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Checklist Template

In gliders we use the same checklist for every one, regardless what the manufacturer has to say And they are all memorized.

I wrote the checklist myself for the Faeta we got the other year. All into one A4 page that is folded at the middle. Din’t check for Human Resources compatibility though

IMO a check list is no substitute for learning to operate the aircraft. If you do that correctly, you don’t really need a (written) checklist. A problem occurs when flying many different aircraft. You cannot possibly remember all of it. In that respect it is better the way we do with gliders, but with all the different engines and configurations that will never work for a piston aircraft. Having the same “look and feel” and the same order of things would be nice.

IMO Cessna SEP checklists are not checklists, but a condensed user manual and/or a “briefing before you do it”. As a student, I would read them in advance completely before the action (e.g. the landing checklist before the approach. the takeoff checklist before lining up, etc), and in that usage, stuff like “main wheels first” make sense. You are briefing and anticipating what you will do.


LeSving wrote:

IMO a check list is no substitute for learning to operate the aircraft.

I don’t see anyone say that?

If you do that correctly, you don’t really need a (written) checklist.

Well, experience shows that people tend to forget things, i.e. not “do that correctly”, even if they know what to do. That’s why we have checklists in the first place as well as general acronyms as FREDA etc.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

It’s interesting to see that turn of this discussion. In the beginning, I just said, I want to share the knowledge about how checklists can be made better. Researchers from NASA, Universities and the FAA found out that most of the checklists we have today are not great and lead to errors – most likely they know more about this topic than everybody in this forum. I personally just found out that there are no good templates available – and decided to create one and share it with the community. And I thought I get feedback like “I don’t use the readback checklist complete at the end, because I think its obvious and wastes space”. Or something like that.

And now we’re in the middle of a discussion whether checklists are good, whether checklists should be modified at all or used from 1977 until 2059, whether pilots are using checklists wrong, etc.

I am quite new to these flying communities and I intentionally posted my findings here and not in the PuF forum (which I enjoy to read but which has the tendency apparently to drift from the original topic – usually induced by the same three or four posters – to a completely different topic within four or five posts.

I’d expected a “hey, cool, I didn’t know this paper and this insight, thanks for sharing – I’ll draw my own conclusions” – and now you’re in a discussion whether pilots use checklists correctly or at all.


Last Edited by thomas_witt at 08 Nov 22:34
A guy from Berlin, Germany
EDAZ, Germany

That’s probably because most people don’t read links in posts. That’s another human factor As a mod I often share your frustration. Life is full of human factors and many are surprising. If you did a heat map of EuroGA (we used to use Hotjar but removed it because it sometimes drastically slowed down the site loading) you would find that nearly all initial hits land here

and consequently many people miss many threads – because we might have 100 posts per day.

PUF is for Germany only, and for various reasons is operated to appear “unmoderated” which in turn attracts an audience which likes to take advantage of that, hence things tend to degrade fast. That’s another human factor

It would probably help to quote a bit of the relevant text of the research.

I am sure most GA aircraft checklists are sub optimal but I guess most people aren’t bothered. The great majority of GA flyers are very part-time and many of them are quite pleased if the plane starts up

Pilot_DAR is IMHO right that the checklist is supposed to be manufacturer approved but I think that just means that the manufacturer approved bits ought to be incorporated in it, in the right order.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

It seem there was a misunderstanding regarding the topic (checklist content or incorporating research results on Human Performance into the checklist layout). While it might be worth discussing whether to change checklist items, the layout and ´look-and-feel´ of most checklists I have seen definitely leaves ample room for improvements…

With regard to the content: I leave the content of checklists unchanged according to what the owner/flight school/club has defined, but add further items which I consider as useful.

Regarding the research paper and the template/demo Thomas has posted here: Great finding and super initiative! As indicated, I am interested in adjusting my checklists accordingly, but it seems I have to get familiar with InDesign first. ;-)

Zurich area, Switzerland

I think you need to have the ~ €10/month Adobe product subscription, to read the file. That’s a pity. A format like Excel 2003 would be really universal.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Interesting links thank you for the OP.

Single crew ops tend to be memory or read and do on the ground, and flow/memory in the air. Challenge – and – response is a multi crew concept, and the checks may be carried out by the pilot flying, or as a co ordinated splitting of tasks, with the PF then calling for the check list from the pilot monitoring.

Both crew members will know/have memorised the relevant check list, and the PF responses are ideally word perfect and as per the airline SOP. The PM calls the challenge and the PF responds.

The carrying out of the checks will be a flow, left to right and top to bottom. The PM will do as it says on the tin, monitor the PF check flow. If tasks have been split each crew member will brief the other on what they have done, before PF calls for the check list. The challenge and response uses a physical or electronic list, and hopefully both crew members will pick up in this phase if there is a mistake or omission in the flow.

The checklist will be an Airline SOP list which presumably conforms to the aircraft type requirement, but is not a copy from the aircraft flight manual.

In effect the PF needs to be ahead of both the aircraft and the PM. On a short sector the top of descent brief might have to be carried out before top of climb checks are called!

It is normal to call the check list open, and then complete.

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)

thomas_witt wrote:

and now you’re in a discussion whether pilots use checklists correctly or at all

As Peter said, and also because it’s impossible for us to instantly put ourselves where we see thing from your point of view, and then continue on pretending that’s the only point of view The are lots of ways to view the concept of checklists, and some of them render layout irrelevant. Which is what this thread shows among other things.

I am truly convinced that written checklists are redundant (for all small GA aircraft). This is the basic for me. If you fly only one aircraft (or gliders), then you should remember the checklists in the same way you remember how to get from home to work in the morning. A checklist is a check you do, and if you remember to look at the checklist, then you also remember to do the checks when the checks are remembered. There is no difference. Hence, layout of the checklist is completely irrelevant as a default.

But, “problems” occur if you use the checklists as a kind of recipe or micro manual. This is also a very common way to use them because:

  • you fly different planes, don’t remember everything
  • you are in a training phase
  • you fly so seldom, and before you fly you just don’t bother to concern yourself with remembering the checklists.

So yes, a common layout and a common arrangement would be nice in those circumstances, but any real relevance would only be the first one. In a training phase you are much better off remembering the lists, and the last one is pure laziness (IMO). Still, even in the first one, you do remember most of it, and this is augmented by mental images/procedures, “left to right”, check the “T”, “landing configuration” for airplanes with CS prop and retracts and so on, which is basically how we do it for gliders also.

All in all, the importance of written checklists aren’t so high that people care all that much either way. Most people figure it is better to simply use the lists (if any) that are supplied by the manufacturer, and memorize it into some mental image of how to handle the aircraft.

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