Instrument rated pilots are all too familiar with fixation: the tendency to stare at a single instrument instead of maintaining a good scan. But flight instruments aren’t the only thing us pilots get distracted by, sometimes checklist usage gets in the way of flying the airplane.
Pilots, and especially student pilots, tend to drift off course and altitude when they run a most pilots read their checklists the heads down waychecklist. This is a typical error because pilots are forced to split their attention between flying the airplane and reading the checklist.
This is because most pilots read their checklists the heads down way. They hold the checklist a bit like a book – down by their lap. They lose sight of what’s going on outside the window and waver from their desired flight path.
You can limit this distraction by holding the checklist the heads up way. Hold the checklist up in front of you – like a newspaper. This will keep aircraft attitude in your peripheral vision. Visual cues from the window or attitude indicator in instrument flight conditions provide an immediate indication that aircraft control is amiss.