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Standardized Aircraft Checklists

Program Overview

To enhance aircrew standardization, as well as interoperability during responses to large-scale emergency service events and exercises, CAP has established a program for standardizing aircraft checklists at the national level.  Although CAPR 70-1 9.9.2. still permits use of a manufacturer’s checklist in lieu of an NHQ-approved checklist, it is important to note that those checklists may not include STC required changes.  In addition, manufacturer checklists will not include CAP-unique requirements.  The PIC remains responsible for compliance with both STC and CAP requirements when using a manufacturer’s checklist.  Checklists created by third-party vendors are not “manufacturer’s checklists” and are not approved for use.

The CAP Standardized Aircraft Checklist Program consists of five major processes: Aircraft Configuration Assignment, Checklist Design, Development, Approval, and Change.  Each of these processes is described in the following sections. 

Aircraft Configuration Assignment

Early efforts to standardize CAP aircraft checklists created a unique set of checklists for every aircraft.  This required configuration management of approximately 1200 checklist documents.  To simplify this task, CAP identified common configurations of make, model, and equipment within its fleet.  Using this approach, approximately 60 aircraft configuration groups have been established.  Each CAP aircraft has been assigned to one of those groups for the purpose of managing its checklists.

Checklist Design

CAP has designed a standard checklist format which condenses the procedures for an aircraft configuration group into two documents – one for normal procedures and one for emergency procedures.  (Due to their relatively simplicity, glider procedures are contained in a single document.)  The Word documents hyperlinked below are representative of the CAP standard and shall be used for the development of new checklists.

Beyond using the template, content guidance for CAP standardized checklists is relatively simple.  First, AFM/POH content must be included and the order of steps must remain the same.  If an STC has modified AFM/POH content, then those changes should be integrated into the CAP checklist.   Warnings, Cautions, Notes from the AFM/POH must be called out, but may be limited to a reference to save space.  Finally, each checklist must include the following note:

This checklist is a guide to coordinate Pilot Operating Handbook and STC data applicable to this particular aircraft only.  The applicable Pilot Operating Handbook and STC installations remain the official documentation for this aircraft.  The pilot in command is responsible for complying with all items in the Pilot Operating Handbook and applicable STCs.

Development

Using the approved checklist design, volunteers with operational experience developed a set of checklists for each of CAP’s aircraft configuration groups.  Although CAP/DOV manages this process, development of checklists requires access to current technical data, including the serialized AFM/POH and applicable STCs.  Since this data is not available at NHQ, checklist development must be performed by volunteers who have access to the aircraft.  This principle also applies to the revision of checklists once they have been developed.

Approval

CAPR 70-1 9.9.2. establishes the coordination and approval process for aircraft checklists:  “All new and revised checklists require proper coordination in the following order: The respective CAP Wing Maintenance Officer, CAP Wing Commander, CAP-USAF/LR, CAP-USAF/DO, CAP/DOV and CAP/DO approval.”  Once checklists are approved, CAP/DOV assigns the checklists to each aircraft within the Operational Resource Management System (ORMS) based on that aircraft’s configuration.

Change

As new aircraft are received, older aircraft are modified, and policies change, there will be a need to make changes to this program.  The following sections describe how to request changes to the various elements of the program.

Changing Assignment to an Aircraft Configuration Group

As CAP aircraft undergo modifications, the checklist assigned in ORMS may no longer be appropriate.  In some cases, modifications may result in the need to create a new aircraft configuration group.  These requests can be made directly to CAP/DOV by emailing dov@capnhq.gov.  Please include the aircraft tail number, year of manufacture, make, model, and avionics information (instrument type, nav, autopilot, and other mission systems) in the email.  CAP/DOV can change the group and checklist assignment for an aircraft or can coordinate creation of a new configuration group/checklist when required.

Changing Checklist Design

CAP arrived at its current checklist design after careful consideration of several options.  Although it is certainly possible to improve upon this design, any request to do so must justify the cost of changing the system versus the benefits to be gained.  As a reference point – approximately a dozen people spent more than two years developing, reviewing, and editing the 120+ documents that comprise the current system.  Requests for design changes should be routed in the same manner specified in CAPR 70-1 9.9.2. for new/revised checklists.

Changing Existing Checklists

Changes to existing checklists may be required due to changes in technical data or to correct existing errors.  If you determine that a checklist requires changes, please email dov@capnhq.gov to request a copy of the source file (Microsoft Word) for editing.  Please identify the checklist that you believe needs revision by the filename used in ORMS, an aircraft that represents that configuration (tail number, year of manufacture, make, model, and avionics information) and the reason why you believe the change is required.  This will assist CAP/DOV in determining if other action is required or already in progress.  Using the source file provided by CAP/DOV, create a revised checklist in Microsoft Word format.  Requests for checklist revisions should be routed in manner specified in CAPR 70-1 9.9.2.  The email should include the revised checklist as an attachment and the body of the email should include the tail number, year of manufacture, make, model, and avionics information (instrument type, nav, autopilot, and other mission systems) of the aircraft.  The approval process moves fastest when the checklist is presented in full compliance with the AFM/POH and in proper standardized CAP aircraft checklist format.  Checklists change requests that are not compliant will be returned for correction.

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