FAA Cautions on off-the-shelf Checklists


Subject: Safety Concerns with Using Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) or Personally Developed Checklists

Purpose: This SAFO warns pilots and operators of the risks of purchasing a commercially available checklist, obtaining a free download, or developing their own aircraft checklist in lieu of using the checklist contained in the manufacturer’s Pilot Operating Handbook (POH)/Airplane Flight Manual (AFM).

Background: Recently, a pilot was unable to lower the aircraft’s landing gear and referred to a COTS checklist for the specific type of aircraft. The aircraft landed with the landing gear partially extended. On contact with the runway, the landing gear collapsed, and the aircraft sustained substantial damage.

Discussion: The post-accident investigation compared the POH/AFM and the COTS checklist used. The investigation found that the COTS checklist did not match the manufacturer’s checklist relating to the landing gear failure and manual gear extension. The omission of steps within the COTS checklist significantly contributed to the pilot’s inability to fully extend the aircraft’s landing gear. Further, the CAUTION statement in the POH/AFM was not present on the COTS checklist. The CAUTION states: "Do not re-engage landing gear operating motor in flight. To reduce landing gear side loads to a minimum, avoid crosswind landing and high speed turns while taxiing."

Recommended Action: Pilots and operators, other than those operating an aircraft under 14 CFR Part 121 or 135 that choose to use COTS or personally developed checklists should meticulously compare them to the manufacturer’s checklist and placards contained in the POH/AFM to confirm they are consistent. This action will ensure the pilot has all pertinent manufacturer’s information during aircraft flight operations.

Contact: Questions or comments regarding this SAFO should be directed to the General Aviation’s Commercial Operations Branch (AFS-820) at (202) 267-1100.

Link to SAFO 17006