header image icon - clouds

Checklist born – B-17 Bomber pre-flight checklist

Checklist born - B-17 Bomber pre-flight checklist 8

Louise here… I love history and seeing an article about the checklist being born sparked my interests.

The checklist is one used during WWII for the B-17 “Flying Fortress” Bomber.

Boeing produced the plane in 1930s after a competition was set by the US Army to produce the military’s next long-range bomber to help in the war. This contract would be to build 200 bombers and the B-17 outperformed both competitors but the prototype crashed but they still decided to place a small order to further evaluate the plane.

Pre-Flight Checklist - Safety Improved

It was determined that the plane was rather complex to fly and one suggestion was the use of a pre-flight checklist to make sure flight standard operating procedures were followed to improve safety and avoid accidents caused by pilot error.

The tragic thing is it’s often the “stupid” simple stuff that gets people killed but by implementing the checklists ensuring all the basic tasks were identified to fly the plane successfully. They flew many hours without incident proving they were safe, and eventually, nearly 13,000 were built.


Thanks to a “very” simple checklist wartime history was made…

This successful example has then been used by NASA to help launch rockets and walk on the moon. 

What the B17 taught about checklists

Related Checklists