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How Important Are Checklists?

by John M. White |

I probably should not admit this, but years ago when I did a lot of flying on charter, I might fly the same airplane 4-5 times a day on trips. The boss was always pushing us to get the freight from Lansing to where ever we needed to get it, and it was always hurry-hurry. Bad habits come from hurrying. So I would do a thorough run thru the checklist on the first flight, but after that it was off to the runway and into the sky. A bad habit to get into, and over the next few years it proved to be embarrassing in the least, but could have led to things much worse. You see, on one of the trips from Lansing to Chicago I was in such a hurry that I forgot my IFR chart case, and - of course - this was an IFR trip.
Pilot ChecklistsWell, this presented an interesting problem for me. I knew the airways pretty well, and the controllers had me on radar, but where I was going had a number of approaches and although I was on top the ceilings were pretty high. So the first thing I did was call Flight Service and ask for the weather at my destination, and then asked them to confirm for me the ILS and VOR frequencies. A little more conversation and I had the MDAs and other pertinent information I needed, quickly sketched it out on a piece of paper, and landed safely. Kind of like a Blagovich moment for me, but it taught me a real good lesson. Checklists are important, but they need to be more than just a pre-flight checklist, you really need a checklist to make sure you have everything you may need for the flight ahead. My wife, also a pilot, has many checklists for many things. Like a checklist for the Christmas tree ornaments, like checklists for shopping, and other things as well. What brought this all to mind was a post I read recently by Dr. Joe Vitale called "The Checklist Manifesto". He is a pilot, and his article is titled "The Checklist Manifest Keeps Ego In Check And You Safe." It's a great read, and as pilots its great advice to follow. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 When you get it right mighty beasts float up into the sky. When you get it wrong people die. — Roger Bacon

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