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Checklists

During my PPL training, checklists were provided by the school and I used those. All well and good.

When I bought my share, I needed to sort myself out with a checklist. The group had an e-copy of a checklist for the aircraft, but I was unsure of its origin and I thought it missed a few things I'd like to see (like change fuel tank prior to power checks) and included a few things that didn't need to be there (like Mobile Phone = Off). It also didn't group things in a flow that I thought was logical.

I read the POH and wrote my own checklist. Based mainly on the normal and emergency procedures in the POH, but with some additions which I thought were worthwhile from the school checklists and laid out in a format that I considered the most logical flow.

Has anyone else done this?

Do checklists have any 'official' status in the way that the POH does? As I understand it, a checklist is just a copy of the procedures in the POH and hence if you're following the checklist then you're following the POH. Presumably if you create a checklist that differs from the POH and use it, then you're not following the POH?

Thoughts?

EGLM & EGTN

I've done it like you Graham. Started with the flight school's checklists, found them to be missing some things (exactly the mobile phone!), saw other checklists with good ideas and eventually created my own. I have since then copied it to my Garmin 695 which is yoke mounted and has a large screen. I do all checklists on the Garmin and keep a paper backup in the glove box.

I've never seen anything hinting that you have to use the checklists from the POH. Also I've never seen anybody do that as they usually go over multiple pages. However, my personal checklist does not contradict the POH checklist.

My second hand plane came with no checklist at all, and the POH in Hungarian... so I had no option but to concoct my own. It has grown in the first couple of months that I used it, but has been stable now for a good while.

The last addition was a paragraph "before leaving the airfield" for I found I too often forgot things in the plane, such as my mobile or wallet...

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

I, together with quite a few others, have a completely different view on checklists, which is that they are a positively bad thing in a single crew environment.

There are quite a few negative things to say, but the worst, in my opinion, is that they stand in the way of thought.

By that I mean that if you follow a checklist by rote, and your finger jumps a line, your brain is never engaged with what you missed.

Let me give you an analogy. Up to a few months ago, I always drove from my home to my airfield on a motorway route, which is about double the straight line, cross town route. I decided that it would be better for the environment to take the straight line, and have driven maybe 20 or thirty times on a very convoluted suburban route picked for me by SatNav. I decided yesterday to drive the route without SatNav just to see if it had been implanted and it hadn't. I was so dependent on being told what to do that I hadn't internalised it.

Well, I say that the same thing happens with checklists. It is too easy to treat each task as a part of a recipe. If you miss a line, let's say mixture rich as an example, or throttle friction tight, you could put yourself in a very nasty situation where the engine lost power during the take-off run.

If you use the cockpit as its own checklist - in other words looking at every switch, control and gauge to determine that it looks as it should for take-off - then you have at least allowed the state of the aircraft to pass through your conscious brain.

There are a few things which need to be in an emergency checklist - sequence for emergency gear lowering, how to reset an alternator, crossfeed etc - but they are the exceptions. Most stuff should be done by scan checking the cockpit.

EGKB Biggin Hill

I agree with Timothy. The aeroplane I'm most familiar with is the Chipmunk and I have a great deal of time in it. The aeroplane is my checklist. I start my external check at the left wing root and work my way around back to the same spot, which is handy as I'm then well placed to prime the engine!

Once strapped in, it's a left to right internal check finishing with the flap lever.

It's a simple aeroplane, but for a few years I had a share in a Yak52, which is pretty complex for a single. I started by using a check list, but once I was 'at home' with the aeroplane that was dispensed with.

Checklists in multi-crew aeroplanes using a 'challenge - response' system are a completely different kettle of fish....

Barton is my spiritual home.

I don't use a checklist for the external checks, because "everything that does anything" is checked.

However I do use a checklist for the start procedures and also the final checks before takeoff.

Airborne, no checklists except one for configuring the aircraft for an ILS. I did a checklist for that because I back up an ILS with the GPS in OBS mode (so I have the LOC inbound bearing displayed) and the neatest way to achieve this is by doing things in a certain order.

On the TB20, there was never a good checklist because Socata did that by putting various sections of it in various sections of the POH, so one has to put all these together and make one's own. The TB20 checklists in pilot shops are generally no good.

A checklist should always be customised for the particular aircraft, especially for the particular avionics.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Checklists in multi-crew aeroplanes using a 'challenge - response' system are a completely different kettle of fish...

You can use a checklist in the way of challenge-response very well even if you are alone in the cockpit.

It only means that you don't use it as an abbreviated operators manual (reading the points and performing the appropriate actions one after the other - which is called a read-and-do checklist) but that you do everything "naturally" by your own at the right time, and when there is a quiet moment, e.g. after being settled in the cruise, read the checklist to catch those items that you forgot. As I already wrote i another forum: Even when flying several sectors a day in a commercial environment, there is not a single flight (not one! never!) where the two of us don't forget something. A study by Lufthansa found out that on average two mistakes/errors are made by a crew of two professional pilots on each flight. There are so few accidents and so little damage to expensive bits of aircraft because checklists and other safety features have been put in place to catch these mistakes before any damage is done.

Therefore I always think it is a bit self-righteous when amateurs, who only fly a few hours per month, think that they can do without a checklist. There is this old saying: "There are two kinds of pilots: Those who have already landed with the gear up and those who have yet to do it." And because I do not want to join the second group, I will always use a checklist, also when flying privately on a single!

Do checklists have any 'official' status in the way that the POH does?

In the world of private flying not. In commercial aviation, every selfmade checklist (we all fly with these, because the checklists provided by the manufacturers are much to long/comprehensive for practical use!) needs to be approved by the supervising authority. These checklists are not static, but get updated whenever someone comes up with a better way of doing things.

EDDS - Stuttgart

Well, just to throw some gasoline on this fire, the Canadian regulation applicable to checklists reads:

"Requirements for Power-driven Aircraft

602.60 (1) No person shall conduct a take-off in a power-driven aircraft, other than an ultra-light aeroplane, unless the following operational and emergency equipment is carried on board:

(a) a checklist or placards that enable the aircraft to be operated in accordance with the limitations specified in the aircraft flight manual, aircraft operating manual, pilot operating handbook or any equivalent document provided by the manufacturer; "

Now, read carefully, you can see that it only applies to operating within the limitations, which information is often conveyed adequately by placard alone. But, the pilot is not alleviated from having a printed "mind jogger" for the limitations stuff.

If you need a checklist to fly the plane within its limitations, and safely, you should use the checklist, but that to me is an indication that you're not "ahead" of the plane. Then, I hope you're taking things really slow and easy, and compensating for the distraction of using the checklist, and assuring that steps are not missed by distraction or interruption. We're all entitled to be new to a type, and take things slow and thorough for the first few flights. If I'm flying an odd type, I will use the checklist through to ready for takeoff. For common types I fly, it's more of a rhythm across the cockpit. I often combine this rhythm with 5 second reality checks - is everything where my training and experience tells me it should be right now? These are particularly important when flying type which have controls which are out of sight (above or behind you) which might be missed in a scan.

For landing gear, if it retracts, I will say out load to myself that I have the gear in the position required for landing - it's just a self discipline thing for me.

Generally, most anything else aside from "fuel on and enough", and cowl flaps, is going to let an aware pilot know it's wrong, before it becomes too serious to correct. Things don't happen that fast in these little slow types. This is not written as an invitation to not bother checking things, but as in inspiration to be aware of your aircraft, its condition, and configuration both for now, and for what it needs to be next. You should be "ahead" of the aircraft you're flying. A part of that is an instinctive knowledge of what needs to be what for each phase of flight, and planning it...

Home runway, in central Ontario, Canada

Out of interest, 'what next' might like to know that the group member who landed our Yak with the gear up was a checklist user.

Barton is my spiritual home.

Out of interest, 'what next' might like to know that the group member who landed our Yak with the gear up was a checklist user.

I am sure, with all his experience, he would already have known that.

EGKB Biggin Hill
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