These are mechanical checklists found on Air Canada's Airbus fleet. They sit on the dash and consist of louvre doors that the first officer closes when an item is actioned. They're used for: the "before start", "after start" and "before take off" checklists. The other checklists are read from a plasticized sheet.
Question: I've read that, sometimes, experienced test pilots can sense that there is a problem with the plane - shortly after settling into the cockpit. Do airline pilots also develop this sixth sense? Perhaps confirmed while running through checklists?
Sometimes when we enter the flight deck, we notice a switch not in the correct position. Immediately we think maintenance has been in and we check for other irregularities. But this is rare. That's why we run through a series of checklists every time. That way nothing is missed. (Turns out the medical field is pursuing how pilots conduct business through CRM, checklists and standard operating procedures).
As far as senses I know for instance we pilots use more than sight during take off.
We are not only looking at the engine instruments, etc but we go by feel. Does the take off feel right? A blown tire comes to mind. We go by smell. Any irregular odours? We go by sound. Irregular sound gets our attention. It's like we become part of the airplane.
One thing I've noticed over the last few years, and having amassed thousands of take offs is, if I have a smooth take off (no weaving due to crosswinds, nice smooth rotation, with the flight directors nailed) then I will most likely have a good landing. We learn through initial training a "good approach makes for a good landing." I'd like to take that one step further by saying a "good take off makes for a good landing." But why? I think it's because we are on our game that day, maybe good flight deck 'karma' amongst the other pilot, maybe the aircraft rigging is right on (not all airplanes are created equal), or maybe the seat is adjusted just the way we like it. I like the electric seats on the 319 and 321. Unfortunately, things were skimped a little on the 320 seats (manual only).
This is just my observation. Not only does an inner smile come when we are taking off, but if the take off is a smoothie then my landing should be one as well. How's that for a 'sixth' sense?