So … what is YOUR opinion on checklists, fellow chickens? I still like paper, preferably laminated (utility helicopters are like tractors, they are usually a little dirty and oily), even though I love the iPad and especially the Foreflight app as established in my previous posts. The overheating issue of your iPad or smart phone is really a problem for us in the fire world. When you sit in a field in New Mexico in June, it is hard to keep them cool enough so they don’t shut down on you when you need them to go fly. You have to be very conscientious where you put your electronics while you refuel. We actually take our iPads out of the cockpit and find some shade for them.
Before we started standardizing checklists on what was then a new aircraft to the civilian utility helicopter world, we had a few “Chucks” around who didn’t believe in checklists at all. They quickly learned that the Chinook likes being shut down in a certain sequence and that there is a reason for said sequence. If you skip steps and/or worse “forget” steps, the FADEC computers get confused and you end up with all kinds of problems and error messages on your next start. Continuing this practice also proofed to anger the maintenance crew to a point that the occasional “lucky wrench” might be launched towards your head. So, while you might get away with not using a checklist in smaller aircraft, in heavy helicopters it might just be dangerous for your health.
Now, I know nobody is going to admit online that they are not using a checklist so I’ll lead with, yes, in smaller helicopters with very few systems and on those days you fly with the doors open, I have not used checklists before. No need to get it sucked into the tail rotor either. But for the last 6+ years in more complex and bigger aircraft with more systems I feel like I’d never get away with it. Plus I feel the older I get, the less I seem to remember so it’s really good to have that thing keep you on track….