We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Manuals are the only way to cover a myriad of problems that can occur. Experience and memory are helpful but alone they allow to many things to be overlooked. Its the same idea when doing maintenance on aircraft...go to the appropriate manual. And it's the law.
When I was in the Airforce I had a friend who was the flight engineer on a C-130. The pilots and crew were well trained and the aircraft well maintained. He told me that on a long flight (in excess of 6 hours) it was not unusual for at least one engine to give them problems and they would shut it down. And not very unusual for two engines to have to be shut down. Part of the problem was age/hours of the planes and part because it was old technology and more prone to problems.
I cannot help but think that if modern aircraft had more problems that pilots would be better prepared to deal with the problems when they happened. Of course that is what training and flight simulators are for.
Speaking of flight simulators I heard am American pilot/aviation expert on FOX yesterday say that the reason the two 737's crashed is that these particular countries don't train their pilots well and do not even have or use flight simulators. Not a surprise. What surprised me is that the FOX news person tried to blame that on Boeing AND acted as though it was the U.S.'s fault because we do have flight simulators while the poorer countries do not.
Reminds me of another true story; In Africa the smaller flights are on 6-16 passenger planes. In is common for the passengers to look into the cockpit to see if the pilot is white or black. If the pilot is black they get off and take another flight. This is true even though almost all of those passengers are also black. There reason for this is simple. The black pilots have less training, less experience and a much higher accident rate than white pilots do.
It s Standard Operating Procedure on all large aircraft, military and commercial, to consult and read through the checklists in the Flight Operations Manual (NOT the 'owners manual') in the event of a malfunction or emergency. The pilot and FO (and other crew as needed) go through the checklist query-and-response. For almost ninety years now, that has been established as the best way to ensure that no items are skipped over or omitted.