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Cessna Checklists

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What is a Cessna Checklist?

A Cessna checklist is a tool used to standardize flight safety measures before, during, and after flying Cessna airplanes (Cessna 172, Cessna 152, and Cessna 150). This checklist can be used by flight schools and aircraft fleets to identify issues or potential plane-crash risks and address them immediately. It can also act as a guidance tool for students and flight instructors to ensure that pre-flight checks are conducted regularly.

This article features: 1) the importance of Cessna checklists; 2) 4 tips to complete Cessna checklists effectively 3) software to help strengthen standards compliance; and 4) top 7 Cessna checklists you can download, customize, and share with flight school peers.


Why are Cessna Checklists Important?

Before a Cessna plane leaves the runway, student pilots are trained to assess flight conditions using a detailed checklist. Cessna checklists are used throughout the whole flight to ensure that the pilot and crew are prepared for any issues that may arise. Missing a single item in the pre-flight, take-off, and landing checklist can turn a simple act of carelessness into a life-threatening emergency.

importance of cessna checklist

An investigation of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the major contributing factors to the accident above were the flight crew’s failure to perform the flight control check before takeoff and their habitual noncompliance with checklists. A look at the plane’s previous 175 takeoffs also showed that this noncompliance occurred 98% of the time. This incident underscores the importance of Cessna checklists and how regular pre-flight checks help avoid plane crashes and other flight accidents.


How To Use Cessna Checklists Effectively

Completing Cessna 172 checklists effectively is a vital skill for every pilot and flight crew member. It trains them in diligently performing pre-flight tasks and other necessary steps that will avoid accidents in the air and on the tarmac. Here are 4 tips to help student pilots accomplish Cessna checklists effectively:

  1. Understand the systems and mechanisms thoroughly.
    Cessna checklists are structured and specific to the different phases of a flight, making it a great reference tool on a Cessna plane’s parts and their role during pre-flight and landing. Take the time to study every mechanism that makes your respective Cessna fly. This will help student pilots know the value of each item in the Cessna checklist.

  2. Assess yourself before every flight.
    Having an operational aircraft is one thing, being a healthy and stable pilot-in-command (PIC) is another. Mentally prepare yourself before each flight so you won’t miss any items in the C172 checklist. Use pre-flight time to assess yourself and see if you are fit to fly.

  3. Be observant of external factors.
    Apart from understanding the plane’s parts and assessing yourself, take into consideration external factors that can affect the flight, such as weather, turbulence, visual challenges, airfield traffic situation, and terrain. The PAVE check (PIC, Aircraft, enVironment, and External Pressures) can guide pilots before flights in reviewing these crucial external factors affecting overall flight safety.

  4. Be curious and analytical.
    If you see even the slightest of anomalies, report it immediately to your flight instructor. Be vigilant and take the initiative if you feel that there is something wrong. A Cessna 172 checklist is an opportunity to discover something new about your aircraft, not a mundane task to get over with.

Take Your Safety Standards to New Heights

Complying with safety requirements using paper-based checklists can be tedious, and due to its routinary nature, critical pre-flight, take-off, and landing protocol might be overlooked or even skipped. Empower student pilots with a digital tool to efficiently benchmark performance and take your safety standards to new heights.

With iAuditor, the world’s leading mobile inspection app, flight school trainers and student pilots can do away with conventional pen-and-paper checklists and take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Customize C172 checklists according to your preference
  • Take photo evidence of aircraft defects and quickly alert technicians and/or flight instructors
  • Easily annotate and send completed checklists to flight instructors for review
  • Attach reference guides to complex checklist items
  • Easily access inspection records with iAuditor’s safe cloud backup
  • Encourage peer-to-peer learning by sharing Cessna checklists with co-students
  • Easily check history and identify recurring defects
  • Enable electronic signatures for inspection sign off

To help you get started, we have created free checklists for Cessna 172 and other Cessna models that you can download, customize, and share with your flight school peers.


John Derick Flores

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Dirk is a contributing writer for SafetyCulture who has 3+ years of experience being a Safety Officer in an international airline. Over the course of his tenure, he worked on projects involving training management, ramp safety inspections, quality & safety certification audits, and safety promotion programs. Further, he is interested in maximizing the power of technology to help make the world a better place.