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Emergency procedure memory items

In addition to what might be covered in a flight review (EFATO, Engine fire on the ground and in the air, Engine failure in cruise, Limited panel, Stall recognition, Landing gear failure, Fire in the cabin, Propeller overspeed), what other memory items do you review?

Airbus has 12 memory items, some operators on turboprops have 15 to 20, however at some point you would need a hard disk to remember them all? I would suggest 15 items might be a maximum? At some point, for example after the aircraft is under control, checking the Quick Reference book might be best.

Saying it is on your MFD doesn’t quite help as typically in some scenarios your MFD is also gone. It also reminds me of accident scenarios where the pilot decides to trouble shoot the autopilot as the aircraft goes past vertical.

Oxford (EGTK)

RobertL18C wrote:

Airbus has 12 memory items…

According to various sources there are only 7 memory items in the operating manual of an A320, which are further reduced to one (“don oxygen masks”) by some operators:

The 7 memory items stated in FCOM 3.02.01 P2a and SOPs Standard Callouts 3.03.90 p4:
1) Windshear/ windshear ahead: "Windshear, TOGA" 3.02.80 p19
2) TCAS: "Traffic, I have control" 3.02.34 p12 and p17
3) EGPWS: "Pull up, TOGA" 3.02.34 p15
4) Loss of braking "Loss of braking" 3.02.32 p11
5) Immediate actions of EMER DESCENT "Emergency Descent" 3.02.80 p7
6) Immediate actions of UNRELIABLE SPEED INDICATION/ ADR CHECK PROC "Unreliable speed" 3.02.34 p20

The less, the better. However, the distinction between “memory item” and “normal flying skill” is not really clear. The Citations I fly have roundabout 10 memory items, which, according to Cessna, are actions that one performs before consulting the emergency/abnormal checklist. There is trivial stuff like “Autopilot failure: Press Autopoilot Disconnect button” as well as the procedure to follow in case of “Thrust Reverser Deployment after V1”. The windshaer recovery in the airbus list is not even on the Citation checklist, so would not count as memory item, but trained flying skill instead.

In a piston single I have exactly zero memory items and in a piston twin there are two: “Engine failure before liftoff” and “Engine failure after liftoff”. In a pressurised piston twin there is the additional “Don oxygen mask” which covers loss of pressurisation and smoke/fire.

Last Edited by what_next at 15 Apr 14:04
EDDS - Stuttgart

w_n thank you, some Airbus colleagues say 10, but I think it includes what you call trained flying skill, for example stall recovery.

In a piston single I am assuming you mean everything is a memory item or a trained flying skill? I like your concept of trained flying skill, which then suggests a need for regular recurrent training.

Oxford (EGTK)

RobertL18C wrote:

In a piston single I am assuming you mean everything is a memory item or a trained flying skill?

At least, going by Cessna’s definition. On their emergency checklists, all memory items are boxed, as in the example below (found on the internet):

The boxed items should be done by memory, from then on, the checklist can be used.

I am not aware of any non-pressurised SEP which has such checklists. One of the worst cases, the engine failure after takeoff, is not covered by a checklist at all (there would be no time to read it…), so everything must be covered by training. Other emergency checklists in singles (like landing gear failure, ditching, avionics/instrument malfunctions) do not require immediate action but can be handled by going through the checklist.

EDDS - Stuttgart

I’m very poor at remembering stuff like this, mnemonics certainly do not help, as what it does is to make more things to remember, the mnemonics themselves for one. I find it much better to think in terms of configuration, then all else just follows automatically. You need to restart both engine, then simply configure the airplane to do that (you need fuel, need ignition, speed is good and so on). There was a post about this some time ago, and it sort of opened my eyes, even though I usually think in similar terms.


I have a book that states the SR71 has more than 70 memory checklists.

I’m fairly sure there are more than that in my day job doctoring). I just wish somebody would decide formally what they are and collate them into one book.

The Airbus automatically presents almost all checklists via the central caution and warning system to the crew meaning that only very few exceptions require the use of the QRH or memory items. Memory items on the rather more Jurassic 737, which are checklist items accomplished from memory as opposed to manoeuvres like a TCAS RA or Windshear escape are:

- Aborted engine start
- Engine Overheat
- Engine Fire/severe damage/separation
- Engine surge/limit/stall
- Loss of thrust on both engines
- Cabin Altitude warning/emergency descent
- Runaway Stabiliser
- APU Fire
- Airspeed Unreliable

On a light aircraft, in addition to the items discussed above, I would suggest knowledge of drills for a trim runaway if you have electric trim would be essential. This would include being able instantly to place your hand on the relevant switch or circuit breaker when required.

A flow method is very effective for restart drills if you find mnemonics or set schemes don’t work for you – moving left to right across the panel or as required based on the layout of fuel selectors and various other critical switches.

London area

On any piston single or twin, in case of engine failure in flight:

  • alternate air OPEN (or carb heat ON)
  • boost pump ON
  • fuel tank SWITCH (or boost pump OFF + X-FEED)
  • ECU toggle or mags L/R/BOTH
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