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Custom Checklists

Do most people use a standard ‘off the shelf’ checklist or customise their own?

I’m just about to change aircraft and have been looking for a good checklist for a Saratoga II HP that I could edit to suit me / the aircraft. I have what I feel is a pretty good one for the TB20 which I would happily send anyone who would be interested. Does anybody have a Saratoga Check list?

I usually find the branded versions often have a few irrelevant checks which might not be necessary for a particular aircraft or don’t include specific avionics or procedures. I personally prefer to remove these to make the list shorter and resist the temptation to skip items in the checklist

Shoreham (EGKA) White Waltham (EGLM)

You’ll find that in aircraft certified in the ’70’s and later, the checklist is usually derived from Sections 3 & 4 of the Flight Manual, Emergency and Normal Procedures. As these are approved sections of the Flight Manual, it’s really good if you can use them as they were approved. Check and Flight Manual Supplements applicable to the aircraft (modifications, or different avionics, for example). You should add these in a checklist you are customizing for the aircraft.

Remind yourself that a checklist is best used as a tool for you to confirm that you have already done what should be done for that phase of flight, it should not be an instruction list. Though, I do agree that a few are worded a bit that way sometimes.

Home runway, in central Ontario, Canada

I write my own checklists for the aircraft I fly, based on the manufacturer’s publications.

I owned a PA-32R Saratoga a few years ago. I’d be happy to dig up my checklist and send it to you if you like, to use as a starting point.

Spending too long online
EGTF Fairoaks, EGLL Heathrow, United Kingdom

My non-certified ultralight does have instructions for the preflight in its POH, but no checklist. There was no option for me but to concoct my own. Will be redoing them, though, they are far too long presently, and indeed to much instruction lists rather than checklists.

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

I did my own for the TB20, right at the start, because it didn’t come with one. Socata merely put fragments of a checklist in different sections of the POH – exactly as Pilot DAR says. And the generic ones were no good.

I’ve uploaded the last (2005) version here. It’s OK but arguably needs an engine failure checklist (under Emergency) and needs the ILS setup checklist (currently it’s on a post-it note inside).

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I suppose you can also google for some checklists for the same aircraft (you will find multiple ones) and take one as a starting point as well.

I don’t know if the checklist has to be approved by someone. As I only fly club airplanes they come with checklists which say that they come from a club organization (Swiss PSA, Swiss Pilot School Association).

LSZH, LSZF, Switzerland

I’ve always prefered my own, cobbled together from official/generic ones but with things I particularly need to remember added in and irrelevant things taken out. I still have an app called checklist lite on my tablet, which allows me to create my own personalised list and to actively check off each item so nothing is missed. Unfortunately, while it was once available free from Foreflight, it is now incorporated into its software rather than being freestanding and is therefore no longer available (unless of course you use Foreflight). I’ve been trying to persuade Tim Dawson to incorporate something similar into Sky Demon, but to no avail so far.


@RedKite Do you have some screenshots or description of how it worked / what was good? I’ve been thinking of getting to learn some programming on iOS and that might be a nice learning project which I can then distribute to fellow pilots.

LSZH, LSZF, Switzerland

I have a turbonormalized Version and there is no standard checklist for it.
So I had to compile one.

Last Edited by mdoerr at 22 May 12:39
EGBE - Coventry, United Kingdom

I always do my own, mostly due to flow. Writing them also is a great way to familiarise oneself with the aircraft.

I have a a PA32R-301T checklist (Turbo Saratoga). It has some neat touches, I think, for example
– a inch scale at the edge of the page where you are supposed to check the undercarriage oleos
– some key performance numbers, for example the departure airspeeds on the take-off page
– the pages for the in-flight part of the checklist are all of different length, so you can go straight to a particular page without faff

It is meant to be assembled with rings at the top – if it is not clear, I am happy to send you a photo of the assembled one.

I have the same for a (non-Turbo) Arrow, a Columbia 400, and a DV 40 Diesel

I would attach it, but there is no such feature in this forum, so if you send me a PM I happily send you the file.

These days, I use two – the detailed “do-list”, and a “the stuff that kills you” checklist. For example:

  • External pre-flight do-list: a few pages. Great at the beginning, and for emergencies after the memory items.
  • External pre-flight check-list: Controls, Pitot, Static, Fuel, Oil, lines/chocks/tow bar removed.
    So these days, I conduct the walkaround by flow, and then before entering the aircraft use the WRITTEN checklist and ensure that I have actually consciously done all the killer items.
Biggin Hill
40 Posts
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