Features

March 2010 Issue

Put Down Your Checklist!

How to buck the widely accepted flight school checklist methodology and flow like a pro.

A wise old pilot once told me here are three distinct types of flying: simulator flying, checkride flying and typical everyday line flying. Although the context of this nugget was originally air carrier operations, there seems to be an innate understanding of this concept among all pilots. When administering flight reviews to experienced owner-pilots, I often get to see them on their "best behavior." Of course, flight reviews arenít checkrides, but many pilots view them as such, especially if itís been a while since their last "real" pass/fail flight. While somewhat flattering to me, itís usually obvious which aspects of their behavior are part of their normal operation and which are a show put on for my benefit. Often, Iíll see them whip out a ratty old checklist, dust it off and try to use it sequentially as a do-list. Almost comically, the effort comes across almost as awkward as a middle school dance: The desire is there, but they just donít seem to know what to do with it.

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