Check the checklist

I know we have talked about checklists before. And the last time there were some quite strong feelings on the topic. Of course, we recommend to always use a checklist, no matter how small your aircraft is. Do NOT do what Chuck does!

When the aircraft gets bigger, it’s also important to know all of your systems in great detail and why they need to be turned on, or off respectively, in a certain order. I have found civilian checklists are way better designed when it comes to “flow” compared to military checklists. And just because you “can” start and shut down your aircraft without it because you know it so well, doesn’t mean you “should”.

I am not entirely sure why Chuck is so resistant to using his checklist. But if I had to guess, it might not be entirely because he’s a rebel or in a rush, but rather because he lost it somewhere. Knowing Chuck, it probably went out the window at some point… quite literally.

Have you guys ever written your own checklist for your aircraft or in general?


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6 comments on “Check the checklist
  1. Rich Gibson says:

    I’ve rearranged the checklist (B-18) to make it flow better, added or removed items as equipment was added or removed.

  2. Mo Davies says:

    Many Microlight aircraft in the UK had no checklists. Before I first fly a microlight type, I write my own based upon my past knowledge of other aircraft and advice from other pilots. Otherwise in a new type, it is easy to get confused.

  3. Bernd says:

    I have adapted and reformatted the checklists for my Socata Rallye to phrase it better, and fit all the important ones on fewer pages. Sort of a “QRH”. It also contained a passenger safety briefing.

    The preflight checklist on the Robin I currently fly has some weird typos, such as “Lufteinlüfäufe”, and uses different words (“Beweglichkeit” vs. “Ausfahren”) to describe aileron and flap travel for the left and right wing, respectively. I suspect these are just shoddy translations from the French original. “Ausfahren” is even completely wrong here, “Ausschlag” would be appropriate.

  4. Harro says:

    I stay with the “Pilots ten commandments”, especially the third one:
    “Ignorest thou not thy checklists for many are the switches, handles, gauges and other demons awaiting to take cruel vengeance upon thee.”

  5. Fbs says:

    Sure, I did, and there are a few rules to follow
    – all the items found in the flight manual procedures must be here (legal issue)
    – add your own relevant to the plane (ex : turn on xpdr)
    – sort this starting by the items the more likely to kill you first (if there are check-list misses, they are more likely to happen in the end of the list than in the beginning)
    – try when possible to sort with commands from left to rigth, to make a consistent sequence

  6. When flying fixed wing, my main check that some think they can skip is the pre-flight walk-around, which is done whenever returning to the aircraft, even if only away for a short time (insects are a thing in many parts of Oz 🙂 ). As part of my hot air balloon training, my instructor had me set up my own checklist & mnemonic that I would use prior to every launch. We have many items in the manufacturer’s flight manual but they can be grepped into a single flow, especially once inflated & prior to departure.

    For the balloon, once inflated, I would use:
    Fuel (required tanks on, burners confirmed, fuel verified – usually before inflation, but double checked)
    Instruments (Altimeter, vario, radios, GPS, etc)
    Karabiners (all connected OK & gates screwed down)
    Omvelope (so close! 🙂 ) (valve off the velcros, verify collapse, verify restore, verify rapid deflation system, all lines look OK)
    Matches & maps (alternate source of ignition in case the pilot light goes out, printer and/or EFB maps ready)

    The classic for fixed wing was the downwind & pre-landing check of BUMFICH which was Brakes, Undercarriage (usually welded down 🙂 ), Mixture/Mags, Flaps/Fuel, Instruments, Carb Heat & Hatches/Harnesses 🙂

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