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Custom Airplane Checklists

In the past 45 years that I have been flying, I have seen pilots miss important steps in their flight procedures that could result in dangerous situations. If you own an airplane that was built in the last 40 years or so, it should have a current POH/AFM with the latest revisions from the manufacturer. It is a good idea to check with the manufacturer occasionally to confirm that you have the most current checklist pages for your airplane.  Accident investigations have resulted in manufacturers issuing new procedures and guidelines in the POH/AFM books that come with their airplanes. On some flight reviews, I have seen pilots bring airplanes with checklists out of date, missing pages, or in some cases they purchased a somewhat generic checklist that was woefully inadequate. Some pilots don’t even know where the checklist is, which tells me how often they use it.

After studying thousands of accident reports, I have written my own custom checklists for specific types of airplanes. My checklists include everything in the manufacturer’s checklist, plus about 30% more. The steps I add will help prevent some of the fatal mistakes that I have read about. I also design the checklists to promote smooth flow in the cockpit and to be more efficient with time. Of course any checklist is only as good as it is used. All normal procedures checklist should be read. Memory checklists are good to use only as a supplement to the printed checklists and not as a replacement. Checklists should not be used as a to do list but rather as a list to check-off  items as they are completed. Also, a good checklist should be in a challenge and response form. If you are checking that the landing gear is down, you should call out “gear” as the challenge and “down and locked – 3 green, no red” as the response. Certain steps in some checklists must be done in a certain order. Be sure you are familiar with the order and why it must be done that way. Maintain the discipline of always using you checklist and you will greatly increase the odds of a safe and uneventful flight. Posted 01-10-2015 – Steve Shaner

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