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gosheto
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Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:37 pm

hello everyone. this is something I have been wondering about since I last flew a Fokker, which evidently can take off with no flaps.

Got a bit concerned at take-off that there is no flaps set and thought of spanair... then I started thinking -- as it has happened, pilots in a hurry, or for other reasons, skip or get confused about the mandatory checklist. But do some pilots have their "own" checklist they would go through before leaving gate/takeoff? Like checking for things which are not included in the official checklists, but stuff that a person would like to ensure personally. For example, with Helios air flight 522 one of the problems was that the pilots did not realize that the 'pressurisation system was set to "manual"'. I am not sure if checking this is on the actual pre-takeoff checklist, but if I were a pilot, after this accident I would definitely keep in my mind to check this.

So basically the question is, do pilots have their "own" checklists (based on their experience, other accidents, etc) and what could those include to make sure flight is safe.

Thanks for your insights,

George
 
penguins
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:41 pm

I believe that pilots are issued a standard checklist by the airline that must be followed for safety. I'm sure that each pilot has a trick or two to get the plane how he likes it, however.
 
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777Jet
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:45 pm

I would not feel safe to fly knowing that pilots have their own 'mental' or 'extra' checklists because such important things are left off of the usual checklists. I would hope that this does not happen and they just follow the generic procedures / checklists...
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gosheto
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:50 pm

Quoting 777Jet (Reply 2):

I agree 100%, pilots must always check the mandatory check-lists, but my idea of the question was about checking things which are not always included in those mandatory check-lists. For example with Helios, I believe the switch was in the wrong position, because maintenance did not set it back to the correct state after their job. So checking that may not be on the pre-flight checklist... so the idea of the question was if pilots have "additional" things they want to check based on their experience and knowledge.
 
LH526
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:51 pm

Some Check-lists don't mention cell-phones and some airlines' pilots often add a supplement "cellphones off - check" to that list ...
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777Jet
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:54 pm

Quoting gosheto (Reply 3):
For example with Helios, I believe the switch was in the wrong position, because maintenance did not set it back to the correct state after their job. So checking that may not be on the pre-flight checklist... so the idea of the question was if pilots have "additional" things they want to check based on their experience and knowledge.

I would sure hope that something like what you mentioned above would have been added to the checklist if it was mentioned as a contributing factor in a final accident report. If an accident sheds light on something that could be added to a checklist and it is not then there is something very wrong with the system.
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futureualpilot
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:01 pm

There is procedure and there is technique. Procedure, in theory, is to be followed by all pilots the same way and most (99.999%) do so. Reading the official checklist, flows, etc. Technique can be thought of as unofficial procedure. It should never supplant official procedure but can be used to enhance it. For example, our push back procedures and checklists have us double checking that the ground crew holds up all three gear pins after the push is complete so we do not take off with them still installed. Technique is the Captain saying "three pins for the win" or some other dumb, but effective pneumonic device to back up the check list and ensure the pins are pulled. Our procedures ensure we are properly configured for takeoff prior to pushing the power up via flows and checklists but a lot of guys do the "four and the door" after the checklists are complete, ensuring four critical switches are properly positioned and the door is latched.

In these cases I refer to technique as a method of covering one's behind but technique can also refer to how a pilot physically flies the airplane or any number of other facets of the job. Meaning he/she can keep within all rules, regs and procedures but there may be more than one way to skin a cat.
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DeltaRules
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:28 am

In my private pilot training, "Lights, Camera, Action" was a memory aid for a secondary check to verify the landing light (on), transponder (on), and mixture (rich) were set before starting the takeoff roll. This was supplementary to the standard 152 checklist we used.
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thrufru
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:19 am

At my airline, the pressurization panel on the 737 is part of the F/O's preflight flow (it's also an MX procedure to ensure that the mode selector is in the correct position for flight if they've moved it).

I do have my own technique, but I'm am whole heartedly against doing anything outside of the standard operating procedures proscribed by my company. When a pilot starts making up his or her own checklists, they do nothing but potentially interfere with the procedures and ask for trouble.
 
chrisair
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:47 am

When I read the topic title I was thinking of a pilot going: "did my wife pack extra socks? Did my wife pack extra shirts? Did my wife mention the pool boy was coming over? Did I remember to put food in the cat's bowl?"
 
bueb0g
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:38 am

Quoting gosheto (Thread starter):
For example, with Helios air flight 522 one of the problems was that the pilots did not realize that the 'pressurisation system was set to "manual"'.

This is disputed, both the AAIB and an independent Canadian investigation have argued that there is compelling evidence that the system was set to AUTO as it should have been but yes that's the 'accepted' theory. In this case it's part of the FO's prelight flow.

Quoting gosheto (Thread starter):
So basically the question is, do pilots have their "own" checklists (based on their experience, other accidents, etc) and what could those include to make sure flight is safe.

Yes, it does happen, and even if they don't say it out loud experienced pilots will have almost subconscious mental checklists of things they know to look for from their experience. There's one Captain I know who makes a final weight check just before taking off, what with all the recent incidents of aircraft taking off with computed weights far below the actual weight, even though it isn't on the checklist at that point.

Quoting 777Jet (Reply 2):

I would not feel safe to fly knowing that pilots have their own 'mental' or 'extra' checklists because such important things are left off of the usual checklists. I would hope that this does not happen and they just follow the generic procedures / checklists...

Of course they do follow the standard checklists, 'personal' checklists do not supersede the standard procedures, but they can work alongside or enhance them.
Roger roger, what's our vector, victor?
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:43 am

Quoting DeltaRules (Reply 7):

In my private pilot training, "Lights, Camera, Action" was a memory aid for a secondary check to verify the landing light (on), transponder (on), and mixture (rich) were set before starting the takeoff roll. This was supplementary to the standard 152 checklist we used.

A similar one once you move on to complex aircraft is GLUMPFS (Gas, Lights, Undercarriage, Mixture, Prop, Flaps, Seatbelts). All those items are in the descent and pre-landing checklists but it is a good habit to go through the items shortly before touchdown just to make sure you didnt miss anything important. It's not a checklist, but it always made me more comfortable proceeding with the landing if I had done GLUMPFS. Plus it only takes about ten seconds.

[Edited 2014-06-16 03:45:37]

[Edited 2014-06-16 03:45:50]
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bueb0g
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:28 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 11):
A similar one once you move on to complex aircraft is GLUMPFS (Gas, Lights, Undercarriage, Mixture, Prop, Flaps, Seatbelts). All those items are in the descent and pre-landing checklists but it is a good habit to go through the items shortly before touchdown just to make sure you didnt miss anything important. It's not a checklist, but it always made me more comfortable proceeding with the landing if I had done GLUMPFS. Plus it only takes about ten seconds.

We do a similar one, BUMFREDAH: Brakes, Undercarriage, Mixture, Fuel, Radio, Engine, Direction (DI/HI), Altimeter, Hatches/Harnesses. A shortened version, FREDA, serves as an en-route check every 10 minutes.
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DashTrash
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Mon Jun 16, 2014 1:04 pm

Already been stated, but in transport category aircraft you have the manufacturer or operator approved checklist. They are read verbatim, and an appropriate response from the non-flying pilot is received, verbatim. The simple reason behind it is that airlines must pair pilots who have never met in the cockpit. You have to be speaking the same language.

These checklists also differ in functionality from the ones used in GA aircraft. They are "check" lists, not "do" lists. Actions are completed via a "flow". You use the checklist to back up your flow. In some cases that flow itself is customizable by the individual pilot. For instance in the Dash 8 at Piedmont, the engine start is a captain function unless he delegates it. His flow is generally, but not always, check batteries on, APU bleed off, recirc fan off, anti-collision light on, then engine select to #2, hit the start button, fuel on above 15%, watch the start happen. After the engine is started and prop out of feather, the FO has a couple of items to do, then the CA will call for the after start checklist.

Another example is before takeoff. The CA at some point will call for the before takeoff checklist "to the line". There is a stopping point built into the checklist that allows you to leave the engine bleeds on and controls locked until you're ready to go. The FO will select the condition levers to MAX, and turn on the yaw damper, then read the checklist aloud. "Below the line" is done as you're taking the runway. Controls unlocked, checked, bleeds off, flight / taxi switch up, then the checklist is read.

There are numerous other examples, and they are scripted to what makes the most sense and is approved for the aircraft / airline. They are practiced over and over, then used in daily life to the point you can regurgitate them six years after you last flew the aircraft.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:31 pm

Quoting chrisair (Reply 9):
When I read the topic title I was thinking of a pilot going: "did my wife pack extra socks? Did my wife pack extra shirts? Did my wife mention the pool boy was coming over? Did I remember to put food in the cat's bowl?"

If you're asking these questions after you're doing your pre-flight, then you're a bit late, no?  
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tb727
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:42 pm

Quoting chrisair (Reply 9):

When I read the topic title I was thinking of a pilot going: "did my wife pack extra socks? Did my wife pack extra shirts? Did my wife mention the pool boy was coming over? Did I remember to put food in the cat's bowl?"

That's what I was thinking too, like that I make sure I have a week of underwear, my passport, sunglasses, wallet and watch! The company takes care of the rest with the checklist, don't have to think much about that.
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Woodreau
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:46 pm

One of the things I've added to my personal checklist is "galley carts --- check stowed/secure" especially when we're ferrying it empty.

I added that after my first ferry flight and had to fish all the soda cans and the galley carts out of row 18, and restow it. So the captain was flying single pilot while I was resecuring everything in the cabin.

We weren't particularly worried about the soda cans, but we were worried about the galley cart coming back forward up into the flight deck during the landing rollout.
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chimborazo
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:24 pm

Interesting: I was going to start a similar subject but this is so similar will tag onto it..I flew Pegasus STN-SAW today. Unusually the seatbelt signs weren't on when boarding ( unusual for "LCC" in my experience- no previous experience of Pegasus).
We were couple of mins into taxying to the runway and CC were checking belts when I quietly mentioned to one of them that SB sign wasn't on. "Oh" and he wandered off to galley. Saw him pick up intercom and 10 secs later "ding!".

I'm curious about your thoughts on this: it seems to me a fairly major miss on a checklist- I assume pre-pushback list? Often hear the spiel on various airlines about "your safety etc" so one would've thought this quite important. the safety briefing video is cringeworthy!

Would it have got picked up prior takeoff?

Oh, and I kinda thought I might have got a smile, maybe a thank you or, god forbid, a beer for being the helpful passenger. But sadly no  
 
Alias1024
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:09 am

A very common bit of technique in the airline world is to leave the taxi light off while on approach until landing clearance is received. It's an easy way to double check that you've received permission to land. A personal check I do silently is to check four items at our 500 foot call on approach: gear down, flaps 45, thrust reversers armed, and speed brakes stowed.

Quoting Woodreau (Reply 16):
One of the things I've added to my personal checklist is "galley carts --- check stowed/secure" especially when we're ferrying it empty.

I too do this check on ferry/repo flights. It's pretty startling the first time you hear an atlas with about 40 soda cans go flying into the bulkhead.
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Mir
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:01 am

Quoting 777Jet (Reply 2):
I would not feel safe to fly knowing that pilots have their own 'mental' or 'extra' checklists because such important things are left off of the usual checklists. I would hope that this does not happen and they just follow the generic procedures / checklists...

Why would adding extra stuff onto the checklist bother you? It's not done arbitrarily.

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DashTrash
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:51 pm

Quoting chimborazo (Reply 17):
it seems to me a fairly major miss on a checklist

Of all the things on a checklist, the seatbelt sign is a minor one in my opinion as it bears to function in the safety of the aircraft. Only the aircraft's occupants.

Quoting chimborazo (Reply 17):
I assume pre-pushback list?

Cabin signs were on our before start checklist at the airline I was with.

Quoting chimborazo (Reply 17):
Would it have got picked up prior takeoff?

Not unless someone looked up there and happened to see it. I picked up an aircraft out of maintenance, ran every checklist, verified every switch, took off, and wondered why the hell the seatbelt sign "ding" sounded when we retracted the gear. Another "ding" when we put the gear down. After running the shut down flow I noticed the no smoking sign was off. That ding was it turning itself off, then back on because it's tied to the landing gear and will be on with the gear down no matter what the switch position is.

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 18):
A very common bit of technique in the airline world is to leave the taxi light off while on approach until landing clearance is received.

It was our POH or FOM (can't remember) to do this, so not just a technique, but required. Landing, taxi and flare lights on for takeoff, shut the landing and taxi lights off during the after takeoff flow passing through 1500 AGL. Flare lights off at 10K. On the way back down, Flare lights on passing through 10K, landing lights on with approach clearance, taxi lights on at landing clearance.

Got to another operator that didn't do that and it drove me bat shit crazy. Guys would type their landing clearance into the scratch pad on the FMS.
 
bueb0g
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:30 pm

Quoting chimborazo (Reply 17):
I'm curious about your thoughts on this: it seems to me a fairly major miss on a checklist- I assume pre-pushback list? Often hear the spiel on various airlines about "your safety etc" so one would've thought this quite important. the safety briefing video is cringeworthy!

Would it have got picked up prior takeoff?

Probably wouldn't have been picked up, unless one of the pilots did a check of the entire overhead before taking off... Seatbelts are generally part of the startup or pre-taxi flow and checks.

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 18):
A very common bit of technique in the airline world is to leave the taxi light off while on approach until landing clearance is received.

Over here it's quite common that the landing lights go on when landing clearance is received.
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GRZ-AIR
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:20 pm

Seatbelt signs will not crash a plane... My mental checklist before setting take off thrust covers only the very basics and is
Flaps (indication)
Flaps (handle)
Trimm setting
Thrust

If those three (Flaps, Trimm, Power) work out you can fly. All the other stuff (lights, seat belts and what not) is covered by the SOPs and checklists.

Too many dead people because of inoperable take off config warnings (Spanair in Madrid comes to mind).

G.

[Edited 2014-06-19 14:23:19]
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HAWK21M
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:19 am

Lets put it this way.....The pilots own points cannot be less restrictive than the approved checklist  
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jetmatt777
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RE: Pilots' Own Pre-flight Check List

Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:20 pm

Quoting DashTrash (Reply 13):
There are numerous other examples, and they are scripted to what makes the most sense and is approved for the aircraft / airline. They are practiced over and over, then used in daily life to the point you can regurgitate them six years after you last flew the aircraft.

That's true. I am a ramper, and I could probably recite the CRJ200/700/900 before start, start, and after start checklist just from listening on the headset before and during push so may times.

It's amazing how the cadence is so uniform between pilots. Obviously different crews on each flight, and they all have the exact same rhythm, timing, and flow.

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