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Down wind checks

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What are your down wind checks?


I have 2 and depends how I feel at the time:


The standard one that I personally use is:


Brakes are off


Undercarriage is down,


Fuel is on


and enough for go-around,


Engine is green


Mixture is rich,


Trim is set


Hatches/harness are fixed.




My other one I call the Big Mac approach:


2 all beef patties - undercarriage is down and brakes are off


special sauce - fuel is on and enough for go around


lettuce - oil temp (lettuce is mostly water) & pressure (or engine is green like lettuce)


cheese - trim is set (cheese is fattening not trimming)


pickles - mixture is rich


onions - hatches are secure if you catch my drift about onions


on a sesame seed bun - harness is secure keeping you on your buns




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Its a bit different for trikes - I use


FUEL - Sufficient for go-around


ALL CLEAR - No conflict with other aircraft


WIND - Check direction and strength


NOSEWHEEL - Nose wheel straight and brakes off


THROTTLE / TRIM - Hand Throttle closed. Trim set


SECURITY - No loose items, helmet & harness secure


Interesting that not of the GA-based checks include checking for other traffic or confirming wind direction.





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Guest Fred Bear

Mine was FIBS... very basic.










(covers most areas when you think about it)


Then the obvious hatches and harnesses.


Seem to be missing gear down there, but back then they were very rare.



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Guest David C

Mine is BUMFISH ,


B- Brakes ,


U- Undercart


M- Mixture


F- Fuel selector and quantity checked


I- Instruments




H- Harness and hatches .


Almost the same as Chris's .





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Fair comment but I think thecheck is desgined for safety rather legality.For example if unexpected headwinds have encroached onyour reserve and then other traffic enters the runway when you are on final. In this scenario would you land or go around ?





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G'day Guys,


I actually was taught BUMFISH aswell, seems very easy to remember.. I got taught it back in the GA background but still use it no matter what aircraft I am flying...



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I use the Bumfish one..however..

the Carby heat gets forgotten..


which is important..

- I didn't think Carby Heat was a downwind check but rather more often then not on base when you pull the revs back to slow down - if my memory serves me in my CT it was when the revs are dropped back to below 3,000 I always put carby heat on then
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Interesting that not of the GA-based checks include checking for other traffic or confirming wind direction.




Traffic checks, wind confirmation and selection of active runway are done well before this stage. If the strip is in a GAAP, then the tower would have advised.


Otherwise its checked by monitoring radio traffic, and going overhead prior to joining the circuit.


At Shepp, most Raa students go on and do their GA, so the school teaches the GA downwind checks.





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  • 4 weeks later...

I think the GA checks should be compulsory no matter which aircraft you fly, I find that I use all of my GA knowledge when flying Rec and I'd hate to think how I'd fly without my PPL knowledge...


You can never be too cautious when flying...



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My downwind, or entering pattern checks were,or should i say, still are...




Brakes - off


U/C - Down and locked.


Mixture - full rich


Fuel - pump on, tank selection/ quantity.


Instruments - airspeed, altitude, QNH set, align DG.


Switches - correct positions


Harness - secure, seats and hatches secure.


Engine - parameters all in the green, prop set.


Radios - Correct frequencies, navaids correct


I use this list in everything i fly, from Arrows to the Jabiru of course its abbreviated for Jabirus etc but the basics of each one remain...




U/C welded and bolted.


Mixture, choke in.. stuff like that...


i also find it interesting to note the variances between everyones checks.. trim, carby heat etc... trim will change with flap deployment, and carby heat has been the topic of many a heated debate!





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Downwind or Pre-landing Checks?


If we're going to keep to GA checks, particularly in faster 3-axis aircraft, then shouldn't we try to standardise on 'pre-landing' - because it's not always going to be an into wind landing?


If there's any slope, and the winds light - then I'm for the uphill landing direction. Anything over 3-4% and you cancel out 5-10 kts of headwind.


With the NAS 2c changes now adopted, using a mid-downwind join of the circuit doesn't leave you much time for the full 'pre-landing' checks before needing to turn base. I'm now more inclined to teach, and use, doing the pre-landings before making the turn onto the downwind leg.


You can always consciously omit the carby heat if still powered up, but apply it on the base leg, once you've reduced to 'approach/descent' power.


And, being of the 'old school' - I'm for the short memory checklist.


happy days,



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Guest Prometheus

Breaks - Off


Master - On


Mags- Both


Fuel - On and sufficient


Autopilot - Off


Temps and pressures - In the Green


Hatches and Harnesses - Secure


Parrallel to end of Runway Carb heat - On


Base call, throttle back to idle, turn base,trim for 60 kts, 15* Flap - trim for 55 kts, turn Final, 30* Flap - trim for 50kts, (maintain decent with power) Carb Heat Off, Flare, Touchdown.


My 2 cents worth



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  • 3 weeks later...
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Guest TOSGcentral

Hmmm! I note that in the above posts that flaps are mentioned but do not feature as a point to be checked on Downwind. That thinking may be a tad too simplified?



Gentlemen, many of you here seem to be very orientated to sophisticated aircraft where the maximum performance is being extracted from them. Flaps therefore should be a mandatory part of downwind checks – whether you have them or not – for two good reasons.



  • At the ‘flaps’ part of the check you should physically and visually check that flaps are ‘Out of Reflex’ and at least neutral – or you are going to get a nasty surprise! It does not matter so much in repeat circuit work where you know where everything is – it damn well does matter when you are rejoining after several hours and have now forgotten you are in reflex, decide to do a flapless landing, do not check, and the bloody thing falls out of your hands in the round-out!



  • Airmanship. Flaps, just by themselves can be a trigger to good airmanship practice – which is mainly correct decision making. Even if you do not have flaps then just covering the point will be a trigger to making a landing plan. Look at the windsock, assess for other traffic, what sort of approach am I planning, will I be flapless or some flap, how much?



Have a think about it!









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The comment about landing uphill even with a tailwind is good. Here at Rodds bay we have a steep uphill start to Rwy 13 which turns into a gentle upslope and I hate landing on Rwy31 because I come over the fence and the downhill grade matches my flight path resulting in a landing well down the runway and slowing down in the steep area. I use uphill here in up to about 15kts.


The problem is how do you know the slope unless you have prior information. It is very hard to see it unless you do a precautionary search first.


Ian borg



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G'day All,


I must say this is a good thread. My down wind checks as taught when I did my training in (should that be on!) a Drifter and which I still use now in a Gazelle are as follows...


Fuel on and sufficient


Engine temperatures in the green


Trim set


Circuit area is go for landing, wind direction.


Helmets, (Drifter remember) hatches and harness.


Obviously not comprehensive enough for GA aircraft but I only fly simple RAA registered craft.




Ian Jones



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  • 4 months later...
Guest wish2bflying



Harness locked and tight, check yours


Mixture full rich


Fuel sufficient and balanced


Boost pump low


Threshold speed .... knots


Abeam threshold, speed below 100, (flaps to half or reduce power to achieve 90 knots if flapless)


power .. trim .. lookout .. base turn .. power .. prop full increase .. trim .. base call .. roll out on final .. speed BLW 91, flaps full .. trim


Finals checks




Prop - Full Increase


Runway is clear


Clearance to LAND/T&GO



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