Teaching students the CGUMPS checklist. By Lou DiVentura CFI

          So there you are cruising through the wild blue skies minutes away from your planned destination airport, you glance over at your GPS and note that you have 12 miles to go. Your instructor has drummed it into your head that at 10 NM it would be advisable to get weather and aiport information prior to landing. You grab your checklist just to be sure you miss nothing and there it comes from the back of your head, you hear the words from your instructor......"C.G.U.M.P.S." its just like if they were sitting there in the right seat next to you......"Okay Carb Heat, Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture, Prop, and Switches", they muffle out from under their breath.


          So yes, it is with these memory aids learned that we can reduce the many risks associated with flying prior to landing or configuring the aircraft prior to maneuvers.



C - arburetor Heat

G - as

U - ndercarriage

M - ixture

P - rop

S - withches / Seat-belts


Carburetor Heat 


Some older airplanes are equipped with carburetor heat and those pilots must use carburetor heat when they suspect that ice has formed in the throat of the carburetor causing the engine's power out put to perform poorly. So what has happened is the ice build up is actually choking our engine of the much needed air & fuel supply it so desperately needs. Applying Carb Heat fully redirects the engine heat to the throat of the carburetor thus melting the ice build up and resurrecting the power lost in our engine. 




Most of today's general aviation aircraft engines are supplied with two fuel tanks, so upon arrival to your destination airport you just want to be sure that your engine is being supplied by both tanks......just in case. On most planes we have a valve that indicated "BOTH" "RIGHT" "LEFT"




Today's training aircraft have what we call a "Fixed Tricycle Landing Gear". This landing gear does not move so it remains down and welded. We instructors teach this to be sure that the pilot has verified that the wheels are down and locked. Most students and pilots will eventually upgrade to a Complex airplane so this memory aid will help, more on Complex Airplanes later. 




So in our cockpit we have a red control knob that can reduce or increase the amount of fuel that will be mixed with the outside ambient air to produce an efficient mixture of air/fuel for the engine to burn. In the case of takeoffs, landings or maneuvers we would most likely have the control all in for best performance. 




In our case with our Cessna Skyhawk 172, we have a FIXED PITCH PROP and not a CONSTANT SPEED PROP, with a fixed pitch prop we can not adjust the propellers pitch or the angle. So if it were the case and we were flying most likely a High Performance plane we would be able to adjust the pitch with a blue knob prior to takeoff, cruise, landing or maneuvers. Please check with your POH (Pilots Operating Handbook) for safe operation.


Switches / Seat-belts



Oh boy, does a plane have switches and the answer is yes ! But in this case we will be talking about the FLAPS switch prior to landing, we use flaps to configure the plane so we can get stabilized on our approach to landing. Just like the major airlines we general aviation pilots must adhere to the FAA CFR's relating to seatbelts, so yes please be sure your seat belts are secure.




This is your fuel selector valve, it should be placed on the "BOTH" position prior to TAKEOFF, LANDING and all maneuvers. Please refer to your aircraft's POH for proper use.

Most training aircraft have what we call a "Fixed Landing Gear", meaning that the tires and landing assembly is welded and locked in a down position. I still teach students to be sure gear is down and locked, aka " 3 Green Down" because most Private Pilots will transition to more complex and high performance airplanes that require the pilot in command to be sure that the landing gear is down and locked thus eliminating a belly up landing. 

The red arrow is pointing to your Mixture Control (Red Knob) which when fully pushed "IN" provides the most fuel flow to the engine cylinders during your critical stages of flight like TAKEOFFS and LANDINGS.


A Mixture Control (Red Knob) when pulled fully out will cut off the fuel flow to the engine thus shutting down the engine.

The red arrow is pointing to the Blue knob which is your pitch control for your propeller. During TAKEOFFS and LANDINGS you want to be sure that your propeller is giving you the best thrust performance and you control that by adjusting the Blue knob, full "IN" position for best climb on TAKEOFFS. Please refer to your aircraft's POH for proper use. 

The Green arrow is pointing to our FLAPS Switch. The FLAPS can be extended or retracted in 10 degree increments. Most training planes have an extended reach of 30 degrees.Please refer to your aircraft's POH for proper use of FLAPS.


The picture below depicts FLAPS in the most extended position of 30 degrees.

"S" for Switches, The FLAPS switch.


The red arrow is pointing to a control surface known as "FLAPS", this large surface when extended slows the aircraft down without increasing airspeed, flaps are usually extended during landing and maybe down slightly for a "SHORT FIELD"  or "SOFT FIELD" TAKEOFF and LANDING. Please refer to your aircraft's POH for proper use of flaps. 

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Domenic Monteleone (Monday, 08 February 2021 18:49)

    Great article from an even better instructor!