Checklists for Nude Pilots



Why and how I changed my orientation to the pre-takeoff aviation mnemonics and checklists! Custom pre-takeoff aviation mnemonics to make your cockpit status match your aviator shades.

Some years back. . .after I had been flying for a while, I became increasingly frustrated with the stodgy way in which I oriented to the checklist. I was committed to using it, but I felt like something was missing.

My Checklist Jam is Weird

I flew with different instructors on occasion, nobody ever said anything. . . but I innately felt something was off, or missing. This was confirmed by flying with other pilots who had a great deal experience more than I. These included former military aviators, airline pilots, and the like. They seemed to orient to the checklist much more gracefully. But I wasn’t sure what the difference was. . .  

Pilots kind of fall along a spectrum of experience throughout their career. The student pilot, unfamiliar with all the elements, will use a checklist explicitly as a to-do list — that’s appropriate! After gaining some experience, the pilot may want to move away from strict checklist/do-list adherence because it feels student pilot-ish. So what do you do?  

First a bit of vocabulary clarification. Checklists are ‘do-lists,’ in that you read the item and do/check that item. A flow pattern is the checking/doing of the items in a logical order by memory, and then referring to the checklist to verify you’ve accomplished each item. I’m not going to get into the ‘logical order’ part of flows, because there can be a fair amount of variation between aircraft. Plus, I think it’s a good experience to work through that for your aircraft because it provides an opportunity for you to be actively engaged in the process and help you become one with your aircraft. You do meditate with your plane, right?

Going through this caused me to employ some common mnemonics and develop others that I thought could fill in some gaps. This is a very small sampling of this and my intent is to compile these types of things into an easily digestible format which follows the natural life of a flight. At any rate, try these pre-takeoff mnemonics and see if they work for you. Perhaps you’ll find them helpful too.

Pre-takeoff aviation mnemonics and checklists

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