Max Q
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American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:39 am

Anyone remember these ?


In the days before electronic checklists AA
had ‘mechanical checklists’ in, I believe all
their aircraft


If I recall correctly this consisted of a metal
box permanently mounted in the cockpit with numerous slots on its face, these slots
had a printed checklist item inside them


Each item was ‘ checked off’ by sliding
a lever from one side to the other and on down the list


On three pilot aircraft it was mounted for
easy access by the flight engineer and on two pilot airframes between them


In fact I think I saw such a system in a cockpit photo of a recently retired ‘super 80’


I’ve never seen it on another airlines aircraft, it did seem unique to AA and
a rather clever, visionary system as it’s
design confirmed that necessary actions had been taken by the slide position


Thoughts and observations ?
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longhauler
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:56 am

Air Canada has/had them on all Airbus aircraft, as well as the 767 and 747 and earlier. The Embraer and 787/777 do not have them. I am not sure about the 737 MAX, but the 737-200s had them.

Similar to AA’s, they were on the glare shield and flipped up. Windows could be opened/closed as items were completed.

I liked them, as it was obvious if an item were completed. Also, per SOP it was the only checklist that did not have to be restarted from the beginning if interrupted.
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Max Q
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:17 am

longhauler wrote:
Air Canada has/had them on all Airbus aircraft, as well as the 767 and 747 and earlier. The Embraer and 787/777 do not have them. I am not sure about the 737 MAX, but the 737-200s had them.

Similar to AA’s, they were on the glare shield and flipped up. Windows could be opened/closed as items were completed.

I liked them, as it was obvious if an item were completed. Also, per SOP it was the only checklist that did not have to be restarted from the beginning if interrupted.



Interesting, did not know other airlines had them, thanks for that, btw was there any internal lighting for viewing at night in a dark cockpit?
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Starlionblue
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:32 am

I'd never heard of this. Very cool.

Image
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Max Q
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:07 am

Starlionblue wrote:
I'd never heard of this. Very cool.

Image



Great picture, that’s a bit more of an advanced version (looks like a 757) than
versions I’ve seen on 727 / DC10 era
types
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Woodreau
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:48 am

American has them on their 737s, MD-80s, 757/767s, but all the ones I’ve seen are the light up type, like the one in starlions picture. Not ones where there was a paper checklist underneath as you mentioned. As you complete them, you turn off the light and the item goes dark, indicating completion of said item.

I haven’t seen them in AAs Airbus aircraft, probably because AA didn’t acquire Airbus until recently and basically using US Airways Airbus operating procedures for their Airbus procedures and Airbus have their ECAM memo checklists.

It kind of reminds me of the days before soft buttons on today’s touchscreens on a NTDS radar console when there were physical hard buttons (Variable Action Buttons) but as the function of the button changed, the label of the button also changed. The way the label changed was there were 4 light bulbs inside the button with a film with micro lettering which blocked the light and the letters were projected onto the rear of the button. As the function of the button changed, the appropriate light was illuminated within the button while the other 3 light bulbs were extinguished. Nostalgia of 1970s technology.
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longhauler
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:19 pm

Max Q wrote:
Interesting, did not know other airlines had them, thanks for that, btw was there any internal lighting for viewing at night in a dark cockpit?


Yes, the used the same brightness control as the FCU.

You can see them here on an A319 ...

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BravoOne
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:12 pm

The bad thing about this kind of checklist is that you can't put them in the windows to block out the sunlight:):)
 
thepinkmachine
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:21 pm

Seems a bit of overkill to me...
 
Woodreau
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:52 pm

Well the pilots have their own paper checklist in addition to the checklist board. After the board is run and all the lights are turned off, the paper checklist is run.
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Starlionblue
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:30 pm

BravoOne wrote:
The bad thing about this kind of checklist is that you can't put them in the windows to block out the sunlight:):)


We're rapidly moving to paperless with electronic checklists and EFB. No paper at all! But we can always get a newspaper. :)
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
BravoOne
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:41 am

Starlionblue wrote:
BravoOne wrote:
The bad thing about this kind of checklist is that you can't put them in the windows to block out the sunlight:):)


We're rapidly moving to paperless with electronic checklists and EFB. No paper at all! But we can always get a newspaper. :)


Well 8+ years instructing and working with the 787, 777, +4 years flying the 777 says progresshas has its limits:) Just because its possible does not mean its better. Now where did I put that checklist?
 
shamrock137
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:59 am

thepinkmachine wrote:
Seems a bit of overkill to me...


Can't remember the specific one, or it might be more then one, but there were some accidents where a contributing factor was that the flight crew was running a checklist, got interrupted, then inadvertently skipped a step. This was a more effective way of checking that steps weren't missed vs a pilot just holding their thumb on the last line, or trying to remember where they left off.
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Starlionblue
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:20 pm

shamrock137 wrote:
thepinkmachine wrote:
Seems a bit of overkill to me...


Can't remember the specific one, or it might be more then one, but there were some accidents where a contributing factor was that the flight crew was running a checklist, got interrupted, then inadvertently skipped a step. This was a more effective way of checking that steps weren't missed vs a pilot just holding their thumb on the last line, or trying to remember where they left off.


A good trick is to go back one and redo the last step you completed.

BravoOne wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
BravoOne wrote:
The bad thing about this kind of checklist is that you can't put them in the windows to block out the sunlight:):)


We're rapidly moving to paperless with electronic checklists and EFB. No paper at all! But we can always get a newspaper. :)


Well 8+ years instructing and working with the 787, 777, +4 years flying the 777 says progresshas has its limits:) Just because its possible does not mean its better. Now where did I put that checklist?


Loving the electronic stuff. Less paper all over the place. More synchronisation between the pilots because we literally have access to the same info even when CRM isn't at its peak.
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AirKevin
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:14 pm

shamrock137 wrote:
thepinkmachine wrote:
Seems a bit of overkill to me...


Can't remember the specific one, or it might be more then one, but there were some accidents where a contributing factor was that the flight crew was running a checklist, got interrupted, then inadvertently skipped a step. This was a more effective way of checking that steps weren't missed vs a pilot just holding their thumb on the last line, or trying to remember where they left off.

Northwest 255 is the first one I can think of.
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Starlionblue
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:54 pm

AirKevin wrote:
shamrock137 wrote:
thepinkmachine wrote:
Seems a bit of overkill to me...


Can't remember the specific one, or it might be more then one, but there were some accidents where a contributing factor was that the flight crew was running a checklist, got interrupted, then inadvertently skipped a step. This was a more effective way of checking that steps weren't missed vs a pilot just holding their thumb on the last line, or trying to remember where they left off.

Northwest 255 is the first one I can think of.


A lot of work was done after that accident to improve checklists, even down to layout and fonts.
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barney captain
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:05 pm

I rode in many AA jumpseats back in the day and thought that checklist idea was a pretty good one.

Now, the setting of the altimeters to zero? Not so much......
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Max Q
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:27 am

barney captain wrote:
I rode in many AA jumpseats back in the day and thought that checklist idea was a pretty good one.

Now, the setting of the altimeters to zero? Not so much......



Good point Barney


That was a uniquely AA practice, setting QFE, I think they only did that on the standby altimeter though ?


It may have been a useful technique in pre
radar altimeter days but sticking with it after entering the Jet age was dubious at best


Along with training their pilots to use rudder in wake vortex encounters..
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BravoOne
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:38 pm

Max Q wrote:
barney captain wrote:
I rode in many AA jumpseats back in the day and thought that checklist idea was a pretty good one.

Now, the setting of the altimeters to zero? Not so much......



Good point Barney


That was a uniquely AA practice, setting QFE, I think they only did that on the standby altimeter though ?


It may have been a useful technique in pre
radar altimeter days but sticking with it after entering the Jet age was dubious at best


Along with training their pilots to use rudder in wake vortex encounters..


The QFE altilmeter was used at EAL as well but they wisely abandoned the procedure a long time before AA did, and this was way prior to any standby altimeters being around.
 
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longhauler
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:31 pm

BravoOne wrote:
The QFE altilmeter was used at EAL as well but they wisely abandoned the procedure a long time before AA did, and this was way prior to any standby altimeters being around.

Yes, I recall reading the accident report of an EAL DC-9 at CLT, lost during a non precision approach.

The use of QFE was cited as a minor contributing factor. But even still, I was left wondering what possible use such a practise could be.

I was not aware AAL was still doing this!
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BravoOne
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:56 pm

longhauler wrote:
BravoOne wrote:
The QFE altilmeter was used at EAL as well but they wisely abandoned the procedure a long time before AA did, and this was way prior to any standby altimeters being around.

Yes, I recall reading the accident report of an EAL DC-9 at CLT, lost during a non precision approach.

The use of QFE was cited as a minor contributing factor. But even still, I was left wondering what possible use such a practise could be.

I was not aware AAL was still doing this!


To be clear, I think AA stopped doing this QFE non sense at least 20+ years ago.
 
barney captain
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:57 pm

longhauler wrote:
BravoOne wrote:
The QFE altilmeter was used at EAL as well but they wisely abandoned the procedure a long time before AA did, and this was way prior to any standby altimeters being around.

Yes, I recall reading the accident report of an EAL DC-9 at CLT, lost during a non precision approach.

The use of QFE was cited as a minor contributing factor. But even still, I was left wondering what possible use such a practise could be.

I was not aware AAL was still doing this!


AA abandoned the practice many moons ago - sorry for the confusion (and thread creep!). And yes, it was all the altimeters set this way.
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DmelloMarfi
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:43 pm

Woodreau wrote:
American has them on their 737s, MD-80s, 757/767s, but all the ones I’ve seen are the light up type, like the one in starlions picture. Not ones where there was a paper checklist underneath as you mentioned. As you complete them, you turn off the light and the item goes dark, indicating completion of said item.

I haven’t seen them in AAs Airbus aircraft, probably because AA didn’t acquire Airbus until recently and basically using US Airways Airbus operating procedures for their Airbus procedures and Airbus have their ECAM memo checklists.driving distance calculator

It kind of reminds me of the days before soft buttons on today’s touchscreens on a NTDS radar console when there were physical hard buttons (Variable Action Buttons) but as the function of the button changed, the label of the button also changed. The way the label changed was there were 4 light bulbs inside the button with a film with micro lettering which blocked the light and the letters were projected onto the rear of the button. As the function of the button changed, the appropriate light was illuminated within the button while the other 3 light bulbs were extinguished. Nostalgia of 1970s technology.


Well the pilots have their own paper checklist in addition to the checklist board. After the board is run and all the lights are turned off, the paper checklist is run.
 
tu204
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:40 pm

Tu-154 had it on the FE panel. I think Tu-144 as well. Didn't light up. Just flipped the item over by sliding.
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Starlionblue
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Re: American Airlines and their mechanical checklists

Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:01 pm

Woodreau wrote:
I haven’t seen them in AAs Airbus aircraft, probably because AA didn’t acquire Airbus until recently and basically using US Airways Airbus operating procedures for their Airbus procedures and Airbus have their ECAM memo checklists.


Maybe semantics, but the ECAM memo is not really a checklist. It is a set of sensed parameters that are displayed, and as part of a checklist they are verified as a group.
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