View Full Version : Checklists - query
7th Jul 2012, 19:35
I'm curious, is it acceptable to do checklists while flying (and on the ground) entirely from memory? At a PPL level at least.
I've always been told to use the real physical checklist as a reference, which is fine by me, but after watching some vids on youtube I get the idea that a lot of pilots don't really bother with double-checking anything by cross-referencing the checklist. Is this common practice after you are familiar with the aircraft?
Apologies if this is the wrong section for this question.
1) It depends, we'll probably shortly see strong, reasoned arguments for totally opposed opinions. If you're flying someone else's aircraft, do it the way they want you to.
2) Yes, pilots will do checks from memory once they think they are familiar with them (assuming we're talking light aircraft). I'm not necessarily advocating it, but it happens. I don't normally use one in a PA28, but then I've got thousands of hours in a PA28. I do use one in some other aircraft I fly.
7th Jul 2012, 20:05
Humm, on a light aircraft hard to say. I always use mnemonics and back it up with a checklist.
On the jet (day job) always, one reason is professionalism, but for me it's simple, if you follow the checklist through with your thumb, you won't miss anything.
Its up to you, but I know what I would do. It's not about looking cool, it's about being safe
if you follow the checklist through with your thumb, you won't miss anything.
Wow, that's a really brave statement.;)
Seriously though, while I think it's reasonable to say that the use of a printed checklist, will be beneficial, especially in the early stages, if we assume that the OP is referring to light aircraft. There's been many times I've had students skip a line, or even an entire section/page, even if they have been using the "thumb" technique.:E
7th Jul 2012, 20:26
Ok thanks fellas. Yes completely agree, safety first.
7th Jul 2012, 21:12
mrmum, I think Cortina was meaning it works provided that you actually read what your thumb is pointing at.
I do however see advantages of doing it from memory. Especially in tricky airspace with lots of traffic to look out for. The more time your eyes spend looking for potential hazzards outside the better. Looking down on a checklist does not help.
I know you could probably turn that the other way round though and say its not as safe in case you miss something important. I agree with that too.
7th Jul 2012, 21:18
Good point, I have been round the. 737 long enough to know the checklist and most of the QRH. However I follow what Boeing say.
I may have been a tad abrupt with my previous reply, it would have been better to say, by using your thumb, you are less likely to forget or miss a item.
What ever you do, fly safe.
7th Jul 2012, 21:22
In light aircraft with a single pilot when moving, either in the air or on the ground, do checks by memory (using menmonics). When stationary use a printed checklist.
7th Jul 2012, 22:13
I think you may have picked up on this from the 'Bush pilots' thread and the apparent lack of checklist use and that is the typical situation where check are memory, muscle memory, indeed. Skydive flying is another example. You won't last long as a skydive pilot if you insist on having a checklist as long as your arm.
From my own experience in certain scenarios a checklist is merely a hindrance.
Redsnail put it best in the other thread: Well, my old Chief pilot said "if you know why you're doing the checks, then you don't forget them".
They're mainly flying fixed gear, single engine constant speed prop a/c. It really isn't rocket science.
She's been there and done that so she knows what she's talking about but you have to remember these guys are extremely current in the aircraft they fly and it's SOP with the operator.
That doesn't mean you should toss your checklist in the back and try to guess your way through the checks.
Instructors may throw their hands in the air as such heresy but remember most have never worked in that kind of flying and even if they have they're going to teach you properly.
So stick with your checklist for now. Maybe one day flying your little Cub or whatever you won't need it anymore.
7th Jul 2012, 22:29
I have been round the. 737 long enough to know the checklist and most of the QRH. However I follow what Boeing say.
:D Now back on topic, I think the OP is referring to light aircraft.
7th Jul 2012, 22:44
To back this up:
And this, from the medical profession
I am not prepared to waste my time arguing this, :ok:
If it was the case, then during the PPL checkride (or other exam) , the examiner should check if you memorised the checklist...
Rather depends on what your future will hold.
If you're only every going to be flying a basic SEP, then fine forget the printed check and memorise the few checks there are, as most people do if they're only ever going to fly one type.
However, if you're likely to jump from one aircraft to another, say VP prop which needs checking pre-flight, fuel injected engine which is a completely different starting technique to carb, or if you're looking to go to airlines in the future then I would use the checklist every flight purely to keep the checklist using skills current so when you need it, you're not losing your place all the time or having no idea what you're actually checking for.
Also, lets say you only ever fly a PA28. You memorise the checks now, and are flying every few days, it works great. Once you have a month or two without flying (which you definitely will at some point) you come back and realise you're rusty as hell and need the checklist. So even if you memorise the checks, I would still have the list there and follow it through.
It's perfectly fine to not use a check list as a PPL. I usually use it on the ground only but I know everything from memory and let's face it, a C172 isn't rocket science.
8th Jul 2012, 11:01
As many others pointed out, I think there are lots of different opinions on this.
I believe the idea, or the philosophy, behind a checklist is to complete all the items off memory, and then run through the checklist as a final "net" to catch anything that was missed.
If time permits, for example, on the ground - running the "Before Take-Off" Checklist from paper makes sense....or doing the "Descent" Checklist during the cruise. But for checklists which may come during a high workload (i.e. "after take off" or "landing") it could make sense to just do it off memory.
Having said that though, I am always in favor of doing ALL the checklists from paper - especially if you are going to be flying bigger and more complicated planes in the future - its important to establish these good habits now as it will help you later on down the road. Plus, you will probably want to do all your checklists properly for your test flights (i.e. PPL, CPL...etc)
Just my two cents...
8th Jul 2012, 11:28
Checklists serve two purposes.
Firstly, they are used for confirmation that routine memory items have been completed at pre-determined stages of the operation.
Secondly, they direct courses of action for non-routine phases of flight in addition to confirming that memory items have been carried out as required.
In complex aircraft, and certainly in airline transport category aircraft, the checklists are numerous and often require action in combination with more than one checklist. These aircraft types also utilize two pilots normally, as well as possibly three autopilots. As such they enable checklists and "QRH's" to be utilized effectively as part of the operation.
I have to say that I personally find it quite disappointing to see the reliance that PPL trainees often place on their written checklists. In my opinion, basic training should be used to ingrain the use of mnemonics and memory items in the basic operating philosophy of simple aircraft types. Why?
Well, these basic operating mnemonics form the basic operating philosophy of almost every aircraft you are ever likely to fly. They should stay with you throughout your flying career. However you learn them, and whatever form they take, it is (with often minor modification) the same basic mnemonic that gets a 767 round the circuit, as it is a cessna 150 or a PA28. Instilling the confidence in a student during their basic training is (again in my opinion) something that will stay with them throughout their career, and will prevent the "emergency" that seems to form in their mind when the checklist slides under their seat, towards the back of the aircraft, or otherwise gets lost.
On the other side of that argument, is the fact that litigation and the need to train the use of checklist philosophy, presents its own realities that most flying instructors would be correct and quick to point out. Of course they are both very valid points. Checklists are a safety tool, and they are indeed the Standard Operating Procedure in any transport operation.
It therefore follows that in the real world the use of checklists must be taught, and their use properly followed in conjunction with both the aircraft manufacturers and the training organisations SOP's.
Neither method should therefore be exclusive of the other. However, the use of mnemonic memory based checks is still (I believe) fundamental to basic training, and a confidence builder that is not always being employed as often as it should be.
In light aircraft with a single pilot when moving, either in the air or on the ground, do checks by memory (using menmonics). When stationary use a printed checklist.
This is also my own, personal preferred way of doing (teaching) it.
8th Jul 2012, 16:24
Learn the actions / flows, then once finished quickly run through the checklist to make sure you haven't missed anything.
The only checklists handled in a read-and-do sense in the commercial world are non-normals.
Have a look at the A320 normal checklist (pinched this from a sim site via Google, but it's near enough identical to that laid down by Airbus).
8th Jul 2012, 17:18
Simple aircraft should equal simple checklists which should be capable of being committed to memory - with no reduction of safety (TMMPPFFISHH?). Old fashioned, complex aircraft have to have checklists because there is too much to reliably remember. For modern aircraft (& I'm not talking about relics like the 737) an airborne checklist is probably not required (because there are so few items) but few have the guts to say so! Why? Because I'm expected to remember 19 Memory checklists and spew them out at times of high stress, I can surely remember the eight items (three lists) that make up the entire airborne checklist.
10th Jul 2012, 16:39
The reason a checklist is used is to confirm that everything that needs to be done actually has been done. I'll not argue that those responsible for executing complex procedures or those rarely used need a checklist to ensure procedural compliance. However, I will argue that simple a simple checklists like our After Take-off checklist (Gear - UP, Flaps - 0) could and should be committed to memory.
The reason for this is that a Mk I human may start treating simple the normal checklist with contempt because of its simplicity. Once complacency sets in, the next set of checklist are the abnormals and emergency checklists. And these are vital to ensure a safe outcome following a non-standard/irregular event.
However, no matter what my opinion, I'll use a checklist at work because I'm paid to do so. Privately, I never used a checklist for normal operations.
12th Jul 2012, 04:51
I liked your proposal mrmum in #17; memory items when on the move and written when stationary and on reflection realise this is how I operate....
In the many, many jumpseats I sat in (before 911) I don't think I ever saw a professional crew not refer to checklists (sorry about the double negative)... it was one of the things I saw going on in cockpits that made me feel safer as a passenger!
12th Jul 2012, 07:02
Single pilot checks while moving should be idealy be done from memory, on the ground, stationary it very much depends on how much you fly, though doing it from the checklist in this situation will never be wrong. Multi crew can use checks at all stages for exactly that reason - one can fly while the other reads, single crew whilst flying you have to do both so not so good.
12th Jul 2012, 09:18
I've been taught not to use checklists. If you are methodical then you shouldn't miss anything on light aircraft. You can walk round the aircraft checking everything that doesn't require power in one circuit, then perhaps a second circuit for services.
Before I started I was given what I should check along with pics of the aircraft and my instructor went round it in detail with me (and went round it with me the first few times).
I have generic mneumonics for pre take off, pre landing, after take off and emergencies ingrained in my skull. Some letters don't make sense on this aircraft but do on others, but are taught as standard so it is easier to move from one aircraft to another. I've successfully used the same mneumonics with a Bolkow Junior, PA28 (has a separate primer) and SA Bulldog (VP Prop). If I'm not sure of something, I have checklists available to me (whats that hot start procedure for an injected engine again...).
I can't see whats wrong with that. It means I know what's behind every check so I'm not blindly list following. Last time I saw someone use a checklist, they walked round the plane about 10 times taking twice as long and didn't do any extra checks compared to me.
12th Jul 2012, 09:44
As a newly qualified PPL with less than 100 hours I am more than happy to use the checklist on the ground before and after my flight. Even with the checklist in hand I have forgotten to set one stage of flaps on take off in the Robin. Only noticed when I went retract them at 300ft! In the air I use mnemonics. I have enough on my plate aviating (isn't that the first rule?) to keep me occupied.
12th Jul 2012, 09:46
The reality is that in a light, single engine aircraft there is virtually nothing that will lead to an immediate catastrophic failure if you forget it. The only thing that will immediately cause a lot of damage is to forget to lower the gear before landing. And most aircraft have some sort of audible/visible warning for that.
So if you manage to get the engine running, chances are that the aircraft will actually fly just fine when you open the throttle. And if you close the throttle, the houses will become bigger, and chances are that you will make a fine landing.
Sure, without deploying flaps properly you might not get the best take-off and landing performance. Without applying carb heat at strategic moments your engine might ice up. Without leaning and enriching at the proper moments you might not get the best performance and lowest cost. If you forget to adjust the RPM (CS prop) at the proper moments the engine might wear out faster, you might not get book performance and so forth. So I'm not advocating that flying is just a matter of starting the engine and pushing the throttle, and forget the rest. But in a light aircraft, if you do things from memory and you happen to forget something, it's usually not the end of the world - apart from the landing gear deployment obviously.
For me personally, in an aircraft I'm familiar with, I do things from memory. And in aircraft I'm not familiar with I either adapt my memorized routine, or take out the checklist.
But if you do things from memory, make sure that you still apply a logical and methodical method. Certain tasks, such as starting the engine, always consist of the same steps. Mnemonics or simple counting items work well to remember these. BUMFITCH, FREDA, HASELL and such are still very useful
For more complex checklist parts, particularly the pre-takeoff checks, I always use the same flow through the cockpit to make sure everything is the way it should be. And that flow is dictated by the cockpit/panel layout. For the Robin that would be:
- Coaming row: Check/test warning lights, set interior lights, set/check exterior lights
- Instrument panel: Check the standard six (QNH set, DI set, check others)
- Avionics stack: From top to bottom: check proper frequencies and volumes set, transponder correct code and STBY, GPS has satellite lock, is loaded with the plan and set properly.
- RHS of the panel: There's not a lot here but give it a once-over anyway. (Reset G-meter, check ELT in STBY)
- Bottom of the panel: Check all engine instruments in the green, fuel sufficient, magnetos both, cabin heat settings correct.
- Center console: Check flaps, set for TO. Check/set trim, fuel cock open, carb heat off
- Last: Cabin secure, canopy closed, seatbelts fastened, controls full&free.
Obviously if your cockpit has a different layout then a different flow will apply.
12th Jul 2012, 09:58
Not one of the checklists I've seen has "switch off phone."
The Cessna checklist for the aircraft I used to fly had "Master switch on" before "Check gear selector down."
I make my own now.
12th Jul 2012, 10:22
Oooh, good subject!
For light aircraft, I tend to side with the "none or optional" crowd. Personally, I do a methodical but reasonably rapid scan around the cockpit to make sure that the important knobs and levers are in the required position, like Backpacker above. I try to look at things as though I'd never seen them before and think: "how should XXX be set up for this stage of flight?" as an open question.
In the airline world, checklists form an important part of the operation but they are not infallible, even when being used by two (or more) people. It's relatively easy, in challenge-and-response, to respond with what you *expect* to see (or what is normal and you've got very used to seeing) rather than what is *actually there*. I've witnessed similar things happen with solo checklists in GA, when the checklist overrides reality!
IMHO going over in your own mind how you are going to operate the aircraft, be it normally or in an emergency, *before* you actually go aviating, is worth a thousand checklists...
12th Jul 2012, 14:25
On the ground I use them, in the air it's all memory. The old Commander is dead simple anyway, so can't really mess up bad. My one personal gotcha is that I sometimes forget to raise flaps.
12th Jul 2012, 14:41
I think there's yet another variable...
and that is how familiar are you with that particular plane...
have you always done everything correctly? perfect practice makes perfect, but bad practice makes mistakes.
Some things you absolutely should have memorized - what to do for in-flight or start up fire, what to do for an aborted take-off.
But if you're not very familiar with your new to you cirrus, you should probably be checking the checklist downwind after doing your GUMP check, until you're sure that every time you check it you've got it right.
The thing is, we tend to not use the checklist, and rely on our memory, for the most critical phases of flight, but use the checklist for those that are less critical.
(all of this is referring to light planes only, I don't think it applies to larger planes)
I do believe that there are a few phases of flight where missing a single item on the checklist can, in fact, be disastrous, gear down on landing... what is the maximum speed for gear or flap extension... carb heat just before landing if you need a go around (all the other knobs get pushed for a go-around, so if you have not pulled the heat and there is ice, it could be a problem)... for a twin knowing the Vyse (unless you have a blue line on the speed indicator) during takeoff...
But reviewing the checklist just before that phase of flight, when you have a bit of time, might be a good idea.
12th Jul 2012, 14:57
I have always looked on flying as a building block mentality - A,B,C,D. Standard routine. Once you come away from that, other variables can distract. It is like the standard approach, to an unfamiliar airfield, where until you are familiar with it, it is better to do a standard overhead join. This has been the discussion point in many threads:rolleyes:
Checklists are part of the 'routine'. Why not use them? I also feel it is very much type dependent, but when you are flying multiple types. then I think they should be used continually. It is good practice.
There have been some interesting comments on this thread like:-
It's perfectly fine to not use a check list as a PPL. I usually use it on the ground only but I know everything from memory and let's face it, a C172 isn't rocket science
Well if thats the way you wish to fly, feel free.
12th Jul 2012, 15:45
As the PIC, you are responsible for flying the aircraft in accordance with it's manufacturer's specified procedures. If you are very confident that you can do this from memory, and get it right (probably 'cause you have hundreds hours on type) - it's up to you.
Do I always use a paper checklist? Nope! After 3100 hours in my C 150, There's not much I'm going to gain from referring to a checklist for it. However, a month ago, I flew four types in the same day - I used the paper checklist for the other three: A Lake Amphib I was landing on the water for the first time this season (wheels up for landing please!), a DA-42, whose engines are somewhat new to me, and a Quest Kodiak, which I had never flown before.
In any of those three types, I could not present a good argument for not using the paper checklist, based upon either my non familiarity with the type, or my recent currency on the type.
In my opinion, if you have to ask if you should use the paper checklist - you should.
12th Jul 2012, 17:34
is it acceptable to do checklists while flying (and on the ground) entirely from memory? At a PPL level at least.
I think the answer is: whetever is expected of you in the flight test :)
12th Jul 2012, 18:06
So... I've got hundreds of hours on type.... I'm lying in a field, surrounded by wreckage saying to myself "I could have sworn I'd checked the oil".... the trouble is that memory of repetition/routine means I am recalling checking it the flight before this one but I didn't actually check it today.... luckily I'm still alive because I forgot to check the fuel level as well and there's not enough left to catch fire!!
12th Jul 2012, 18:16
Checking the oil shouldn't need to be in a checklist. It's simple good airmanship and something that you would do no matter what the aircraft is.
I mean, would you ever set off without doing a mag check? After any reasonable number of hours, things like this should be second nature...
The same goes for 99% of the stuff on a checklist.
If it's an unfamiliar type, then it would clearly be prudent to refer to a checklist just in case there are any unexpected gotcha's, but I question the value of it in your usual mount?
the trouble is that memory of repetition/routine means I am recalling checking it the flight before
Doing it by memory isn't really the right way, doing it logically is the right way.
So walking around the aircraft you check the fuel drains, stall warner, oil, prop, and so on - just in the pattern you walk around. You can't miss or forget anything then. Just make sure you end up back where you started and you know you've checked everything!
Likewise, on the inside, just do a logical scan of the panel and controls and you won't miss anything.
This is then transferrable to other aircraft too.
Big Pistons Forever
13th Jul 2012, 00:52
A couple of general comments.
1) It is important to differentiate between "do lists" (ie you read the item and then do it and then move to the next item etc etc) and "checklists" ( ie you do the whole check like the prelanding one and then you check that you have not missed anything by reading the "checklist"). For PPL's I teach that in general, checks that are done on the ground with the aircraft stopped or in cruise flight are done as "do lists" and the ones where the aircraft is moving or manoevering in the air are done as "checklists". So you get the following
Prestart = do list
After start= checklist
Taxi = do list
Runup = checklist
Pretakeoff = do list
Cruise = do list
Descent and approach = do list
Prelanding = checklist
Afterlanding = checklist
shutdown = do list
2) Flight schools are notorious for IMO stupidly long checklists. This is because they use the checklist as an instructional tool instead of it s true purpose which is as a safety of flight tool. The only items on a checklist should be ones where if they are missed the safety of the flight will be degraded. Following this philosophy greatly reduces the number of items on a checklist. For example my C172 prelanding check is only 4 items: fuel both, mixture rich, carb heat as required and brakes checked.
3) Checklists should flow in a logical order. Again for the C 172 all my normal and emergency checks start at the fuel selector and make a counterclockwise circle around the instrument panel ending at the throttle. Many checklists jump all over the place without any logical order.
If you are an experienced pilot fling a simple airplane a lot like Pilot DAR's C 150 then a simple flow check without using any paper is IMO perfectly normal. However if you are a low time PPL flying 15 hours a year then the discipline of full and complete checklist use is IMO imperative for safe flying.
13th Jul 2012, 03:10
All this written checklist nonsense seems to have seeped in with the idea that flying a lightie should be conducted like you're in a great big jet airliner.
Oy! you are in a sprots type aircraft with ONE pilot.
Checklists going round and round in your head as you woke in the middle of the night was part and parcel of learning to fly.
FLY being the operative word.
Fly your lighte and love the experience, don't sit there pretending you're a big airline pilot OPERATING it.
VFR = 'SEE and be seen'. Head down, finding your place in a list on a peice of paper isn't looking outside from side to side to make sure the fly splat on the windscreen isn't actually the aeroplane you're going to hit.
Airliners have two pilots. One reads, the other looks at his instruments or outside with glances to the item. If there's two of you flying together often, one calling a checklist while the other flies is good.
I have no idea why flip down checklists attached to the aircraft have never become common. All who have used them reckon they're the ant's pants. Written word... but the tab is either going up when you complete the action to show it's done or down if it is a latter checklist.
Usually it is done from memory and the tab is moved as 'the tick in the box'.
Sadly we are losing our dependence on ourselves and our brain to artificial aids... paper checklists Vs memory and calculators Vs mental arithmetic.
How long to go to the next waypoint mentally, is within a minute if you do it roughly while looking around outside. Pressing many buttons on a calculator in turbulence... not good... did you mistakenly hit the wrong one? and how many new age pilots have the mental arithmetic capability to know if the answer is reasonable.
13th Jul 2012, 03:49
aircraft with ONE pilot
Who is twice as likely to forget something as two pilots would be.....
I never expect to be challenged if I choose to use the paper checklist at any non emergency phase of flight, so long as doing so does not put me behind the aircraft, or otherwise detract from safety. Nor, will I challenge another pilot who does the same. Some things are just better being sure about:
When I fly the C 182 all by myself, should I use a checklist to assure that I land with the wheels retracted as appropriate? - It's what I teach.....
13th Jul 2012, 05:52
I think we could possibly use a comparison with driving a car to help think about this. When I get in the car to drive to the airfield I don't use a checklist at any point. I have had the same car for awhile, I am familiar with its rather simple systems, and don't feel the need of a checklist. I do, as a matter of common sense, check the oil, make sure I have fuel in the tank, and that the windscreen is clean.
Then I pull the cub out of the hangar and do much the same. I don't require a checklist to remind me to shut the door and put on a seatbelt any more than I do with my car. I will then go round the inside of the aircraft in a logical sequence, based on the layout of the aircraft.
Now, suppose I hire a car that I am not familiar with. I will learn the differences between that and my own car, and make a systematic check round the cabin before I move off. With an unfamiliar but still simple aircraft I might well use a paper checklist to help with this procedure. However, I will still work on a logical and methodical flow check first and then CHECK that I haven't forgotten anything before moving off. In other words I am using a checklist, not a DO list.
With more complex types the DO list might well be needed. This can be, for example, a particular starting procedure outside the scope of a simple memnonic.
In the air or on the road I would rather keep my attention outside. The pre landing check is rather simple for most aircraft and can be done from memory. It requires appropriate tank selection, power settings, carb heat and undercarriage and flap operation as required. A memnonic after preparing the aircraft to land will check this. Again, it is a CHECK. By the end of the downwind leg the items above should have been done. You shouldn't need to look at a piece of paper to know what speed you should be flying the approach, or to remind you to lower the flaps. Once back at the hangar you can stop the engine and if you feel the need, use a checklist before you note the tach time etc.
Please don't think I am telling you what to do here. You are all adults and can decide what you prefer. Just don't complicate what is actually a rather simple process. If you do use a checklist, for most singles it should fit on to one side of A4 paper. Anything more is a flight Manual :ok:
13th Jul 2012, 06:06
I use a checklist for most ground things, and ought to be using it for some air things like configuring the system for an ILS.
Big Pistons Forever
14th Jul 2012, 22:20
I use a checklist for most ground things, and ought to be using it for some air things like configuring the system for an ILS.
I would argue what you are discussing is moving from the checklist realm to more of a SOP. This is IMO one area where GA in general and flight training in particular, do not do very well.
Rather then teach a consistent and coherent way to fly the aircraft and operate the systems (for complex and or IFR types) people are head down reading needlessly long checklist but doing a different thing on every flight.
15th Jul 2012, 06:09
If the checklist is too long, yes.
But most in-flight tasks (that might benefit from one) are not long.
For example, the ILS config is:
1. HDG mode current
2. NAV/GPS switch to NAV
3. EHSI Course Pointer to runway inbound
4. Autopilot to APR
Personally I also set the airport as a DCT and put the GPS in the OBS mode, with the OBS bearing being the runway inbound (the bearing gets set automatically from the CP if done after step 1) and that monitors the approach laterally. Not great if it is a big multi-instrument-runway place (the DCT isn't going to point to quite the right place, perhaps) but a lot better than nothing.
16th Jul 2012, 01:01
We get into a rhythm with planes we commonly fly. This can be both good and bad. Good in that the "to do" list comes naturally from experience, and the checklist (check that we did list) becomes memory too. Then we get even more relaxed flying the plane again, as everything "fits". This will then extend to a class of aircraft, which are all similar. So far, it sounds like a good set of circumstances - no "Swiss cheese" holes lining up, for us to fall through, and have an accident.
But then, we allow ourselves to become more distracted than ideal by something outside the aircraft, (a Swiss cheese hole - possibly), then something else does not go quite the way we planned (like a landing gear indicator fails to illuminate when it should). Now, our attention is multiply reduced. Now's the time to pull out the paper checklist, even for an aircraft with which we are familiar, and double check what we are doing.
Because, no one plans to have an accident! When I finally do, I want to be walking away from the bent plane, with the checklist in hand, saying "well at least I did not forget XXX!".
It's up to is to prevent unintended events. Sometimes that's done by reverting to the basics - which certainly includes taking a bit of extra time, and reading the paper checklist. It's your job as the proficient pilot to know when those times are - before you miss the important thing!
I was thinking all this yesterday and today, as I checked myself out in the taildragger amphibian for the first time this season....