November 2006

Engineering Case Histories

Case 35: Technical checklists

Our memories are not always adequate

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

We usually assume that we can remember important items when they are needed; therefore, we may not write them down. But, when I took up flying, I realized my memory alone was not going to be good enough. It was – and still is – "self-preserving" to verify that the engine was developing full power and that the controls were functioning properly before leaving the ground. So, before departing, I've made it a habit to run through my written checklist of 15 items, mentioning each audibly while touching each gage or knob, much to my passenger's amusement. You see, becoming complacent about checklists can be dangerous. In industry, checklists are just as important during equipment star

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