General-Purpose Checklist

Since we don’t have checklists in-sim, here is a general-purpose checklist that I have worked out after flying in IF for a while. It’s not 100% realistic for every aircraft but is meant to cover the major points of cross-country jet/turboprop flights with enough detail to get you through multiplayer without annoying people.

Pre-Flight

  • If on Expert Server and ATIS is available, check the active runway and other airport information
  • Program flight plan, including SID and STAR if available
    Note that the waypoint altitudes in IF’s SID/STAR database are MINIMUM altitudes, and it’s usually better to go higher. You will get optimal altitude recommendations from a third-party flight planning tool like http://dispatch.simbrief.com which can also help you choose an optimal/realistic cruise routing.
  • Set ILS frequency if you plan to use an ILS approach
    [Edited to add: as per discussion below, one might wait until later in the flight to do this]
  • Check the speeds and climb/descent rates for the aircraft at Aircraft Performance Database
  • Set autopilot with initial climb V/S and cruising altitude
  • Check weight and balance
    Make sure you have enough fuel, but not so much that you will be over maximum takeoff weight, or over maximum landing weight at the destination – SimBrief is also useful for calculating how much you need
  • Seat belts and No Smoking ON
  • Go to bathroom and refill beverage (if needed)

Pushback (if necessary)

  • [If ATC is present] Request pushback from ground and wait for clearance
  • Attach tug
  • Parking brake OFF
  • Push
  • When in position, stop push
  • Parking brake ON

Taxi

  • Landing lights ON
    [Edited to add: as per discussion below, this is controversial – I do it to simulate taxi lights, but others would wait until entering the runway]
  • If Ground is present, request taxi and wait for clearance
  • If no Ground is present, report taxi to Unicom
  • Parking brake OFF
  • Auto brake MAX
  • Taxi to assigned runway at <35 kts
  • Hold short of assigned runway

Pre-Takeoff

  • If Tower is present, contact Tower, request departure, and wait for clearance
  • If no Tower is present, report departure to Unicom

Takeoff

  • Strobes ON
  • Enter active runway
  • Throttle to 100% N1
    Warning: depending on the aircraft this may be less than 100% throttle, on big airliners it’s only 80% to 90%, so throttle up steadily and stop when you’re close to 100% N1
  • Gear UP once plane is climbing
  • Autopilot ON
  • Double-check initial speed and V/S based on your aircraft’s performance profile
  • Flaps UP
  • Contact radar (if Tower is present they will hand you off, if no Tower, contact Departure; if no Departure, contact Center; if no Center, just tune the radio to no frequency)
  • LNAV ON once ready to begin navigating the flight plan

5,000 Feet

  • Adjust speed and V/S based on aircraft’s performance profile
    You can use autopilot speed control, but it may go crazy if you have gusty headwinds, in which case it’s better to set throttle manually and fine-tune it every now and then to stay around the target speed.

10,000 Feet

  • Seat belts OFF unless there is turbulence
    Also No Smoking OFF if you’re dangerous or retro
  • Adjust speed based on aircraft’s performance profile

FL150

  • Adjust speed and V/S based on aircraft’s performance profile

FL240

  • Adjust speed and V/S based on aircraft’s performance profile

Top of Climb (Cruising Altitude)

  • Adjust speed if needed
  • On a longer flight, set an alarm/reminder for the estimated top of descent time

Top of Descent

  • Go to bathroom and refill beverage
  • If Center is present, request descent via selected STAR
  • Set speed and V/S based on aircraft’s performance profile
    I try not to use the autopilot’s VNAV because it is prone to choose an aggressive descent rate that leads to overspeeding.
  • Check destination airport winds and consider changing the flight plan approach and STAR if necessary (avoid red runways)
  • Update ILS frequency if changing runways

FL240

  • Adjust speed and V/S based on aircraft’s performance profile
  • If ATIS is present, check it around 60 NM from destination
  • If Approach is present, contact them around 50 NM from destination and request desired approach

10,000 Feet

  • Seat belts and No Smoking ON
  • Adjust V/S based on aircraft’s performance profile
  • Adjust speed to minimum cruise speed to avoid overspeeding at low altitude

25 NM from Destination (or when instructed by Center/Approach)

  • Contact Tower or Unicom and report inbound
  • If Tower is present, wait for landing clearance

Final Approach

  • Intercept approach/ILS path
  • If on ILS, switch A/P to APPR once the ILS is intercepted
  • Strobes ON
  • Landing Lights ON
  • Approach speed and descent rate
  • Flaps gradually to FULL as you get to approach speed
  • Gear DOWN
  • Auto Brake LOW if the runway is long (most major airports), MED if it’s short
    Usually it’s automatically set to MED, but this will cause you to stop too soon at larger airports and potentially get in the way of traffic. LOW will generally get you better positioned to exit on a high-speed taxiway
  • Calibrate yoke
  • A/P OFF to hand-fly approach and landing
    This can be done at any time prior to the flare, but I usually do it once everything above is set, and fly the last 2 minutes or so by hand

After Landing

  • Decelerate to 35 kts
  • Exit runway
  • Strobes OFF
  • If Ground is present, request clearance to taxi to parking
  • If no Ground is present, report clear of all runways once clear
  • Taxi to parking

Parking at Gate

  • Parking brake ON
  • Seat belts OFF
  • Landing lights OFF
  • APU ON
  • Engines OFF
  • Ground power ON
  • Beacon OFF
  • Attach jetbridge, stairs, etc. as desired
5 Likes

Love the checklist! But not this, landing lights don’t come on until takeoff.

2 Likes

I think he is simulating it as taxi lights, however I might be wrong.

3 Likes

Yes, that’s the idea. It would be nice to have separate landing and taxi lights…

3 Likes

I’m not sure if I would do this during preflight because winds for your destination could change. I usually wait until my descent to do this or wait till ATC tells me which runway they’re sending me to. I’m not entirely sure though of IRL ops.

1 Like

That’s fair. I like to set the ILS in advance mainly because it lets me see the total great circle distance to my destination on the HUD, and with GPS there usually isn’t any other reason to use NAV 1 in flight. But you certainly do need to check and potentially change it closer to arrival.

2 Likes

Oh yes that makes sense !

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