do read the item, there is a risk you might read it but not complete the necessary action. Again, for whatever reason.

If it’s not on a written checklist, then one might simply forget.

Probably the best protection is to do both, i.e. have important items on some kind of checklist AND to constantly ask yourself “what is important to do at this point?”

This ties in with the never-ending discussion about “do-lists vs. checklists” in SP operations.

Specifically on the QNH topic, I also recommend setting the QNH right after the controller first gives the QNH to you (usually along with a descent instruction). Don’t delay anything, since you might forget. However, there may be (rare) occasions where, coming from an enroute segment in the flight levels, nobody will ever actively give the QNH to you before you start the approach. These are the occasions where pilots would be more prone to forget to set QNH.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 29 Dec 10:44
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

boscomantico wrote:

Specifically on the QNH topic, I also recommend setting the QNH right after the controller first gives the QNH to you (usually along with a descent instruction). Don’t delay anything, since you might forget. However, there may be (rare) occasions where, coming from an enroute segment in the flight levels, nobody will ever actively give the QNH to you before you start the approach. These are the occasions where pilots would be more prone to forget to set QNH.

I use this practice as well. I always set QNH the first time I get it, even if I am still way above transition altitude. And the same goes for climbing, even if I am at 2000 ft and get cleared FL100 I will set 1013 straight away. I do not see the point in waiting for the transition level and by doing this I minimize the risk of forgetting to change.

Is this stupid or smart?

Sweden, Sweden

I found that using the good old FRIEDA (FREDA with an I in it for icing) can be used in ALL phases of flight. It just makes sure that you think of all items that you need to check, except for the configuration (gear, flaps).

Normally, it is used for cruise checks, but it works equally well in any phase of flight.

So approach, for example, in the aircraft I fly:

  • Fuel – pumps on
  • Radios – Set and approach aids identified, approach loaded
  • Icing – Prop heat as appropriate, check wings/cycle boots
  • Engine – nothing special to do here
  • Direction – check HSI, check course selector
  • Altimeters – QNH and cross check

Sometimes it is redundant, but for example on passing 1000ft / MSA on departure

  • Fuel – pumps off
  • Radios – normally nothing to do here – but if flying classical, you might need to think about the next classic nav-aid to tune and identify
  • Icing – Check wings, cycle boots if necessary, check prop heaters working
  • Engine – check Ts and Ps in the climb
  • Direction – nothing to do here either
  • Altimeters – change to 1013 if cleared to a flight level

So it is FRIEDA at 1,000ft, FRIEDA on levelling off, FRIEDA regularly during cruise, FRIEDA at top of descent, and FRIEDA when commencing the approach.

With that, one acronym plus Red/Blue/Green/White on short final covers everything, instead of BUMFFICHWTFDOIDONOW for each phase of flight.

This, together with a written Killer Item checklist for ground ops, serves me well.

Last Edited by Cobalt at 29 Dec 11:22
Biggin Hill

We have generic lists for gliders, all parts of flight. Gliders are all very standard (except the few that aren’t ). For motorized aircraft, is it even possible ?

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

I don’t thing generic “Do Lists” are sensible.

The big screw-ups tend to be about things people forget about, not errors made when doing things, so a generic list that reminds you to think about doing things that might kill you if forgotten is possible.

Biggin Hill

OK; thanks all. That gives me something to think about…

My current ILS checklist (don’t have it to hand) goes something like this:

  • set heading bug
  • autopilot → HDG
  • NAV/GPS → NAV
  • GPS → DCT airport
  • GPS → OBS mode
  • EHSI CP → LOC bearing
  • verify OBS on GPS matches EHSI
  • verify magenta line on MFD

and then I fly in HDG mode to the LOC, and when it starts to come in on the EHSI

  • press APR

This needs to be generalised. With any approach, it needs the usual

  • door locked
  • fuel pump on
  • fuel ON and sufficient
  • harnesses and doors
  • set altimeters (both should be on QNH in this phase)

and with a GPS approach you fly in GPS/NAV=GPS and the autopilot in NAV mode, and it would be something like

  • GPS → PROC and select IAP
  • GPS DCT → IAF

(this is where it gets very system specific e.g. the KLN94 needs the DCT to the IAF).

If you make checklists too long, they won’t get followed.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Fly310 wrote:

I use this practice as well. I always set QNH the first time I get it, even if I am still way above transition altitude. And the same goes for climbing, even if I am at 2000 ft and get cleared FL100 I will set 1013 straight away. I do not see the point in waiting for the transition level and by doing this I minimize the risk of forgetting to change.

Is this stupid or smart?

Smart! …. why would you not set QNH/FL immediately you are so cleared ……..that’s how the airlines do it.

EGNS

Obstacle clearance in case of an emergency soon after departure? (One would leave altimeter #2 on the QNH for that reason)

Complying with the transition altitude/level? (I have seen both views on that one, in IR training)

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I set QNH or 1013 when assigned an altitude or FL respectively even if above/below transition.

Last Edited by JasonC at 29 Dec 22:21
EGTK Oxford
27 Posts
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