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B-17 Training Manual, United States Army Air Force, 1944
Pilot's Information File (PIF), United States Army Air Force, 1944
Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rd BGA Historian

Bombardier Checklist

Cockpit Checklists were utilized many years before WWII by both the Military and Airlines and many private pilots. We do not know when the first checklist was printed. The number of procedures necessary for the safe and efficient operation of large aircraft (as well as smaller aircraft) are far too many for even the most experienced pilot to safely memorize. Even the best trained pilots are likely to forget things on occasion. The cockpit checklist is the only sure safeguard.

Where there is both a pilot and copilot, the copilot takes the checklist in hand and, in a clear loud voice, calls out each item. The specific operation or check is then performed, either by the pilot or copilot (as specified in the checklist), whereupon the pilot or co-pilot repeats aloud the item as "Checked." In single engine aircraft the pilot reviews his checklist alone.

A large number of accidents that were classified as pilot's error were the direct result of the pilot and copilot failing to fully and properly utilize their checklist, forgetting one or more item. One mistake, one switch improperly set or one instrument overlooked was an invitation for disaster.