"Checklists" are discouraged, "Worklists", "DoLists" and "Flow" are the new thing. They rely on some pilot memory and familiarization. How the pilot remembers is up to his own style, but usually a top to bottom, left to right "Flow" (explained later) is used.
The FAA realizes that counting on some pilot memory is safer that meticulous checklists. For example when US Airways Flight 1549 flown by Chesley Sullenberger ditched into the Hudson river, Jeffrey Skiles was unable to complete the checklist for sea ditching - it was too long.
There are a number of industry articles including one I wrote on the subject.
1) The Navion Flyer - Jan 2002 - What does it do? - Checklist
2) Sport Aviation - June 2011
3) Avweb (Thomas Turner) - "Checklists and Flows"
4) EAA Experimenter - 2013 - Do You Use Your Checklists?
The FAA now encourages a combination of memory and task reference. An explanation will follow.
Unless you fly a transport category airplane, or fly under an operating certificate such as FAR Part 135 charter rules, there is no FAA requirement to use a checklist, or what checklist to use.(2)
The FAA uses two primary FAR's to violate pilots that have had an accident and misused a checklist...
FAR 91.103, *“Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight,
become familiar with ALL available information concerning
FAR 91.13 that forbids, *“careless and reckless operation.”*
Checklist = is a meticulous list of items to check or set and provides a specific order in which the items on the list are to be accomplished.
Worklist or Flow = conveys concepts rather then specifics. It is a reference as the pilot accomplishes a task and is dependent on the pilots memory and familiarity with the aircraft systems.
A checklist is what’s called action orientated. That is saying that it tells us each action we must take. A work list is task orientated. That is to say, it is goal orientated and looks at the big picture, and does not get bogged down in superfluous detail.
One example I gave in my article was comparing the two with a B727 opp.
"The checklist not only incorporates the normal procedures but also has the emergencies. This one list does it all. The checklist took 9 items for one of several checklists on radio operations. The work list has only 4 items and
serves as several checklists rolled into one. That is a 60% savings in space even if we don’t consider that it eliminated other checklists."
"You might be asking yourself if a work list is really this good in the
real world? Well, Captain Kunz told me that before they adopted the
WorkList for the B727, he was wading through over 500 pages in
the checklist, and as was mentioned before, a normal takeoff covered up
to 300 items."
"After they adopted work lists to the B727 cockpit, the worse case scenario on the WorkList for a takeoff was about 60 items and the total number of pages for normal op’s was around 10 pages long. That’s about an 80% reduction in the takeoff list and a 97% decrease in the total size of all normal op’s. Needless to say, in an emergency the pilots were able to use the work list more times than a checklist and the work list is much easier to remember."
Think of a work Flow as working top to bottom or left to right. When we say "check instruments", without detailing each instrument it is understood the pilot will work left to right or whatever suits his style. The B727 Checklist had about 130 items on the "before landing" list. A quick look at YouTube shows the before landing "WorkList" of a modern jet is now about 5 items!
This reduction in workload is primarily due to reliance on warning systems and the pilots memory and familiarization of the aircraft systems.