Mnemonics - A Pilot's Best Friend

10:00 AM


If you've ever taken primary flight lessons, you know them, those funny memory aids we all know and use. I personally can't shut down my 235 without mentally going over the REMMM checklist taught to me by my first CFI back in 1996. Sure, if I just begin shutting things off, I will eventually get the radios, electricals, mixture, mags and master in the right positions to make the big spinning metal thing out front stop attacking the wind.

So in the interest of eating up some valuable bytes out in cyberspace, here are some actual mnemonics that I found lurking out there on the Internets:

First there are two old standbys: CIGAR – which helps lots of us remember Controls check, Instruments set, Gas (proper tank, pump on, etc), Attitude (flaps, trim, etc.) and Run-up. And who can fly a retractable without GUMPS Gas, Undercarriage (landing gear down), Mixture set, Prop set and Switches (lights, pitot heat, etc.).
Everyone knows CIGAR and GUMPS, but do you know anyone who flies with these two obscure ones:
If IFR and nearing your destination, try WIRETAPWeather, Instruments set, Radios tuned, Elevation (check final approach fix altitude), Talk to ATC, Altitudes (for decision height) and Procedure (for missed approach). And once you land safely, don't forget MIDGET Master off, Ignition off, Doors/windows locked, Gust lock installed, ELT off, Tiedown plane.
Now if you want to test that gray matter between your ears, try remembering this one...not sure what phase of flight it is for, maybe lunch:
TOMATO FLAMES Tachometer, Oil pressure, Manifold pressure, Altimeter, Temperature sensor (liquid-cooled), Oil temperature (air cooled), Fuel gauge, Landing gear position, Airspeed indicator, Magnetic compass, ELT, Seat belts.
And of course, some bored line pilots have made up their own mnemonics for certain hubs they see frequently (along with a couple from my own dangerously warped mind:
LGA Late Guaranteed Always
ORD O'Hare's Ridiculously Delayed
IAD I Always Divert
LAX Large Aircraft eXcitement
SFOSuper Foggy Oxygen
FAT Fresno's Always Tacky
DFWDamned Fine Wiki-Wiki
EUG Everything's Unbelievably Green
SEAStarbucks Every Avenue
OSHOshkosh Seems Heavenly
That's all for tonight, now it's time to go run my personal bedtime checklist. It involves a toothbrush, a toilet, and...oh, never mind.

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