Checklist Logical Flow - Idiot Check - Ground Flying

C172 — N64238 — North Perry Hollywood, FL > (practice area) — T/O, Steep Turns, Slow flt, Gusty Winds, Landing — 1.1hrs

I'm sure there are many an experienced pilot who might argue with me; I mean after all, who am I to question established standardized Checklists, but some low-hour rookie pilot. But, this is how I see it...

First, Checklists are NOT TO BE MEMORIZED. Ok. So what if they're wrong? Or not in correct sequence??

Of course as one does a preflight, pre-start, startup, runup, takeoff, climb, cruise, descent, landing, taxi, and securing, there are logical things to check that take higher precedence over other things, regardless of an elegant flow. And I agree, and follow the checklist as established.

However, even over the very few Hobbs hours I have been flying compared to many, I have seen too many VERSIONS of the supposedly "standard" Checklists to think there even is one standard. There isn't. Well what IF they got it wrong? Or forgot something? Blind faith??? Not. Me as a student, I can't simply presume all materials I study for flying, and all instructors I attend are always correct without question. To me, if I see something that makes no sense to me, or is just plain wrong or untrue, then piss on it! It's wrong, and needs revision. It just seems to me there ARE things forgotten, and many things seemingly out of logical sequence to just blindly follow any checklist and/or instructor. Each new plane, new school, and new instructor, I make it a point to sit down with checklist and do a little "Ground Flying" there in the cockpit, and look over the checklist before I go up.

And even if the checklist IS correct, perhaps I might simply overlook a given item in sequence, or things are too hectic in the cockpit to be focused on the checklist away from the outside situation.

And so I devised my own what I call "idiot check" to double double check things over to ensure I have not forgotten anything after the checklist. I run thru the checklist, absolutely. But I also follow a simple FLOW throughout the plane and cockpit. As I walk up to the plane I'm already looking things over, and the preflight flow is easy enough with a thorough walk-around from left to right on around, low to high.

But inside the cockpit:

  1. I scan from the floor, up,
  2. and across the panel from low-right, to low-left,
  3. then up,
  4. high-left, to the right. 

I borrowed the above chart to illustrate the flow diagram, but it's not difficult to understand. The panel sort of divides itself into block AREAS where a given group of controls or instruments are grouped together. Scan things over; Low, up, left, up, right, and each AREA is reviewed as a group unit. 

In practice, I can't tell you how many times this silly method has already saved my ass, and not only caught both my own oversights, but real checklist errors, etc., that we needed to squawk to the school for revision.

And when parking, same deal; plus watch the wingspan on both sides, and park in the in the upwind direction.