4. LESSON 3 - CHECKLISTS

Key points of attention:
  • Before you step in a glider, make sure the tail dolly has been removed!
  • Use of the pre-flight, pre-manoeuvre and landing checklists
Checklists are an essential safety measure in the world of gliding. You need to use the right checklist for your type of glider before and during each flight. These checklists are a way of making sure that everything is working properly, that you haven’t forgotten anything, that the flight instruments are set properly and that the glider is in the correct configuration for each phase of the flight. You go through the checklists by calling every item and response aloud, even when you are flying alone. Checking thoroughly and confirming key points out loud has the mental effect that you will not doubt yourself later. For example, a few seconds before touchdown, you do not want to ask yourself: “Did I lower my landing gear?” Manufacturers publish an Aircraft Flight Manual for every type of glider they produce. In this manual you will find the checklists and procedures on how to operate the glider. Since glider pilots often fly more than one type of glider at the same time, we often use generic checklists as a substitute for various official checklists. However, a generic checklist may not contain all the important items for a specific type of glider. That’s why you should ask your instructor which checklist you should use for a specific type of glider. It is useful to learn these checklists by heart. Different countries use different generic checklists. Usually someone has come up with a useful mnemonic (remembering technique) to memorize the items.

Pre-flight checklists:
CB SIFT BEC (UK)
CB SWIFT CBE (USA)
CISTR CO (Canada)
CHAOTIC (Australia)
CB SIFT BEC (New Zealand)
BC SIFT BCE (South Africa)
CB SIFT CBE (Ireland)

Post-release checklists: 
FUST (Australia)
RSULL (South Africa)

Pre-manoeuvre/aerobatic checklists:
HASSELL (UK)
HASSLL (USA)
CALL (Canada)
HASELL (New Zealand)

Landing checklists:
WULF (UK)
FUSTALL (USA)
SWAFTS (Canada)
FUST (Australia)
SUFB (New Zealand)
CWUFSTALL (South Africa)

 
COLOUR OF THE LEVERS IN THE COCKPIT

The location of the control levers in the cockpit may differ from glider to glider. When you fly different gliders, you will need to accustom yourself to where the control levers are, but they should always have the same colour:

Lever Colour Operating direction
1. Release knob yellow Pull to release the cable or tow rope
2. Air brake lever blue Pull to extend the airbrakes
3. Trim lever green

Pull -> nose up,

push -> nose down

4. Canopy locking lever white* As indicated by the associated placard
5. Canopy emergency jettison lever red As indicated by the associated placard
6. Rudder pedal adjustment lever black Pull to unlock the rudder pedals
Landing gear -and flap levers are also colored black (they are not shown in the illustration).
 

* ) Sometimes this lever is also used to jettison the canopy, it will then be colored white/red or completely red.

United Kingdom

Pre-flight checklist UK
Item (aloud) Action (action) Response (aloud) 
Controls Move the stick side-to-side, forward and backward. Rudder pedals side-to-side and check they are correctly adjusted for full free movement. Free and checked
Ballast Confirm that the ballast is within limits (should be done before the flight) and securely fastened. Within limits

Straps

Check whether the seatbelts have been fastened and tightened. Also verify that your instructor is strapped in correctly. Fastened
Instruments Make sure all instruments are set correctly. Also check the instruments for cracks or broken glass. Adjust the radio frequency/volume and switch the transponder on (if applicable). Set and checked
Flaps Most training gliders do not have flaps (adjustable control surfaces at the trailing edge of a wing), if you do have them: check that they can move freely and that they are set for take-off. Set /
Not Applicable
Trim Check for free movement and take-off setting (usually neutral or slightly forward). Set
Brakes Fully open the airbrakes; verify whether both airbrakes are completely extended; then half-close them and check again. Now close the airbrakes and push the lever forward until they are locked. (This way we make sure they do not open during the launch). Checked, closed and locked
Eventualities Mentally prepare your actions in the event of a cable break or aborted launch.  .... Discussed
Canopy Close the canopy and make sure it is locked securely by applying some pressure on a fixed part (not the glass or sliding window). Closed and locked
 Before every launch make sure that the area is clear and that there are no other aircraft about to cross the airspace you need for your launch.
 
Landing checklist UK
Before entering the circuit for landing, you should complete the following checklist. So it is more of a "pre-circuit checklist" than a landing checklist.
Item (aloud) Action (action) Response (aloud)
Water Jettison any water ballast (if you have it). Out
Undercarriage Extend landing gear and make sure it is locked. Down and locked
Loose articles Make sure there are no loose articles in the cockpit. Tighten the seatbelts. Fastened
Flaps Be aware of the flap setting for landing. Set
 
Pre-manoeuvre/aerobatic checklist UK
Before doing an exercise that comprises large speed and altitude changes, or when you are about to fly aerobatic manoeuvres, perform the checklist below. It's a good practice to run the pre-maneuvering checklist on the ground before you take off, with the checklist in the air summarizing what you've already done and an opportunity to ask: "what has changed?"

Item (aloud)

Action (action)

Response (aloud)

Height Check that you are sufficiently high above the ground to perform your exercise and get back to your airfield. Checked
Airframe Review the glider’s limitations: speed and loads. Re-check whether the canopy and the air brakes are still in the locked position.  Limits ...
 Straps Tighten seatbelts for the exercise. Fastened
 Security Make sure there are no loose objects in the cockpit. Checked
 Engine Set engine as required in a motor glider. Otherwise not applicable. Set / Not applicable
 Location (ABCD) Verify your position and make sure you have some notable landmarks. Stay clear of Airfields, Build up areas, Controlled airspace and Danger areas. Checked
Lookout Make some thorough lookout turns (for example two 180-degree S-turns) to make sure there is no traffic approaching you. Sky-clear
 

United States of America

Pre-flight checklist USA

Item (aloud) Action (action) Response (aloud)
Controls Move the stick side-to-side, forward and backward. Rudder pedals side-to-side and check they are correctly adjusted for full free movement. Free and checked
Ballast Confirm that the ballast is within limits (should be done before the flight) and securely fastened. Within limits
Straps Check whether the seatbelts have been fastened and tightened. Also verify that your instructor is strapped in correctly. Fastened
Wind Have a look at the wind sock for the direction and strength of the wind (a 15kt wind will fully extend the windsock). From the ... strength ...
Instruments Make sure all instruments are set correctly. Also check the instruments for cracks or broken glass. Adjust the radio frequency/volume and switch the transponder on (if applicable). Set and checked
Flaps Most training gliders do not have flaps (adjustable control surfaces at the trailing edge of a wing), if you do have them: check that they can move freely and that they are set for take-off. Set /
Not Applicable
Trim Check for free movement and take-off setting (usually neutral or slightly forward). Set
Canopy Close the canopy and make sure it is locked securely by applying some pressure on a fixed part (not the glass or sliding window). Closed and locked
Brakes Fully open the airbrakes; verify whether both airbrakes are completely extended; then half-close them and check again. Now close the airbrakes and push the lever forward until they are locked. (This way we make sure they do not open during the launch). Checked, closed and locked
Emergency plan Mentally prepare your actions in the event of a cable break or aborted launch. Discussed

Before every launch make sure that the area is clear and that there are no other aircraft about to cross the airspace you need for your launch.

Landing checklist USA
Before
-or when entering the circuit for landing a pilot shall perform the landing checklist.

Item (aloud) Action (action) Response (aloud)
Flaps Set for approach and be aware of the flap setting for landing. Set / Not Applicable
Undercarriage Extend the landing gear and make sure it is locked. Down and locked
Speed Fly at a normal approach speed, consider extra airspeed on final approach as a wind correction. ......kts
Trim Trim the aircraft for landing. Set
Air brakes Check for correct operation. Checked
Landing area Look for the windsock, other gliders, aircraft, vehicles and persons. Clear
Land the glider Make a radio call if required.  

 

Pre-manoeuvre/aerobatic checklist USA
Before doing an exercise that comprises large speed and altitude changes, or when you are about to fly aerobatic manoeuvres, perform the checklist below. It's a good practice to run the pre-maneuvering checklist on the ground before you take off, with the checklist in the air summarizing what you've already done and an opportunity to ask: "what has changed?"

Item (aloud)

Action (action)

Response (aloud)

Height Check that you are sufficiently high above the ground to perform your exercise and get back to your airfield. Checked
Airframe Review the glider’s limitations: speed and loads. Re-check whether the canopy and the air brakes are still in the locked position.  Limits ...
Straps Tighten seatbelts for the exercise. Fastened
Security Make sure there are no loose objects in the cockpit. Checked
Location (ABCD) Verify your position and make sure you have some notable landmarks. Stay clear of Airfields, Build up areas, Controlled airspace and Danger areas. Checked
Lookout Make some thorough lookout turns (for example two 180-degree S-turns) to make sure there is no traffic approaching you. Sky-clear

 

Canada 

 

Pre-flight checklist Canada

Item (aloud) Action (action) Response (aloud)
Controls Move the stick side-to-side, forward and backward. Rudder pedals side-to-side and check they are correctly adjusted for full free movement. Free and checked
Instruments Make sure all instruments are set correctly. Also check the instruments for cracks or broken glass. Adjust the radio frequency/volume and switch the transponder on (if applicable). Set and checked
Straps Check whether the seatbelts have been fastened and tightened. Also verify that your instructor is strapped in correctly. Fastened
Trim Check for free movement and take-off setting (usually neutral or slightly forward). Set
Release Pull the cable release lever twice to verify the mechanism is working; have the glider hooked-on only after you have completed the full checklist. Checked
Spoilers & Flaps Fully open the airbrakes; verify whether both airbrakes are completely extended; then half-close them and check again. Now close the airbrakes and push the lever forward until they are locked. (This way we make sure they do not open during the launch). Most training gliders do not have flaps (adjustable control surfaces at the trailing edge of a wing), if you do have them: check that they can move freely and that they are set for take-off. Checked, closed and locked
Canopy Close the canopy and make sure it is locked securely by applying some pressure on a fixed part (not the glass or sliding window). Closed and locked
Options Mentally prepare your actions in the event of a cable break or aborted launch. Check windspeed and direction. Discussed

Before every launch make sure that the area is clear and that there are no other aircraft about to cross the airspace you need for your launch.

Landing checklist Canada
Before -or when entering the circuit for landing a pilot shall perform the landing checklist.
Item (aloud) Action (action) Response (aloud)
Straps Tighten seatbelts for landing.

Fastened

Wheel & Water Extend the landing gear and make sure it is locked. Jettison any water ballast (if you have it). Down and locked,
Water is out
Airspeed Fly at a normal approach speed, consider extra airspeed on final approach as a wind correction. ......kts
Flaps Set for approach and be aware of the flap setting for landing. Set / Not Applicable
Traffic  Look for other gliders, aircraft, vehicles and persons. Checked
Spoilers  Check for correct operation. Checked

 

Pre-manoeuvre/aerobatic checklist Canada
Before doing an exercise that comprises large speed and altitude changes, or when you are about to fly aerobatic manoeuvres, perform the checklist below. It's a good practice to run the pre-maneuvering checklist on the ground before you take off, with the checklist in the air summarizing what you've already done and an opportunity to ask: "what has changed?"

Item (aloud)

Action (action)

Response (aloud)

Cockpit Make sure there are no loose objects in the cockpit and the seatbelts are fastened. Re-check whether the canopy and the air brakes are still in the locked position.  Checked
Altitude Check that you are sufficiently high above the ground to perform your exercise and get back to your airfield. Checked
Location (ABCD) Verify your position and make sure you have some notable landmarks. Stay clear of Airfields, Build up areas, Controlled airspace and Danger areas. Checked
Lookout Make some thorough lookout turns (for example two 180-degree S-turns) to make sure there is no traffic approaching you. Sky-clear

 

Australia 

Pre-Flight Checklist Australia

Item (aloud) Action (action) Response (aloud)
Control Access  Seat adjustments are secure and positioned to allow for comfortable access to all flight controls, switches & knobs and the release knob. Seat adjusted
Harness Check whether the seatbelts have been fastened and tightened. Also verify that your instructor is strapped in correctly. Fastened
Airbrakes & Flaps Fully open the airbrakes; verify whether both airbrakes are completely extended; then half-close them and check again. Now close the airbrakes and push the lever forward until they are locked. (This way we make sure they do not open during the launch). Most training glider do not have flaps, if you have them, set them for take-off. Checked, airbrakes closed and locked
Outside Airspace and take-off path are clear. Wind strength and direction checked. Ground crew is ready.  Free and checke
Options Note the glider’s critical speeds for the launch method and safe speed near the ground. Mentally prepare your actions in the event of a cable break or aborted launch. Checked 
Trim Correct ballast is confirmed. Check for free movement and take-off setting (usually neutral or slightly forward). Trim set
Instruments Make sure all instruments are set correctly. Also check the instruments for cracks or broken glass. Adjust the radio frequency/volume and switch the transponder on (if applicable). Instruments correct
Canopy Close the canopy and make sure it is locked securely by applying some pressure on a fixed part (not the glass or sliding window). Closed and locked
Carriage  Undercarriage is locked down. Checked 
Controls  Move the stick side-to-side, forward and backward. Rudder pedals side-to-side and check they are correctly adjusted for full free movement. Checked
Cable Now and not before, the tow rope may be hooked on using the small ring.   Hook on

Before every launch make sure that the area is clear and that there are no other aircraft about to cross the airspace you need for your launch.

Post-release & pre-landing checklist Australia

Item (aloud) Action (action) Response (aloud)
Flaps  Set as placarded. Ensure they are not in negative
setting. 
Flaps set 
Undercarriage

Post-launching: Undercarriage raised as placarded..

Pre-landing: Undercarriage down and locked as placarded.

Undercarriage raised

Undercarriage down and locked

Speed Set to a safe speed. Below 1000’ set to Safe speed near the ground. …kts
Trim Set for the selected speed in the circuit. Disposable ballast drained.

Trim set

Ballast drained

 

New Zealand 

Pre-flight checklist New Zealand

Item (aloud) Action (action) Responce (aloud)
Controls Move the stick side-to-side, forward and backward. Rudder pedals side-to-side and check they are correctly adjusted for full free movement. Free and checked
Ballast Confirm that the ballast is within limits (should be done before the flight) and securely fastened. Within limits
Straps Check whether the seatbelts have been fastened and tightened. Also verify that your instructor is strapped in correctly. Fastened
Instruments Make sure all instruments are set correctly. Also check the instruments for cracks or broken glass. Adjust the radio frequency/volume and switch the transponder on (if applicable). Set and checked
Flaps Most training gliders do not have flaps (adjustable control surfaces at the trailing edge of a wing), if you do have them: check that they can move freely and that they are set for take-off. Set /
Not Applicable
Trim Check for free movement and take-off setting (usually neutral or slightly forward). Set
Brakes Fully open the airbrakes; verify whether both airbrakes are completely extended; then half-close them and check again. Now close the airbrakes and push the lever forward until they are locked. (This way we make sure they do not open during the launch). Checked, closed and locked
Eventualities Mentally prepare your actions in the event of a cable break or aborted launch. .... Discussed
Canopy Close the canopy and make sure it is locked securely by applying some pressure on a fixed part (not the glass or sliding window). Closed and locked

Before every launch make sure that the area is clear and that there are no other aircraft about to cross the airspace you need for your launch.

Pre-manoeuvre/aerobatic checklist New Zealand
Before doing an exercise that comprises large speed and altitude changes, or when you are about to fly aerobatic manoeuvres, perform the checklist below. It's a good practice to run the pre-maneuvering checklist on the ground before you take off, with the checklist in the air summarizing what you've already done and an opportunity to ask: "what has changed?"
Item (aloud) Action (action) Responce (aloud)
Heigth Check that you are sufficiently high above the ground to perform your exercise and get back to your airfield. Checked
Airframe Review the glider’s limitations: speed and loads. Re-check whether the canopy and the air brakes are still in the locked position. Limits ...
Security Tighten seatbelts for the exercise. Make sure there are no loose objects in the cockpit. Checked
Engine Set engine as required in a motor glider. Otherwise not applicable. Set / Not applicable
Locality (ABCD) Verify your position and make sure you have some notable landmarks. Stay clear of Airfields, Build up areas, Controlled airspace and Danger areas. Checked
Lookout Make some thorough lookout turns (for example two 180-degree S-turns) to make sure there is no traffic approaching you. Sky-clear

 

Landing checklist New Zealand
Before or when entering the circuit for landing a pilot shall perform the landing checklist.

Item (aloud) Action (action) Response (aloud)
Straps Tighten seatbelts for landing. Fastened
Undercarriage  Extend the landing gear and make sure it is locked.  Extend the landing gear and make sure it is locked.
Flaps Set for approach and be aware of the flap setting for landing. Set
Brakes Check the airbrakes for correct operation, by a brief full extension. Checked


South Africa

Pre-flight checklist South Africa

Item read aloud) Action (action) Response ( loud) 
Ballast Confirm that the ballast is within limits (should be done before the flight) and securely fastened. Within limits

Controls

Move the stick side-to-side, forward and backward. Rudder pedals side-to-side and check they are correctly adjusted for full free movement. Free and checked
Securities Check whether the seatbelts have been fastened and tightened. Also verify that your instructor is strapped in correctly. Make sure there are no loose objects in the cockpit. Checked
Instruments Make sure all instruments are set correctly. Also check the instruments for cracks or broken glass. Adjust the radio frequency/volume and switch the transponder on (if applicable). Set and checked
Flaps Most training gliders do not have flaps (adjustable control surfaces at the trailing edge of a wing), if you do have them: check that they can move freely and that they are set for take-off. Set /
Not Applicable
Trim Check for free movement and take-off setting (usually neutral or slightly forward). Set
Brakes Fully open the airbrakes; verify whether both airbrakes are completely extended; then half-close them and check again. Now close the airbrakes and push the lever forward until they are locked. (This way we make sure they do not open during the launch). Checked, closed and locked
Canopy Close the canopy and make sure it is locked securely by applying some pressure on a fixed part (not the glass or sliding window). Closed and locked
Emergencies Mentally prepare your actions in the event of a cable break or aborted launch. .... Discussed
 Before every launch make sure that the area is clear and that there are no other aircraft about to cross the airspace you need for your launch.
 
Post-release checklist South Africa
Item (aloud) Action (action) Response (aloud)
Rope Verify the towrope or winch cable is clear. Clear
Separate Only when the towrope is clear: make a climbing right turn away from the towplane. Clear
Undercarriage Extend the landing gear and make sure it is locked. Down and locked
Landing site Locate your airfield and landing site. Airfield at … o’ clock
Lookout Lookout for traffic and make sure there is no traffic approaching you, close to -or just below you. Sky-clear
 
Landing checklist South Africa
Before -or when entering the circuit for landing a pilot shall perform the landing checklist.
Item (aloud) Action (action) Response (aloud)
Committed Be aware that you are committed to land and discuss the circuit planning. Checked
Water ballast Jettison any water ballast (if you have it). Water is out
Undercarriage Extend the landing gear and make sure it is locked. Down and locked
Flaps Set for approach and be aware of the flap setting for landing Set / Not Applicable
Speed and
Securities
Fly at a normal approach speed, consider extra airspeed on final approach as a wind correction. Make sure there are no loose objects in the cockpit and the seatbelts are tightened. ----kts
Trim Trim the aircraft for landing. Set
Airbrakes Check the airbrakes for correct operation by a brief extension. Ckecked
Lookout Lookout for other traffic in the circuit. Sky-clear
Landing area Look for the windsock, other gliders, aircraft, vehicles and persons on the airfield. Clear
 
Ireland
 
Pre-flight checklist Ireland
Item read aloud) Action (action) Response ( loud) 
Controls Move the stick side-to-side, forward and backward. Rudder pedals side-to-side and check they are correctly adjusted for full free movement. Free and checked
Ballast Confirm that the ballast is within limits (should be done before the flight) and securely fastened. Within limits

Straps

Check whether the seatbelts have been fastened and tightened. Also verify that your instructor is strapped in correctly. Fastened
Instruments Make sure all instruments are set correctly. Also check the instruments for cracks or broken glass. Adjust the radio frequency/volume and switch the transponder on (if applicable). Set and checked
Flaps Most training gliders do not have flaps (adjustable control surfaces at the trailing edge of a wing), if you do have them: check that they can move freely and that they are set for take-off. Set /
Not Applicable
Trim Check for free movement and take-off setting (usually neutral or slightly forward). Set
Canopy Close the canopy and make sure it is locked securely by applying some pressure on a fixed part (not the glass or sliding window). Closed and locked
Brakes Fully open the airbrakes; verify whether both airbrakes are completely extended; then half-close them and check again. Now close the airbrakes and push the lever forward until they are locked. (This way we make sure they do not open during the launch). Checked, closed and locked
Eventualities Mentally prepare your actions in the event of a cable break or aborted launch.  .... Discussed
 Before every launch make sure that the area is clear and that there are no other aircraft about to cross the airspace you need for your launch.