Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quick Reference Handbooks

Most aircraft/companies have quick reference handbooks, QRH for short. They are pretty much some form of checklist or troubleshooting manual in times of abnormalities. Pilots still need to memorize drill items that require immediate and reactive action but minor irregularities in any portion of flight can require a pilot to call out the QRH.

The QRH has index or table of contents on where to find different abnormalities. They are usually divided into seriousness of of the situation either emergencies, abnormalities, advisories or status messages on the EICAS (engine indicating and crew alerting system) which would have different colour codings as well. Then they are indexed depending on the system that is in question for example power plant for engine problems, electrical, fire protection and so on. Sometimes different scenarios require the flight crew to refer to other pages in the QRH and all this while trying to fly the airplane and maintain situational awareness. This is primarily the one important reason why pilots can never be replaced by computer alone and why we still need at least two pilots for (most) commercial operations. QRHs can range from a few pages to a few hundred pages depending on the simplicity or complexity of an aircraft.

It makes the pilots life and workload that much easier because there is simply no way any pilot can memorize every possible scenario that can arise from a flight. The QRH tries to put all that into one little package...even then the randomness of situations still occur and pilots eventually will have to use their judgment if the QRH doesn't outline the problem.

I was kind of wondering what it would be like if the most common generic problems any human being faces throughout the years of life on earth are put into some sort of QRH. I think that would make everyone's life so much easier to troubleshoot. Imagine if you are facing difficulties in a relationship, all you need to do is pull out the QRH and go from there. Complexities of unique individuals would differ and we would probably need 6+ billion QRHs but there is one QRH we can go to...the Bible (or the equivalent of other religions...i think they're all pretty much similar to each other).

A friend of mine actually sent me this index to the bible as a QRH a while ago.

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