"What is the proper way to use a checklist in the cockpit?"—Roy A.
“Because of the varying levels of experience, adherence to strict item-by-item protocol may take different forms.
Early in your career, it makes perfect sense to go through your checklist item-by-item to ensure that nothing is missed. As experience grows, some operations can be conducted by memory and by using flows for different systems, but in all cases, the checklist must be reviewed to ensure full compliance prior to moving to the next phase of the operation.
This is why it is referred to as a checklist rather than a dolist.
I occasionally hear pilots indicate they are reluctant to use checklists when flying with friends lest they appear unable to do it on their own. Remember, everything that is accomplished on a commercial airliner or military aircraft is done using a checklist. It is a proven aid to help us accomplish a multitude of tasks in a busy environment loaded with distractions.
If you are flying with another pilot who you know and trust, I like the challenge and response method. The non-flying pilot will challenge the pilot with the checklist item and not move to the next item until the pilot completes the item and gives the appropriate response. It is very efficient and directly involves the other pilot in the Cockpit Resource Management (CRM) process.
As with everything in flying, practice makes perfect. Use your checklist religiously to give you a high degree of comfort in ensuring that everything is done in a timely manner.”
How do you use a checklist in the cockpit?