Doug Toppin's Blog

My thoughts on technology and other stuff

Checklists, Aviation, Technology and Life

I am a private pilot (that will hopefully someday finish his instrument rating training and get his instrument ticket) and regularly read various topics on aviation. Recently I was reading the iBook “Setting the Standard from The Finer Points” and was in a section on preparing for takeoff by reviewing checklists and emergency procedures. I realized that it is easy to get into a habit of complacency and potentially miss both checklist steps and, more importantly, the intent of the steps. The book made a few points on emergency procedures that I realized I was not fully considering in my own prepration for flying the primary of which is what do I do if I have an engine failure or something similar during takeoff. Examples of prepation are not just procedures but are associated with speed, location and altitude such as:

  • if you have an engine failure before or soon after rotating do you know if you have enough runway remaining to stop?
  • if you have an engine failure after rotating do you know if you have enough altitude to turn back?
  • if you do not have enough altitude to turn have you planned where you will put down ahead of you (with a 20 or 30 degree arc on each side)?

While the subject is aviation the intent of checklists and preparation also apply to pretty much everything else in life. For example when deploying software to production do you have a checklist on steps to take? Do you also plan and test steps to take when something “goes bad”?

I recommend the book and http://thefinerpoints.net as excellent sources on aviation information.

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