Which procedures/checks are not memory items for pilots?

Operating an F-16 on the ground or in the air - from the engine start sequence, over replacing a wing, to aerial refueling procedures
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boggy123

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Unread post25 Mar 2020, 18:23

Hi guys,

Just curious, are all checks done from memory or are there some checklists that are compulsory to be read a x-checked? For example, DASH 1 states that just before engine start that " AFTER COCKPIT CHECK IS COMPLETE-VERIFY.....FUEL MASTER ON, ENG FEED - NORM...etc etc". Would this be done from a checklist or memory?

What about pre take-off/ Climb/ FENCE IN/OUT / BEFORE LANDING / LANDING checks, are these all done from a checklist or do most guys just do them from memory?

Not a fighter jet pilot myself, I fly airliners and here the checklists are done step by step from the checklist and together with the co-pilot. Most checklist are done after the actions have been completed and are just to verify it's been done. Only 2 checklists are done as "read and do" and those are the initial powering up of the jet and getting it all set up and there is also the securing checklist that is done when we put the plane to sleep for the night.

Just wondering if the air force is the same with regards to checklist procedures or is it mostly done from memory?

Thanks!
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tjodalv43

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Unread post26 Mar 2020, 04:27

Most F-16 pilots have probably never opened the -1 checklist to execute any normal procedures. When first starting out there are some single page summaries that pilots will use until they get the hang of things, but after that it’s virtually all from memory. Once anything abnormal happens though, pretty much from trapped fuel on up, the -1 checklist comes out and being very diligent with checklist discipline is ingrained early on, using the crew concept with your wingman or calling back to ops/SOF on the ground if you’re single ship to help back you up.
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boggy123

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Unread post27 Mar 2020, 08:29

Thanks again for your reply. I tried posting yesterday but as a noob I'm only allowed 1 post per day apparently. Interesting that all normal checks are done from memory, again..same as the fuel planning side of things this is very different from the airline world. We have to do everything so scripted and by checklist and understandably so.

Quick question regarding the MANUAL TF FLYUP switch on the cockpit preparation. The -1 I have says it should be set to ENABLE. Would that always be set to ENABLE no matter what? or does it depend on whether the LANTIRN pod is actually fitted and part of the mission is planned to use TFR?
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tjodalv43

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Unread post27 Mar 2020, 16:25

I assume you have an old -1. That switch is inoperative and the LANTIRN system and TFR ops are no longer a thing.
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boggy123

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Unread post27 Mar 2020, 16:46

Yeah, published 2003. LANTIRN has been replaced? damn, i'm out of touch!
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Roscoe

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Unread post29 Mar 2020, 09:30

tjodalv43 wrote:Most F-16 pilots have probably never opened the -1 checklist to execute any normal procedures. When first starting out there are some single page summaries that pilots will use until they get the hang of things, but after that it’s virtually all from memory. Once anything abnormal happens though, pretty much from trapped fuel on up, the -1 checklist comes out and being very diligent with checklist discipline is ingrained early on, using the crew concept with your wingman or calling back to ops/SOF on the ground if you’re single ship to help back you up.


Nope, Pilots use the checklist for everything (at least in the USAF/USN). They may have portions memorized, but they still have it open for reference. Career can't stand a mistake made by not following TOs.

The only exception is what we used to call "Boldface" (because it was) but are now called "Critical Action Procedures" (CAP). These are emergency procedures that must be memorized because there won't be time to open the PFM and look up the procedures before "badness" happens
Roscoe
F-16 Program Manager
USAF Test Pilot School 92A

"It's time to get medieval, I'm goin' in for guns" - Dos Gringos
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tjodalv43

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Unread post29 Mar 2020, 15:50

Roscoe wrote:
tjodalv43 wrote:Most F-16 pilots have probably never opened the -1 checklist to execute any normal procedures. When first starting out there are some single page summaries that pilots will use until they get the hang of things, but after that it’s virtually all from memory. Once anything abnormal happens though, pretty much from trapped fuel on up, the -1 checklist comes out and being very diligent with checklist discipline is ingrained early on, using the crew concept with your wingman or calling back to ops/SOF on the ground if you’re single ship to help back you up.


Nope, Pilots use the checklist for everything (at least in the USAF/USN). They may have portions memorized, but they still have it open for reference. Career can't stand a mistake made by not following TOs.

The only exception is what we used to call "Boldface" (because it was) but are now called "Critical Action Procedures" (CAP). These are emergency procedures that must be memorized because there won't be time to open the PFM and look up the procedures before "badness" happens


Interesting. I personally don’t know of anyone who has the -1 checklist open for normal procedures. Is it definitely on hand or reference if you forget something or there’s something weird? Absolutely. And to be clear the checklists are still done IAW the TOs. But usually all the procedures in chapter 2 are learned as a “flow”, from external preflight all the way to engine shutdown and not referenced from the checklist itself real-time from what I’ve seen.
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outlaw162

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Unread post29 Mar 2020, 16:58

Agree with TJ.

After UPT, that's the philosophy I was trained by the 'old heads' to use on fighter types from the T-33 and F-100 to the Viper in 3 local checkouts, 2 Guard formal schools and one Reggy school.

You may use the checklist a little more on say TR-1 thru TR-3ish and then maybe on the first solo or two, but pretty much from then, it's 'flows'. Generally if there's a light 'ON' on the telelight panel, you may have skipped something.

The are very few critical items like for example, 'gear handle down', anyway. Our unit StanEval guys expected this approach on checkrides, and would probably get a bit concerned about aircrew knowledge and training if they saw someone 'read' and 'do' in the cockpit. Of course this was the Guard and Reserves, with lots of experience.

And of course in the Phantom you had the 'talking' checklist. :mrgreen:

The only guy I ever saw forget an item was a Niagara F-100 long time single engine guy who had transitioned to the F-101 locally and on an early ride forgot to start the second engine. :doh: Saved by the crewchief, "Sir, aren't you going to start the other one?"
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jbgator

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Unread post30 Mar 2020, 23:45

When I was going through the B-course academics at MacDill in 1982 I was given a cheat sheet checklist of normal operations. The gigantic yellow checklist lived in my G-suit pocket for 20+ years to only be pulled out in emergencies. After learning it thoroughly I never used it again long about TR-4 or so. The flow of procedures changed regularly and the Dash-1 for those procedures rarely, if ever, changed. We frequently made flow changes based upon new developments, most notably doing the EPU check before any avionics power on which occurred late 80's. So we had our optimum flow and each action was mentally connected to the follow-on action. I taught students to develop "chains" where one action follows another. These were all by memory. You were alone in the jet, nobody was there to evaluate your procedures. If you messed up, you paid. After 7 years I went to fly the F-4 where the WSO read the checklists. This made everything take longer and didn't really improve anything in my opinion. I did the stuff then listened as he went through a litany of everything I had already done. Most things missed would have been obvious rather quickly anyway. A lot of the time you just automatically answered "check" without really paying attention unless it was something serious like seats armed. I have never flown an airliner or any other large multi engine monstrosity so I cannot comment on the process there except I know they fly with different crew members all the time and have a lot more things to do than we did. So it makes sense for them to do it. Challenge and response in a single seat airplane is kind of oxi-moronic.
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outlaw162

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Unread post31 Mar 2020, 01:50

Well said.

You know even in something crewed like the 727 the checklist was no substitute for knowing the aircraft and familiarity with daily ops.

Flying with the US Marshals one day as flight engineer (we rotated some positions weekly), coming out of O'Hare off the international ramp we got cleared by flow control directly from the ramp to position on 22L about 1000 feet away and immediate subsequent takeoff clearance on 22L with 3 frequency changes. I was scrambling to get everything done (I was an FE instructor also) and the guy driving that day wasn't going to request a delay at O'Hare to complete any checklists verbally. In this case, though not necessarily flying with the same crew every day, the Marshals' group was small enough so one knew who you could trust to do it right regardless. (edit: like knowing who you could trust out on your wing)

I recall about the time the gear came up headed for Rochester, MN, it seemed appropriate for grins to say something flip like 'After Start Check complete'. The window seats got a chuckle out of that, and said 'whew, no $--t'.

The pace coming out of podunk Rochester was quite a bit more relaxed. :D

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