Continuing our theme of useful things to do during periods of reduced flying, how about a spending a little time on our checklists? These are very important documents, and as such, may need to be updated from time-to-time. Also, checklists that have not been used, such as emergency or abnormal procedures checklists, need to be reviewed and practiced.
In the previous blog, we talked about getting together on a non-flyable day with a group of other pilots and simulating a flight. Another project for a day that finds us on the ground is a “Checklist Refresher” day. This can be incorporated into the simulated flight or just done as a group project. It is the perfect project for a group of owners or flying club members.
Make sure you have all the required checklists. These would include normal procedures, abnormal procedures, and emergency procedures. The normal procedures section would include preflight planning, preflight inspection, before engine start, before taxi, before takeoff, climb, cruise, descent, in-range, before landing, after landing, shutdown, parking and securing, and post flight inspection. Not all airplanes will require all of these sections in the normal checklist, but make sure you have what you need. If any of the sections are missing or incomplete, this is the time for revision. Just make sure you do a run-through before putting the new or revised versions into service.
See if anyone has anything that they think should be added to any of the checklists. Many pilots have something that they always do between two checklist items. Have a group discussion to see if others agree that it should be included. Remember that you can always add to the manufacturer’s checklist, but you may not delete anything from it.
If the content of the checklists is fine, but the hard copies are looking raunchy, this would be a good time to make new ones. I like to have mine saved as a Word document so that I can easily do revisions if necessary. I prefer to print them out on thin cardstock so that they can be folded and placed in the side pocket. Some people prefer to laminate them, but for me, that seems to make them harder to handle. When mine get work, it is simple to just print new ones.
We can take credit for checklists because out predecessors in aviation invented them. You have probably heard the story about how the B-17 almost never came to be because, after crash during development, it was deemed too complicated to be flown by humans. The test pilots developed a rudimentary checklist and the rest is real history. Now, checklists are used extensively in medicine, manufacturing, and many other industries. I use checklists for everything. Have a travel checklist so I don’t forget my underwear or my passport. I have a presentation checklist to make sure I have fresh batteries in my microphone and in my presentation remote and that I remembered to load the presentation onto my laptop.