Flow Vs. Checklist


New Member
I'm having a little trouble understanding which one I should learn. I want to eventually get a job as a pro pilot like most pilots, but I have a very big question. What is the proper way to perform the checklist. I understand the callout checklist, but is that 24/7. Who uses the flow process because I kno comair teaches it. I'm debating whether I should change instructors for my multi engine training to learn the flow, but I don't kno...is it the way to go or should I just stick to reading the checklist??



New Member
It depends. Some things need to be memorized, but not everything.

At FSA, certain checklists (the boxed items) had to be memorized. These included (struggling to remember) the taxi check, takeoff check, climb check, approach check and landing check. Others, like the start checks, pre-takeoff, and after-landing checks were not boxed and were read-and-do.

Basically, if a checklist was performed when you had your hands full flying the airplane and did not need to have your head in the cockpit, then it was memorized.

A flow is really just a memorized checklist that "flows" from one part of the panel to another in a logical order. In the airline world, routine tasks are normally performed as part of a flow, and then confirmed by reading the checklist.


New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
It probably all varies from airline to airline, but we teach "flows" at Delta.

Basically, do whatever you have to do, and then use the checklist to verify switch positions and completion of duty.

Like when I exit the runway, I'll turn the ignition off, pop down the spoilers, open the cross bleed manifold, turn off and clear the transponder, select flaps up, turn off the weather radar, turn off the lights and then retract the slats. Once we're on a long straightaway, I'll perform the actual after landing checklist.

But abnormal procedures are divided into memory items and then a do-list philosophy. Like if you lose an engine, turn off the autothrottles, retard the throttle on the affected engine and go thru methodically item by item of the checklist for engine fire/failure.


New Member
Similar for us except that we only have memory items for four events: Smoke, Rapid Decompression, Flight Control Jam, and Loss of Non-essential Bus on the Ground (which lead to pack overheat and smoke).

For everything else, we go directly to the QRC (Quick Reference Checklist) for immediate action items and then to the QRH (Quick Reference Handbook) for less urgent items.

Similarly though, my after landing flow is:
Flaps up
Gust lock engaged
Transponder standby
Electric fuel pump off
Ice protection off
Start selectors off
DC bus tie closed
APU start
APU generator on

After completing the flow, the after landing checklist is completed silently. It covers the same items plus it confirms that lights are off (that is the sole item on the captain's after landing flow).


New Member
Hey everyone,

I'm working on my Private right now, and my instructor is having me use a flow, backed up with the checklist ("Knowledge First, Checklist Second"). Personally, I feel it's a great tool to use in flying because it allows you to really know your aircraft and not rely so much on a checklist. Anyone else agree?


New Member
I agree, flows are nice. I've been taught the checklist method, but I'm only on my private, so that'll change with the other licenses most likely.
We do flows, followed by a challenge/response checklist for Before Engine Start, Taxi, Before Take-off, In-Range, and the Before Landing checcklists. The After Take-off, and the After Landing checklists are flows, back up silently by the Engineer's reading of the checklist.

I once worked for a man who said, "Flows are what you should be doing if your brain goes into feather and your waiting for the oil pressure to build back up."


New Member
Basically, do whatever you have to do, and then use the checklist to verify switch positions and completion of duty.

[/ QUOTE ]I'm with Doug on this one, I do the Riddle "7-up" flow, then run the appropriate checklist afterward to make sure I did everything. And just as he said for emergencies, do the memory items immediately, then whip out the checklist for the rest of the action items. I wear a laminated card around my neck when flying, which has all the San Diego area frequencies I'm likely to need on local flights (all 9 area airports plus SoCal and the area VORs) on the front, and all my fire-related emergency checklists on the back. (Why only the fire ones? Because a fire will kill me quicker than an electrical or engine failure will. YMMV.)


New Member
I'm working on my "instrument rating". I tend to try to use the "flow" method. But my instructor always tells me not to try to use that method as you might forget something.

He says if you follow the checklist everytime to the letter you can never miss anything. I'd have to say I agree with him on that. If I'm feelin lazy I do a "flow".

But if my instructor is in the plane or somebody from my flight school (chief flight instructor) or an examiner you'd better bet I use the checklist.


Piece of Trash
I'd say run the flow, then the checklist to back it up. That's what I do on run-ups, climbs, approach briefs, pre-landing and of course the famous GUMP check.

BTW, what is the Riddle 7-up flow?


Well-Known Member
Want yet another opionion?

For Normal Operations:
I use the printed checklist for all ground ops.

I use flows for all airborne ops, followed by confirmation of the printed checklist as time permitts.

Not Normal Operations:
If there is memory or imediate action steps = do them from memory

If no imediate action steps = get out the appropriate checklist and run it.