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Checklist use

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Checklist use

Old 6th Mar 2009, 17:55
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Checklist use

I assume most checklists are to check.

ie. You carry out the action then carry out the checklist to confirm you have not missed anything.

Coming from a GA enviroment I have always carried out a flow first left to right top to bottom then called for the checklist.

Why then does the checklist not necessarily follow the same order as the flow, to me this keeps things simple ?

Appreciate your views or am i missing something ?
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Old 6th Mar 2009, 21:45
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Which aircraft type are you flying?

A checklist isn't always going to follow YOUR flow if you have had to make it up, as the checklist maker won't know which flow you are using! In most cases when a flow is specified (eg Boeing) the checklists have mostly followed it (certainly on the 744 and 767 anyway).
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Old 6th Mar 2009, 23:49
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In my opinion, as worthless as it may be with 21,000 hours and over forty years being a pilot, a Checklist is exactly that, a Checklist.

Not a Dolist.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 00:22
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I'm sorry but checklists are important, even the most seasoned pilot can forget something.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 02:10
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Other than when learning a new type (and then only for the first few sessions), the only time to use a checklist as a DO list is when dealing with abnormal situations where the actions could be complex. The manufacturer does not WANT you to commit such checklists to memory, for obvious reasons.
Certain emergencies where time is critical (such as fire) require you to act from memory, then follow up with a checklist, just to be sure to be sure.
The normal operating checklist is usually set up in some logical 'flow' sequence. But not always, as sometimes various know-better chief pilots get in on the act and add all sorts of stuff. They confuse what a checklist is supposed to cover - i.e. those items which if forgotten could endanger the operation of the AIRCRAFT, with stuff that is pure airmanship and has no place in a checklist, e.g. getting an ATC clearance, releasing the brakes, switching on lights etc.
Most aircraft I have flown (and that's many different types) can be flown in normal operations from the before engine start phase right through to shutdown completely from memory if logic and scan flows are used. The normal operating checklist is the follow-up tool only.

Last edited by Mach E Avelli; 7th Mar 2009 at 02:12. Reason: typo
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 04:34
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Over many years, checklists have been developed to try to prevent us from missing certain vital items before we carry out a maneouvre dependant on those itemse.g. Flaps and trimmers set prior to Take-Off, etc.
Most follow the same direction or order as your previously mentioned 'flow-pattern' and are logical and well thought out.
Sadly, some Ops directors/Chief Pilots/Training Captains can't help but change things when they get the job.
Hence we have checklists that mention Generators, followed by Flap settings, followed by pressurisaton checks. A complete hash and only there to satisfy the inflated ego of the man who changed it in the first place.
These men have no place in the safe conduct of aviation but sadly they are everywhere in positions of authority!
Heaven preserve us from them.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 06:20
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Small question:

If you read a checklist,do you need a confirmation of the guy next to you that every item is done or do you just verify yourself?
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 06:35
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Different operators have different procedures. Who says what and when also may depend on how critical an item is perceived to be.
Typically before and after start checklists will be do-challenge-check-respond while many of the in-flight checks should allow one pilot (support pilot or PNF) to do-check-self-respond so as not to distract the pilot who is flying (PF).
Many operators have a double check of the landing gear before landing only e.g. PF calls 'gear down, landing checklist' PNF selects the gear and does the other stuff, like arming speedbrakes etc. Then PNF reads and self responds until he gets to 'Gear' which is a challenge. PF is required to check and respond e.g. 'Down, 3 greens' and PNF follows up with 'down 3 greens'. The reasoning behind this, is that at times of high workload, sometimes responses can tend to be automatically cued by the challenge rather than resultant from actually checking the item.
To prove this on checkrides sometimes I would start challenging from a totally inappropriate but familiar checklist and listen to the other guy give the responses to that checklist and not the one needed. Good for making a point.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 13:12
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Why then does the checklist not necessarily follow the same order as the flow, to me this keeps things simple ?
Great question.

No real simple answer. But consider this....

Pre landing checklist. What do you want to ensure? The cabin is secure, the aircraft is in landing configuration.

You could call the checklist in order of 'flows'. That is, call it as you suggest, in the order in which tasks were done.

You could call the checklist in order of 'killer items'. That is, call the item of highest importance - if it is not set, will pose the greatest risk to the safety of the flight in the upcoming manoeuvre.

That way, if the checklist is interrupted by ATC call or other threat and not resumed.....

If you are interested, plenty of stuff out there on checklist design. Try Degani and Weiner from NASA. Google them.
"Cockpit Checklists - Concepts, design, and use" would be a good starter.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 13:17
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Most items are on checklists because someone forgot that item at one time or other.
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Old 8th Mar 2009, 09:40
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If you read a checklist,do you need a confirmation of the guy next to you that every item is done or do you just verify yourself?
The after take off checklist in the Boeing 737 is read aloud (challenge) by the PNF and he also replies (responds) to his own words. Boeing have used this philosophy since the first 737 flew. Despite this there have been countless incidents where the PNF has omitted to check that the aircraft is indeed pressurising and this has invariably been due to pressurisation switches mis-selection. The Helios Airlines B737 accident is an example.

Over hundreds of hours of simulator instruction, time and again I have watched the after take off checklist in the 737 ballsed up with the PNF reading and replying to himself without actually checking the pressurisation instruments and the captain too engrossed in other things to double check the F/O has done his job correctly.

Usually the first indication that the aircraft was never pressurising after take off in the first place, is the cabin altitude warning sounding at 10,000 ft followed by a startled "what the hell is that" from both crew members.

The whole point behind checklist philosophy is one person challenges and the other responds. Not so with the potentially deadly after take off checklist Boeing philosophy, where the captain is left out of the loop because he doesn't have to reply.
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Old 8th Mar 2009, 11:28
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Tee Emm, I agree in part. After takeoff, the only item that is critical is the pressurization, so why not have a 10,000 ft check challenge-response for that item only? By 10,000 ft the PF has the autopilot engaged, the aeroplane is probably on final departure track and so that is the time to have a good look around before starting the housekeeping.
Immediately after takeoff is no time to be distracting PF with non-essential challenge-response. So who cares if the gear or flaps are not up? It will fly like a dog, but it probably won't crash and most guys will only screw this bit up once or twice before the embarrassment factor kicks in so they never do it again.
But yes, the pressurization is a special case, but not at low level, please.
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Old 8th Mar 2009, 14:20
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My previous operator had an SOP at FL100 with a call by the F/E of "Flight level 100, Oxygen and Pressurisation checked".

Current operator doesn't do this but I always say this to myself (whilst checking of course) and sometimes say it out loud when tired, as an automatic thing.
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Old 9th Mar 2009, 19:04
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chekc

oops...


check!
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Old 9th Mar 2009, 19:49
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Over hundreds of hours of simulator instruction, time and again I have watched the after take off checklist in the 737 ballsed up with the PNF reading and replying to himself without actually checking the pressurisation instruments and the captain too engrossed in other things to double check the F/O has done his job correctly.
hey Tee Emm, I see your point being from a captains perspective but its not always the F/O that makes the mistakes

Ciao!
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Old 9th Mar 2009, 20:43
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Be it read and do or do and check or whatever.
The main thing is that every pilot in that operation uses the checklist in the same way and uses the same terminology, in short use it as specified in the SOP so that this discussion does not end up on the flightdeck...

/LnS
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Old 9th Mar 2009, 21:50
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Checklists

Ideally, checklists are best used as a "Challenge/Response" METHOD OF ENSURING THAT ALL NECESSARY ITEMS ARE COMPLETED. The problem is that some "parrot" the checklist without confirming the action has been taken and the configuration is as called for. Two thirds of my life have been spent in crew situations where I have "run" the checklist. I have experienced both the "Challenge/Action/Response" system and the "Check that it has been done" system. I am convinced that the "Challenge/Action/Response" is least likely to result in items being missed. Whichever system is used, the imperative is to ENSURE ITEMS ARE ACTIONED AND THE CONFIGURATION IS AS IT SHOULD BE.
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Old 11th Mar 2009, 11:47
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Immediately after takeoff is no time to be distracting PF with non-essential challenge-response. So who cares if the gear or flaps are not up? It will fly like a dog,
Keep in mind that when a reputable manufacturer like Boeing or Airbus design a checklist, they just don't fling a few words together and say try that. There is careful research into its design and applicability to the environment in which the aircraft will likely be used. Then it is thoroughly checked by qualified test pilots and no doubt by the aviation human factors people. Finally it's a good bet the legal people go through it to minimise the chances of future litigation if some dumb pilot from a dumb operator changes the manufacturer's checklist to suit the chief pilots ego.

To say as you do, that "who cares if the gear and flaps are not up" by the time you reach 10,000 ft smacks of an amateur pilot response and really there is little point in continuing the discussion.

The Boeing 737 FCOM gives the hint on the importance of exactly when to read the after take off checklist when it states: "After flap retraction is complete do the AFTER TAKE-OFF CHECKLIST." It doesn't say wait until 10,000 ft. Another pertinent paragraph this time from the FCTM states "After flaps and slats retraction is complete, select VNAV or set desired climb speed in the MCP speed window. Before selecting VNAV, flaps should be retracted because VNAV does not provide overspeed protection for the leading edge devices."

In any case it is logical to check the pressurisation early in the climb sequence (it takes less than a second to look at the cabin pressurisation needles) as per manufacturer's advice which is after the flaps are up, so that any unusual pressurisation indications possibly requiring ATC notification, can be dealt with before reaching 10,000 ft when the cabin altitude warning horn may sound requiring a flurry of QRH activity. The crew will look a bit bloody silly if no one had twigged the aircraft wasn't pressurising before being notified by an aural warning.
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 10:04
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Tee Emm I think you have misinterpreted what I was trying to say. In your cut and paste of my comment you pulled the classic media trick of being selective in what you reproduced, but I will let that go, just like I let my trainees go in the beginning. What I said was, if the checklist is done the Boeing way i.e. PNF reads and self responds and PF does not cross check and somehow the gear and flaps are NOT retracted, the world won't come to an end. Perhaps I should not have offended your professional sensibilities with the 'who cares' statement because of course I would care if someone I was training ever did it twice, but I would (and have) let it go once just to make the point.
Whereas, the pressurization IS important and should be cross checked and responded to BUT not until later, at a time of lower workload. This is not soon after takeoff when PF should keep head down on the primary instruments. The number of times I have had to rein in gung ho co-pilots who want it all done before we are even out of the traffic pattern....
Boeing cockpit is not a good design, so we need to work around its limitations. I think that's why all these years they have had this procedure of PNF doing, reading and self responding.

Last edited by Mach E Avelli; 12th Mar 2009 at 10:10. Reason: typo
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Old 12th Mar 2009, 13:04
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This is not soon after takeoff when PF should keep head down on the primary instruments
Boeing recommend engaging the automatics asap after take off. This allows the crew to complete priority items such as the after take off checklist. Refer to FCOM Normal Procedures -Take Off Procedure - "engage the autopilot when above the minimum altitude for autopilot engagement". It doesn't take Superman to fly the aircraft manually and still call for the after take off checklist as soon as the flaps are up and the leading edge lights extinguished. In fact the flap indicator and its associated leading edge devices indications should be a vital part of the PF's scan coverage to ensure limit speeds are not exceeded.
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