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Checklists according to CASA

Old 13th Sep 2014, 08:32
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Checklists according to CASA

In a recent newspaper article on Primary School teaching methods, leading education academic Stephen Dinham, stated that primary schooling is based on "folklore, dogma, ritual and untested assumptions"

Seems to me that description applies equally to aircraft checklists used by some flying schools.

Some years ago, CASA Victoria/Tasmania Region issued a directive that only the aircraft manufacturer's Pilot Information Manual checklists should be used in flying school aircraft. I understand further that to ensure compliance, these checklists had to be incorporated in company Operations Manuals. Does any reader here know if that directive still applies and if CASA audits cover that policy? The question arose during a recent flying school instructor discussion session on standardisation.

Commercially available checklists for various types of aircraft are often to be found on the shelves of Pilot Shops at Essendon and Moorabbin. These appear to emanate from USA and while attractively packaged have far more items per checklist than those produced by the aircraft manufacturer.

Add to that lengthy and often superfluous checklist items taught as Gospel at Australian flying schools, it is no wonder that new students have their heads in the cockpit in the circuit area instead of looking outside for other traffic and increasing their situational awareness.

Perhaps the CASA directive was aimed at essential items that the manufacturer, through certification flight tests, deemed a flight safety requirement. Thus the Cessna 152 Information Manual before landing items are just three. They are:

1. Seats, Seat Belts, Shoulder Harness....Adjust and Lock.
2. Mixture....Rich.
3. Carburettor Heat...On (apply full heat before reducing power)

Now, contrast those three items with a typical Australian flying school before landing mantra of:
1. Brakes.................Tested
2. Undercarriage.......down and locked (fixed) - Not applicable.
3. Mixture.................Rich
4. Master switch.........On
5. Magneto switch......On both
6. Fuel......................On
7. Oil temps and pressures.....check
8. Harness and hatches...........Secure.

Then on final: 1. Propeller Pitch lever.....Fine. (not applicable)
2. Undercarriage.....Confirm down and Locked.
3. Flaps. As required.
4. Carb Heat......Off.

Note a total of twelve Before Landing checklist items compared with the manufacturer's recommended items of just three.

Operationally unnecessary check list items can result in student pilots becoming over-loaded as they are forced to spend more time concentrating on superfluous cockpit checks instead of giving priority to flying the aeroplane. It all starts with flying school instructors who teach what they too, were taught when they learned to fly. The cycle is then repeated.

Instructor course CFI's need to bite the bullet and discard "folklore, dogma, ritual and untested assumptions" in checklists and try to keep the memory items clear, concise and logical.

Last edited by Centaurus; 13th Sep 2014 at 08:55.
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Old 13th Sep 2014, 09:04
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Downwind checks really take no time to do once you are used to them. What, 4 seconds?

Final checks take no time to do. Why not wrote them in?

Are you really quibbling about several seconds over the course of a few minutes of "look below/think" cockpit scan time versus look-out-the-window?
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Old 13th Sep 2014, 09:51
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Centaurus, Perhaps you are talking about a side effect of the "Authorised Flight Manual" saga that started in the late 90's.

If the checklists you speak of are contained in the AFM's then they are the 'approved and accepted" checklists by CAsA.

I hope this makes sense.

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Old 13th Sep 2014, 10:22
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This might shed some light on the topic of CASA required content of checklists
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Old 13th Sep 2014, 11:04
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Downwind checks really take no time to do once you are used to them. What, 4 seconds? Final checks take no time to do. Why not wrote them in?
Extract from linked CASA ATO Manual:

Checklists should be kept as short as practical to limit diversion of attention or “head down” while carrying out the checklist
• The addition of unnecessary items could be a distraction and should be removed
• Items on a checklist not required for a specific aircraft should be removed or clearly identified to alert crew the equipment is not fitted.

Seems clear enough to me. Centaurus has a point.

Judd is offline  
Old 13th Sep 2014, 17:50
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The problem still exists. A certain individual in the big brother house is adamant that the full a/c list be used.
I am personally happy with a flow then check list, usually abbreviated with gotcha items.
Obviously the Ops. Manual needs to have a proper explanation of the process used but once squared away this is a good system.
Unfortunately due to this person we seem to be running backwards at speed.
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Old 13th Sep 2014, 22:10
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Centaurus is 100% correct on this.

The important thing to understand is that a checklist is not a "do list"; actions should be accomplished from a flow pattern, with the checklist as a final filter for the "gotcha" items.

A large Asian carrier was fond of adding additional checklist items each time they had an incident, or learned of an incident at another carrier. The result was that their checklists were about 4 times longer than the manufacturers, and to complete the checklist in the time available, many of their pilots "sped up" the checklist reading (and responding). Result : a bit like the school pledge or the Lord's payer - everybody was reciting the words, but had no real understanding of why, and nobody was really checking anything. In other words totally ineffective.

Checklists should be simple and effective.
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Old 13th Sep 2014, 22:22
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A large Asian carrier was fond of adding additional checklist items each time they had an incident, or learned of an incident at another carrier. The result was that their checklists were about 4 times longer than the manufacturers
Unfortunately the RAAF has the same philosophy when it comes to check lists.
The important thing to understand is that a checklist is not a "do list"; actions should be accomplished from a flow pattern, with the checklist as a final filter for the "gotcha" items.
Again, another point that the RAAF doesn't get.
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Old 13th Sep 2014, 22:55
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Yeah I cringe whenever I hear bulls**t checks... Master On, Harnesses Secure (on downwind). Did you really take them off??? Where did I miss those items on the checklist?
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Old 13th Sep 2014, 23:06
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My favourite is the down and locked call in fixed gear aircraft.... It's not adding to safety, or, as claimed preparing for later transition to retract aircraft, it's preparing for a gear up in a retract aircraft when just making the superfluous call without any action has become ingrained.

Last edited by WAC; 13th Sep 2014 at 23:07. Reason: Can't @&$-%#£ Spell
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 00:11
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Back in my student days I wrote down every check I was taught by my Instructors.
Pre-start in a PA28:
Brakes on
Fuel fullest tank
Mixture rich
Throttle set
Carb heat cold
Primer locked
Master switch on
Fuel pump on (check pressure)
"Clear Prop"

Simple and I had memorised some 112 checks from closing the door before start-up to shutting down after flight.

I was watching a Youtube video some months ago and was shocked, dismayed, astonished and a plethora of other superlatives to watch the "pilot" going through the pre-start checklist on a PA28 by referring to a written laminated sheet. The superlatives mentioned above were due to this said "pilot" having to reading each and every item, checking it before proceeding to the next item on the list.

My memorised list (that I used practice in an aircraft on the ground to develop muscle memory and familiarity) takes around 10 to 13 seconds. This Youtube clown took close to a minute. If they found it necessary to do that checklist read on the ground, what they hell were they like when airborne, in a high workload environment with some moderate turbulence thrown in to make the reading and place-keeping in the check list order. I also wondered how this person would be able to remember and read back a clearance that consisted of more than a couple of words if they found it necessary to rely on a written checklist.

Checklists are critical and I understand that there is a time and place for written ones but in the above Youtube instance........really?

WAC, I would be one of the guilty ones who used BUMP when downwind.
Brakes - Off
Undercarriage - Fixed (easily change to Down in a Retractable)
Mixture - Rich
Pitch - Fixed (easily change to Fine in a CSU machine and there was always the Blue knob reminder when the mixture check was done)

Can't remember where I first read it but checklists were described as Drills of Vital Action. As mentioned above, they are not a "to do" list but more a "stay alive" list. As a single example, how many airliners have crashed because Flaps were not set before take-off.

Maybe I am too judgemental and my bucket of luck is bone dry and my bucket of experience has yet to cover the bottom of the bucket.
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 00:23
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Interesting that only about half of the 3 item Cessna checklist appears in the typical checklist:

1. Seats, Seat Belts, Shoulder Harness....Adjust and Lock.
2. Mixture....Rich.
3. Carburettor Heat...On (apply full heat before reducing power)
1) Seat belts/shouldder harness: yes, seat: no
2) Mixture rich: yes
3) Carb heat: no (typically applied some time later, but not specifically in the checklist)
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 02:27
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Re for example the listed number in the Preflight procedure (Boeing 737) for the Standby Power switch I wouldn't have a clue but I sure would pick it up on a scan flow. You don't have a challenge and response for every single item a pilot looks at or even sets up. However, many flying schools design checklists so that almost every item is read out. At a typical VDO cost for a light single at four dollars a minute (more for a twin) watching a student reading a lengthy checklist on the ground with the engine's running is another wonderful money spinner for the instructor and the flying school.

As someone said earlier a scan flow system of checking items takes a few seconds if the student is taught correctly - and that means encouraging the student to sit in a cockpit without an engine running so he can learn the scan. There is one well known flying school in Victoria that does not permit a student to sit in the cockpit of a C172 on the tarmac without the presence of an instructor.
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 06:30
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Not just the PA28 and C172 where this has got silly.

There was AIP Supp H37/14 earlier this year, asking crews at Sydney to:
  1. complete checks prior to line-up
  2. taxi promptly when cleared to line-up
  3. keep aircraft moving from line-up to take-off
  4. take-off promptly on clearance

Must have been a significant problem. These instructions now appear in DAPs/Jepps ... reminding (anyone guess who) the multiple crew of large airliners how to be professional.
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 12:17
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I watched a guy one night with a grumman full of passengers close the canopy for a night flight to a nearby airport.
we stand watching....watching.
8 minutes later the campy slides back with the cry. "I can't fly it without a checklist, I think I've got an old one in the hangar."

this a single engine grumman.

they eventually took off and made it to destination ...though I wouldn't have flown with him.

a few years later and a few aircraft later he was flying back under the control zones and ran an engine on the twin out of fuel. they shut down the good engine, crashed and both died.
I'll bet he died frantically trying to find the right section of the checklists.
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Old 14th Sep 2014, 13:49
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"I can't fly it without a checklist, I think I've got an old one in the hangar."
Still happens. Few years back I was asked to take over the ab-initio training in a Cessna 152 of a chap who had about 10 hours dual on type. Really pleasant personality and very intelligent. His previous grade 3 instructor who had done all his flying instruction so far, insisted on checklist reading for everything. . Even for the walk around inspection. At the aircraft we strapped in and waited for him to start checks.

He fumbled in his pocket then got embarrassed and apologised and said he left his checklist in his car. Forget a checklist just run a scan, I said. Haven't been taught how to run a scan, he said. So I showed him. We flew and did circuits and he was OK. After we finished flying we taxied to the tarmac and I waited for him to shut down the engine. More apologies poor chap and I felt so sorry for him. He said he didn't know how to shut down the engine without a checklist to tell him what to do. And this was a Cessna 152.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 04:54
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Every new senior instructor/cheif pilot will add a line to the list for posterity..part of the human desire to make a mark or build a legacy..

..give it a decade or so and go back to your old school..guarantee they've completely reinvented the wheel!!
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 09:00
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CASA FOIs have a lot to answer for on this one, where scan flow doesn't get a look in, and short AFM vital actions checklists become extensive procedures lists and, in two pilot operations, they become challenge and reply procedures.

Apparently, CASA regard the power give a direction as absolute, and overriding CAR 138, which requires observance of the AFM. This CASA proposition has a very serious legal hole.

It is an interesting legal trail, but under Australian law, not just aviation law, as the AFM forms part of the certification of the aeroplane, and the AFM is part of the certification, failure to comply with a condition of the certification, ie; the AFM, invalidates the C.of A.

In short, CASA is still acting as if the pre-1998 were still in place.

Tootle pip!!
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 09:54
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the problem lies in semantics over what many flight manuals actually contain.

"Normal Operating PROCEDURES"...or checklists???

An examination of a typical Cessna Citation flight Manual, the Flight Manual heading is "Normal Operating Procedures"..

Doesn't say anything about "Checklist".

One would assume therefore that what is contained in the FM are procedures required for the safe operation of the aircraft.

There are generally instruction on how to conduct a take off or a landing.
The procedure looks like a CAsA seriously going to suggest that an FO is going to read and expect a response while the aircraft is howling down the runway, or flaring to land??? of course not!! but CAsA only half accept the hypothesis that what the flight manual heading suggests are procedure lists, never the less they insist that the rest is actually a checklist.

The micro management of aircrew by CAsA via the "Opinion" of FOI's, where PIC's are required to Fly to a Script, dictated by an FOI, is inherently dangerous and will ultimately lead to an accident.

But of course CAsA will not be liable, the poor old CP who accepted the Bullying of the FOI and instituted procedures he knew were unsafe carries the can.

Maybe that's why there is a marked reluctance of people prepared to accept a CP role.
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Old 15th Sep 2014, 10:21
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Did the flying school bumpfh, puf etc checks when learning to fly a couple (30) years ago but my all time favourite that has stuck well was from an old instructor mate in NSW. Pre rolling .... ' that'll kill ya (trim) that'll kill ya (fuel) and that'll just embarrass ya (dg). '
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