Today we will be revisiting our friends at Qref whose main mission in life is to bring the most useful and comprehensive aviation checklists to the market. We had a good look at one of their first productions: the Garmin 430 avionics checklist which you find here. That review gives you a lot of background information on the company so today we can be brief about the checklists for the Cessna 172R and the Bendix King KLN89.
The sturdy flip-over format of these checklists will make it easy to incorporate these with your knee board and are priced at just a tad under US$25.
Let's have a quick look at the 172 Analog Skyhawk checklist (172R)
All the 172s that have been produced between 1998 and 2006 are covered with this checklist. There is of course also a specific checklist for the Skyhawks with G1000 avionics.
The contents is divided into two main sections: from pre-flight to landing and the one that deals with all sorts of emergencies, like electrical or engine failures, fires and forced landings.
In the pre-flight section the first page is the weight and balance sheet where you can do your calculations and erase the numbers for a new flight. In other words it's quite handy that you can write on this page and reuse it. The pre-flight checklist itself is very comprehensive and includes items that in the daily pressure of commercial flying are often overlooked and perhaps for good reasons: how about making sure that operation limitation placards are legible? On the other hand it mentions the five fuel tank sumps that you have to drain on each wing but not the fuel drains on the belly!
We asked Jason Clemens from Qref about this apparent oversight: “As for the fuel drains (sumps), in addition to the 5 on the right and 5 on the left wing, we mention to check the fuel strainer quick drain in the nose section, which is the proper section to mention these since the 3 drains are in the forward section of the aircraft. Logically, when walking in order around the aircraft, this is when these are checked. Our checklists incorporate the manufacturer's flow check, even on the outside of the aircraft.”
Fair enough, I suppose, and as with all checklists you should include your own particular items to tick off as well (for me that includes some portable navigation devices, PCAS gear, etc.)
Every section of flight, like takeoff and cruise or landing is under its own tab, making it very easy to find. All these tabs have additional aeronautical information, like VFR weather minimums, passenger briefings, etc. You will find all the various speeds referenced in bold making them easy to find as well. However, what is the rationale behind printing air speeds in mph in bold, giving them the same prominence as kts, possibly causing some confusion when you give it a quick glance? I'm not so sure how many dials are calibrated in mph these days….
We put this question to the Qref Chief too: “Regarding the MPH in bold, ANY important numbers are in bold, including PSI, oil capacities, airspeeds (both KIAS and MPH), etc., and we're not singling out MPH. We still include MPH because quite a few people are used to flying in MPH and may transition to 172R. Additionally, it standardizes our checklists across models, which is something that makes Qref checklists unique. Most people fly more than one aircraft, and our style is to provide data in a standardized, familiar way.”
The emergency section is just as comprehensive but is surprisingly not segmented under various tabs. If I have to deal with a fire in flight situation I need to be able to go immediately to that section. Naturally, most of the critical aspects of emergencies should be memorised by the pilot anyway but the more complicated an aircraft with all its systems is, the more essential a good checklist becomes. There is of course also a detailed Table of Contents that you can quickly consult for your split-second decision making...The back cover of this checklist booklet contains all the V-speeds and maximums of this particular Cessna.
There are a couple of laminated checklists available to cover essentially all the same items in the booklet but in an even handier one page (double sided) format. One deals with all the aspects of flight and the other one with the emergencies. Both cards can be had for just $12.95 each and these are really much handier to use in day-to-day flying as there are no confusing references to mph, only the essential items are listed and everything is available at a glance.
Bendix King KLN89
Let's go to the avionics reference booklet for the Bendix King KLN89 units that you will find in the typical Cessnas in the last decade. It is not that the KLN89 is a complicated unit but without reference to any manual it is really hard to eke out everything this box has to offer. It starts with a very basic unit overview, an explanation of common GPS terms and dives straight into the most commonly used functions: Direct and Nearest. Then, programming a flight plan with the KLN89, followed by a very small moving maps section. Naturally a much larger section is taken up by how to use the KLN89 in IFR conditions. I found this booklet very helpful in refreshing my memory and, more importantly, it helped me to try out many of the other bacon-saving functions of this box o’tricks. It certainly is much, much more capable than just getting you to fly directly to the nearest airport...
Where these reference booklets and cards really shine is when you use different aircraft and may not be as familiar with the avionics that you will find in a particular plane. Or when you do not fly enough hours to have memorised all the various procedures or functions.
These are just two examples of a huge range of reference guides that Qref offers. Check out their website here.
Interestingly enough: the 172R book is not listed among the myriad of Cessna models... is it hot off the press or an oversight (or maybe my bad eyesight... :) )
Update: it was an oversight and now fixed on the website...
Upcoming Review: Qref also makes excellent Notebooks for instructors and as a former CFI I look forward to them sending me the latest material sometime next month. Stay tuned!