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Build your own checklistBuild your own checklist

Could MiraCheck CoPilot become your new best friend?Could MiraCheck CoPilot become your new best friend?

Do you customize everything for your airplane? Then you might want to make the acquaintance of MiraCheck CoPilot.

Created by pilot Jeff Bonasso, MiraCheck CoPilot lets you build a custom checklist for every phase of flight that you can store on an Apple or Google mobile device.

You can start from scratch and build the checklist of your dreams—the one that includes all the little notes, tidbits, and insights that you develop as you become familiar with an airplane. Or, you can borrow a template from one of several provided in the app, and then make that checklist your own.

Finally, you can download (for an additional fee) a CheckMate checklist into the app and tweak away.

If your device runs on iOS, you can have MiraCheck read off each task to you, just as an actual co-pilot would. The pleasantly modulated computer voice won’t progress until you’ve checked off each item. As you move through tasks, each section’s color-coded progress changes: Red is not begun; yellow is begun but not completed; green is completed.

Voice prompts can take you to an emergency checklist, open and close notes and comments, open and close a logbook feature, and reset a section or the entire checklist if you desire.

You can also create a formal checklist that can take the place of a flight planner sheet—use it to gather weather information, runway details, radio frequencies, and the like. MiraCheck CoPilot lets you overlay a checklist on a flight planning app, so you can reference your checklist while checking an airport diagram, for example.  

Once you have created a checklist, it lives in the cloud and is synchronized to your device. You can create all kinds of checklists; the template includes a sample shopping list and some other ideas.

In setting up a checklist for my Piper Cherokee 140, I found it easier to create one on a computer rather than to fumble around on my iPad Mini. It took about an hour to build a preflight/startup checklist.

Most of the more popular flight planning apps include a checklist function, so if you’re using ForeFlight or Garmin Pilot you may not be tempted to stray. MiraCheck CoPilot does offer functionality beyond those programs, such as the ability to overlap the checklist on top of any app, control the checklist with your voice, and control the checklist with an Apple watch, among many others.

What’s wrong with a good old paper checklist? Absolutely nothing. A paper checklist won’t lose a battery charge or get overheated in the cockpit. I’ll keep my laminated checklist in the left-side pocket, and that’s the one I’ll reference in an emergency.

Here's what I liked about the app: The ability to create a checklist in a clean, easy-to-read format that incorporated extra reminders (“Did you replace your fuel cap?” “Where is the tow bar?”).

Things I didn’t like so much: The user’s guide is basically a list of definitions. Creating a checklist isn’t difficult, but there needs to be a little more guidance. For example, there’s a handy logbook/flight timer that you can overlay on your checklist, but I could not figure out how to get the timer to start and stop. The developer has created a series of videos that are online, but the sound quality in these varies.

The basic app is free, and it allows you to manage up to five checklists synced to one device.

MiraCheck CoPilot offers several price points that include extra features. The Standard plan ($29.99 one-time fee) lets you manage unlimited checklists and sync them across three devices, and it includes advanced layouts, night mode, and a check/skip/locate/emergency checkbar. The Pro plan, at $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year, lets you manage unlimited checklists synced across five devices, and it includes the voice-activated co-pilot and a history of all checklist sessions. The Pro Unlimited ($129.99 one-time fee) is basically the Pro plan.

Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
Topics: Gear, Apps

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