AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - 94

P&E

EFFICIENCY

engine start-up. Earlier this year, I read
a Pilot Workshops "Tip of the Week" by
Seattle flight instructor Bruce Williams in
which he advocated snapping photos in
flight to help establish configuration figures for IFR operations. I took that advice
one step further by taking a video of Niky's
panel from start-up until the takeoff roll.
I noted that it took 20 seconds after turning on the battery switch for my engine
instruments to appear and that time is
perfect for verifying that all circuit breakers are in and the appropriate lights are
on. The video also reminded me of the
location of various switches, gauges, and
controls so that my flows could concentrate on a certain equipment grouping or
involve a sweep across the panel. After
all, an efficient checklist that incorporates
natural flows will increase my likelihood
of using it correctly.
Task checklists. With the item list
in an appropriate order, I divided it into
a sequence of tasks corresponding to the
phase of flight in which each should be
completed. Such a segmented checklist
reduces the likelihood of skipping a step
and facilitates jumping right to the appropriate task checklist during a busy phase of
flight. The longest task checklist I used has
about a dozen items.
Format. I formatted the checklist
using the easy-to-read, sans-serif font
Arial on white paper. Normal task checklist titles appear in black and listed items
and response values in gray and charcoal,
respectively. All emergency titles appear in
red. I personally don't like looking down at
a checklist in the final stages of landing, so
I placed a copy of the Before Landing task
checklist on the panel.
Helpful charts and tables. Niky's
checklist includes other helpful items like
a diagram of her light switches and circuit
breakers in case the cockpit lighting is
insufficient to locate them at night. Tables
for recommended airspeeds and tire pressures on the checklist facilitate quicker
access to such frequently used information than the POH provides.
Updates. Although the checklist is now
laminated, I regard it as a work in progress,
so I carry a fine permanent marker to make
changes. After landing on a recent flight

94 | AOPA PILOT December 2020

ADVICE FOR CHECKLIST DESIGN AND USAGE
* Checklist responses should indicate desired status rather than
Checked or Set. As someone who regularly flies multiple airplanes,
having these written is a big help.
* Divide a long checklist into smaller task checklists that form a
cohesive group or flow. It's too easy to lose one's place in a long
checklist.
* Critical items should be listed as close as possible to the beginning of the task checklist.
* Items such as flaps that could be reset because of new information (such as weather) should be duplicated accordingly on the
checklist.
* Complete critical task checklists early in the ground phase to
decouple them from the takeoff segment.
* Use fingers to point to appropriate items while conducting the
checklist. Allow enough time and attention to each to ensure the
status is verified.
* Announce the completion of each task checklist aloud.

THE AUTHOR'S Bonanza recently received a full panel makeover, which included an

all-glass cockpit. It called for a new checklist procedure.

with my friend Lawson, I opened Niky's
cowl flaps during the ground roll. He asked
why I didn't open them in the pattern since
I would want them open if my approach
had ended in a go-around. I made a note
of this great idea and have incorporated it
into the current version.
While accepting a friend's checklist
or buying one might be tempting, ensuring that the information is correct and

complete might even take more time than
generating your own. The process of generating Niky's new checklist was as valuable
to me as the beautiful and easy-to-use
result.
AOPA
CATHERINE CAVAGNARO is an aerobatics

instructor (aceaerobaticschool.com) and
professor of mathematics at Sewanee:
The University of the South.


http://www.aceaerobaticschool.com

AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - December 2020 - Contents
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