Memorizing long lists is one of the challenges that face anyone trying to enter the aviation profession. It’s a field that demands precision and requires strict adherence to published regulations and established operating procedures. Since few people have a photographic memory, it often comes down to pure effort and determination to learn and remember these. One of the ways that memorization can be made easier is by using memory aids and “catchy” lists or acronyms.
These memory devices are based on the principle of association. Most people are great at recalling “ideas” or broader feelings that they associate with previous events; they are not good at reciting an entire paragraph or page of text in the same exact wording. An acronym is just a single word that you have to remember, and then each letter is a hint or clue that stands for a broader topic. A few of the most common ones are frequently used by students to pass the oral section of a check ride.
A good example of a basic one is AVIATES. It lists the required inspections for an aircraft to be considered airworthy. I’ve copied this list from MzeroA.com.
A – Airworthiness Directives (AD’s)
V – VOR Check (every 30 days) (IFR Only)
I – Inspections 100 hour (For Hire Only) and Annual (Required of all Aircraft)
A – Altimeter (Every 24 Calendar Months) (IFR Only)
T – Transponder (Every 24 Calendar Months)
E – ELT (Every 12 Calendar Months)
S – Static System (Every 24 Calendar Months) (IFR Only)
Just remembering the required times for each inspection on their own is incredibly hard. As soon as you write out the acronym, however, it becomes quite easy to associate each letter with the specific system. Using these common aviation acronyms is a great way to prepare for a check ride.
More helpful acronyms to study: TOMATO-A-FLAMES-FLAPS, SPARROW, GRABCARDD, HAM-SNACK-AT-THE-CAFÉ, 6 T’s, GUMPS, IMSAFE.