Many aviators find it cumbersome to use Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) or Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) as a checklist. These documents are required to present in the cockpit at all times while flying. However, regular usage may damage these documents.
To make things convenient for themselves and to protect the books, many pilots have the habit of using a smaller version of the long checklist. This smaller checklist may be created at home, downloaded from the internet or purchased from a third-party provider.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned pilots of the consequences of using such checklists. In case such checklists are formed with adhering to all the recommended procedures from the manufacturer, this practice may present problems for the pilot.
A Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) has been issued by the FAA which warns pilot to exercise caution when they use homemade or commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) checklists during aircraft operations.
The SAFO gives the example of a pilot who used a COTS checklist at the time of an emergency gear deployment. The printed procedures were flawed and the pilot landed the aircraft with landing gear only partially extended. It resulted in considerable damage to the airframe.
An investigation has found on many occasions that the POH / AFM checklist and COTS checklist do not match.
The printed checklist completely missed some of the steps for extending landing gear during emergency. It also omitted a critical caution message.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not turned down completely the use of COTS checklists. However, the administration has asked the pilots to carefully check all the items mentioned in their checklist with the procedures published in the POH / AFM.
Checking the items given on your checklists may be a boring task for you as it may keep you away from flying. However, it is a time that is quite important and will save you trouble while flying.