Reprint of Official A.A.F. Pilot’s Check List, dated 1 October 1944. Obsolete. Two-sided. Printed in the USA.
In 1935, Boeing nearly went bankrupt after its Model 299 long-range bomber prototype crashed and burned during a U.S. Army flight competition. Major Ployer P. Hill, the pilot, and another crew member died in the crash. An investigation found that the Captain had left the elevator lock on, and the aircraft was unresponsive to pitch control. As a result of the crash, the Army contract went to a competing company, causing major financial difficulties for Boeing.
However, as a consolation, the Army ordered a few Model 299s for further testing. The question was how to fly them safely. During a major think-tank session, it was determined that the pilots needed a checklist. It wasn’t a knock to the pilots, or that the aircraft was hard to fly, rather the aircraft was just too complex for a pilot’s memory. The solution was an ingeniously simple approach. With the checklist in hand, the pilots went on to fly the Model 299 a total of 1.8 million miles without an accident. The Army eventually ordered thousands of the aircraft, which became known as the B-17.
The pilot’s checklist, with step-by-step checks for takeoff, flight, landing, and taxiing, is now commonplace in the cockpit of virtually every aircraft.