Gliding Checklists

There are four checklists that you will need to learn. We will discuss each in turn. So as to assist us to remember our checks we use a particular acronym for each.

The ABCD Pre-Takeoff Checklist

Before entering the glider we conduct an ABCD check on the aircraft

A: Airframe
Look for any obvious damage that may have occurred recently. Examples include flat tyres, dimples in the wing
surface, tears in fabric, and cracks in the aircraft skin.
B: Ballast
All gliders must be flown within carefully defined centre of gravity (CoG) limits. To achieve this, the pilot weights
must lie within the margins specified on cockpit weight and balance placards. You must know how much you
weigh dressed and tell your instructor, so he can ensure that the weight requirements are met. It may even be
necessary for you to carry extra weight (called ballast) under your seat to ensure compliance. If not, check that
no ballast is already installed. The ballast check must be completed before you enter the aircraft
C: Controls
While you are still outside the glider and can see the control surfaces, you should check that they are connected and operating in the correct sense. Take hold of the stick and ensure that as it moves towards a control surface,
that surface rises to meet the stick. Your instructor will brief you on the effects of controls and how to fully carry
out this check.
D: Dolly
Some gliders use a swivelling dolly wheel, temporarily attached to the rear of the glider, to assist in ground
manoeuvring the aircraft. These must be removed before flight as they will adversely affect the glider’s centre of
gravity if left attached. Check the wing walker and any covers are also removed.

The CHAOTIC Checklist

Once seated inside the glider we conduct the pre-takeoff CHAOTIC checks. This check is carried out only after both pilots are seated with their harnesses fastened.

C: Controls and Access
DO: Check for full, free movement of the control column and rudder. Move each smoothly to the extremity of its
travel. Ensure you have sufficient reach (access) to all controls. Do not confuse this with the ABCD control check.
SAY: “Seating and rudder adjustments correct. Controls are operating full and free. I have full access to ancillary
controls and the panel” – Following this the Instructor will complete their control check
H: Harness
DO: Both harnesses must be fitted correctly, without twists, and properly fastened. The pilot carrying out the
checks must ensure both harnesses are secure. When securing your harness it is important to tighten the lap belt before the shoulder straps, so that the harness lies firmly across your hips and not your stomach. Smaller cadets may need to sit on cushions to ensure that the harness fits correctly and to provide an unobstructed view over the instrument panel.
SAY: “My harness is secure, is your harness secure – The instructor will respond accordingly
A: Airbrakes and Flaps
DO: The airbrakes must be opened, to check that they both deploy at the same rate, then that they are closed and locked for the takeoff. The flaps are also set as required for takeoff as part of this check. While none of the SGGC
gliders are equipped with flaps, this must be mentally checked.
SAY: “Airbrakes fully open and even” (check wings) “Airbrakes are closed flush and LOCKED” (check wings).“Flaps set for take-off” or “Flaps not fitted”
O: Outside and Options (COWO)
DO: Crew: identify that ground crew are sufficient competent for launch; Obstacles and Outside: Identify the
runway is clear of obstacles and airspace is clear in the departure area;
Wind: assess the wind strength and direction with reference to a windsock. Calculate the safe speed near the
ground (speed to fly in circuit) (Vsafe = 1.5 x Vstall + 0.5 x Vwind);
Options: consider options from this runway in the
event of a launch emergency.
SAY: “CREW competent and sufficient for launch”“OUTSIDE and OBSTACLES, runway clear of obstacles and
airspace is clear for take off”“WIND (E.G.) is left cross wind at 5 knots, our safe speed is XX knots for circuit at this
“OPTIONS “If we have a cable break on ground rolI, stabilise aircraft maintain direction control with rudder, using
airbrake and wheel brake as required and avoid obstacles” “If just airborne, stabilise aircraft and land aircraft
safely clear of obstacles using airbrake and wheel brake as required” “If we have a cable brake circuit height,
select safe speed, select landing area, select aim point which may include landing straight ahead, landing on the
cross runway, complete turn back or modified circuit”
T: Trim and Ballast
DO: The green trim lever should be checked for full, free movement and set fully forward for takeoff. Since the trim of the glider is affected by the ballast, this is also a final mental check that the glider has been ballasted correctly. SAY: “Ballast is not fitted not required” or “Ballast fitted as required”
I: Instruments
DO: Altimeter set to the airfield elevation AMSL (250ft at Leongatha). Master switch on, radio on and tuned to the
correct frequency, vario volume turned down for departure, check there is no broken instrument glass or
condensation. If the radio is not tuned correctly, inform the instructor but do not attempt to tune it yourself.
SAY: “Instruments, no broken glass no condensation, all instruments that should be reading zero are reading zero, Altimeter set to airfield elevation, (Leongatha 250’) master switch on, radio on and set to 126.70, other electrical
instruments on and working”
C: Canopy, Carriage,Controls
DO: Canopy: Physically check the canopy is down and locked – ensure the handle is in the closed position as per
the placard, also push up on the frame (not the Perspex itself) to check.
Carriage: Physically check the undercarriage lever is down and locked as placarded, or fixed;
Controls: Check for full, free movement of the control column and rudder. Move each smoothly to the extremity of its travel. LAST ACTION OF THE CHAOTIC
SAY: “CANOPY down and locked” “CARRIAGE down and locked” or “CARRIAGE fixed” and “CONTROLS full and

Only after these checks have been completed can the rope be hooked on. Do not let your checks be interrupted by the ground crew. Should an interruption occur, start the checklist again from the beginning.

The Post-Release Checklist

The post-release checks are conducted after releasing the rope and making a clearance turn to the right. They use the acronym FUST as follows:

F: Flaps – Set as required.
U: Undercarriage – Up and locked as placarded, or fixed.
S: Speed – Select safe speed attitude.
T: Trim – Trim for this attitude.

The Pre-landing Checklist
The pre-landing checks are conducted on the downwind leg of the circuit, and also use the acronym FUST as follows:

F: Flaps – Set as required.
U: Undercarriage – Down and locked as placarded, or fixed.
S: Speed – Select safe speed attitude.
T: Trim – Trim for this attitude.

You should learn to recite these checklists (the bold text), and perform the checks whilst reading from the provided checklists in the cockpit.