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pre landing check ; practicing patterns

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stranger to the ground
Dec 3, 2001
hi cfi's
recently while flying with my instructor practicing traffic patterns me and my instructor had a little tiff he says i should do some C GUMPS check in the c152/150/172 types

but what i have learned and use is just a simple
gas on both
mixture rich
lights on
seat belts on

this is the checklist i follow and i intend to teach my future students instead of some c gumps ,yes the cgumps check is neccecery for the for the 172rg type airplanes

i want to use some thing that is pertaining to the aircraft i fly why should i make things more complicated than they need to be , i feel that in the pattern we should be looking outside most of the time instead of just following c-gumps just because it is easy to remember

what do you use and teach and why ?

thanks in advance
My instructor had me do GUMPS because he knew where I was headed and, for my own benefit, wanted me to be "in the groove" when I got there. If you are wanting to advance and fly RGs and MEs, go ahead and learn it. It ain't gonna hurt, and it will probably help.

When I started teaching, all of my students were private students with no desire to fly for a living. Therefore, I didn't see a need to pass along the GUMPS check to them. The training I gave them was aircraft-specific.

You have a good instructor and he/she is correct, my friend. The idea is to instill a habit pattern and thought process early on in your flying because you might fly retractables one day, perhaps for pay. It's called the law of primacy. Learn it right the first time, because the first impression is the lasting impression. Just check the NTSB accident reports for the number of unintentional gear-up landings each year.

We taught C-GUMPS at Mesa even for a pre-maneuver checklist and not just in the pattern. MAPD sends pilots to the line at 300 hours; some even going into jets immediately. They must be doing something right.

PS-I just wanted to add that GUMPS is an historical checklist and mnemonic. The Army Air Corps, predecessor to the AF, taught GUMPS to its T-6 pilots sixty years ago. I read a story where an Air Corps instructor was working with a foreign student. The student's English wasn't very good. Anyway, on approach the instructor noticed the student wasn't putting down the gear. He yells at the student, "GUMP! GUMP! GUMP!" The student understood GUMP, alright, and extended the gear.
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Keep it simple

Fulcrum, I would have to agree with your abbreviated checklist that pertains more to the aircraft you're flying. I have previously flown with students who used an acronym of "BCGUMPS" which is booster pumps, cowl flaps, gas, undercarriage, mixture, props, seatbelts. Now, in a 152, you'll only use maybe 2-3 items from all that. In a Piper Arrow or in a twin, you might use it all. I say, keep it simple. Once you are working on your commercial, or are flying a complex airplane, then use the long acronym or whatever works for you.

Just my opinion and my $2 worth. The previous posts make good points as well.

While simplification has it's merits, if you intend to ever fly anything with retractable landing gear and a controllable propeller, now is the time to ingrain the habit to verify the gear. There are thousands of red faced and occasionally dead pilots who thought they'd save the litany only for the times when they were in a retractable gear airplane.

I can't get around the pattern, even in a fixed gear airplane, without checking the gear half a dozen times, and several more prior to touchdown. If it's fixed gear, then I'll visually look at it, and confirm that it's down and bolted.

While it may seem a minor point, I recall a friend who lost a wheel after takeoff. If he'd just looked outside at his gear, he'd have known, but he didn't. He could have altered his landing technique and done less damage, but he didn't. It won't hurt you a bit to include the gear and do the gumps check. You'll be rewarded by developing good habits early.

Why fight with your instructor? Either try what he has to offer, or find a different instructor. It's too expensive, and life's too short.

I'll sign off with a brief note about a man who had more experience than many of us here put together. He'd been flying large complex airplanes since getting into the army air force underage, completing B-24 school, getting removed, coming back, and then going to war in B-17's. He was older when I knew him, and he was running a spray outfit. I went to work for him. Most of what he had forgotten, I willl never hope to know. He was knowledgable, sharp, and willing to share.

He put two new engines and props on a twin commanche that served as his personal airplane. He flew it to Scott City, KS, right after the work was done, and landed gear up; destroyed both engines and props. After many years of saying and doing, doing and saying, he finally said, and didn't.

It doesn't matter how much experience you have, you can still experience it. He flew mostly fixed gear ag airplanes when I knew him, and he was out of the loop of checking gear. We all were; I confess that I didn't do it after a while, either. It cost him a lot of money, and it could have been his life.

The most pertinent life lesson I recall from him was watching him land in the commanche one day. He had come from a cross country trip visiting his antique lady-love, and flew over the office to let me know he was back. I jumped in my jeep and went to the airstrip. He was on a 200' downwind, which was typical for our ag patterns, and our normal method of flying. He turned a downwind-to final, and in a tight-in turn, at the 90 deg point to the runway, both props stopped cold, and suddenly...feathered, in fact.

It was our proceedure during regular ops, which ran hot and heavy, to approach the airport low and fast, and use the prop to slow us as we pulled the power back for a very short final and landing. Standard practice. No wasted time, or motion. This is what he did. After many years of manipulating fists full of throttles in some demanding airplanes, he pulled the throttles to idle, only to discover that he'd pulled the props into feather, instead.

He hit the end of the runway, just barely, and I followed him onto the grass in my jeep. I parked behind him and shut off my engine. It was very quiet until I got out, and there was a lot of profanity and yelling. He was alone in the airplane, giving himself one of the worst tongue lashings I believe I've ever heard uttered by man or beast.

The moral here, is that not only must you repeat the language, but you must touch the controls. Talk the talk, walk the walk, and for the love of pete, look at what you're touching, and saying. It won't hurt to do it in the 152; it might one day save your life. That may be hard to appreciate at 350 hours total time, but trust me on that. Verify everything. You needn't live by GUMPS, but it's worked for a very long time for a lot of people, and I still dribble it off in a cub, in a jet, in just about anything, out of habit. Consistency isn't a bad thing. If simplicity is the name of the game, then consistency is the hallmark of simplicity and the road to the gate. Do it the same every time, and you stand a better chance of not cracking up.
A good instructor treats his students as individuals. With students who were planning on advancing through their certs and ratings quickly, I made them go through the BCGUMPSS check that AZaviator mentioned, mine is Boost Pump, Cowl Flaps, Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture, Props, Seatbelts and switches. This has worked in just about any plane I've ever flown. With students that never planned on moving beyond the private, I would give them an abbreviated checklist "GUMSS," The point being that they should use the checklist, and then make a quick mental check on the Base leg. I would say your instructor is right on in making you use this check, especially if you are going to move on to your commercial, multi, cfi.
As you can see, we've all been there. Take heart.

I used to wonder why I had to go through all that GUMP stuff in a Cherokee 140, and I'd playfully say "down and welded" for the gear, and "Prop...fixed." Here's the idea: if you do it in EVERY airplane, you'll remember to do it in ANY airplane.

Cowl flaps were set prior to descent, per checklist.

On the downwind, I'll say (until the student can do it from memory)
Gas (selector, pumps as necessary..)
Undercarriage (gear down, three green, one in the window/mirror,etc)
Mixture (rich)
Prop (to go)

On base, I run the check again, adding prop up full when I have the power back far enough to have no change in sound as I bring up the prop control. (on planes which need additional help in slowing as you approach the airport, you can sneak the RPM up VERY gently, and incrementaly to provide more drag...)

For valuable repetition, we run the check again once established on final, and at about 100 ft AGL we do an UP check (undercarriage, prop).

The checklist is used and/or reviewed prior to entering the pattern, since I want the student to be looking for traffic and referencing the runway as much as possible, not fumbling/reading/searching.

I think we've all given you alot to think about. Remember the Nike catchphrase...

......just do it
I was always taught not to memorize check lists.

One certainly doesn't memorize everything, but we all use some type of flow. It is impractical to refer item by item, line by line, every time something needs doing in the cockpit. We all use checklists, or should. However, some proceedures MUST be executed by memory. Memory items are backed up by printed checklists. This is basic.

Emergency proceedures must be memorized. When the clean up items are hit, after the emergency has been handled, the checklist reviews everything, including the memory (or "immediate action" ) items.

In actual practice, most pilots have basic items they remember. Most checklists include a descent, approach, before landing, and landing check. However, very few pilots will reach the threshold without calling once or twice more for a gear check. I do; usually at least twice. On short final, I recite the killer items; it's not a checklist, but a review of items that could hurt or kill me. Gear, flaps, spoilers, etc, and cleared to land.

One should have a good idea of the flow, and always back it up with a printed checklist. While it may not seem particularly important in a light airplane with three or four items per check, it becomes increasingly critical with larger and more complex aircraft. Each pilot must be able to operate in a happy medium between strict line-by-line useage of the checklist for every single thing, and being able to execute a flow and follow it up with the printed list. It varies with each phase of flight, the type of operation, the urgency, and the airplane itself, not to mention the individual.

One needn't use pneumonics, but some have stood the test of time. A million and one pilots can be wrong, but probably aren't.

I agree with most of these posts that learning the "GUMPS" check is a very good idea, for the main reason that on the day that you are flying the RG it would be great to have the gear down for landing.
Most of my students don't have goals to go on to BIGGER aircraft, but I still teach them GUMPS. I teach them Undercarriage = check the haddle if there is one/ position lights, look outside if you can see the gear (152 maingear, Sennica "one in the mirror") and depress the brakes. Now that sounds like a lot, but in a 152 all it is looking at the mains and brake check. Why the brake check? I teach at what some call a "short" strip, it really isn't short if you do things right. It is short enough that it is nice to know if there is pressure in the brake lines before landing. I have had Pipers loose brake pressure and a 172 have a broken bolt on the brake pad.
Enjoy instructing as much as you can, you will learn more from your students than any instructor can teach you
P.S. bobbysamd : that bit about the army flight program was cool

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