How Do You Use Same Memory Palace w/ Sequences Sharing Similar Components? (Aircraft Checklist)

I have a lot of emergency procedures to memorize in an aircraft that I will be flying soon. They are in a specific sequence, but often share similar components in each sequence.

See below in the list of sequences that “PCL” (I picture it as a pickle to help weave a story) is referred to multiple times in different sequences.

Because there is already a physical location in the cockpit for each item in the sequence, I want to use the cockpit itself for my memory palace; it is the actual physical location of each memory item. How can I keep using the same memory palace and same items in the cockpit for different sequences without confusing them.

Are there pre-existing thoughts on how to do this? Should I just try telling a different story for each sequence with different peg items linked in the sequence?

Would love any advice or references.

Also, here is a rough sketch I’d use as my memory palace for the cockpit.

You’ve got a nice challenge here :slight_smile:

It’s not recommended to have different subjects on a memory palace you have already used. You can use the same palace if the subject is related to the one you have memorised. Else it would probably create confusion.

The best idea would be to have a palace, and rooms for each section, and place the images in the rooms, so you can visit it mentally and see each image.

If you insist on using your current palace, you may then think of creating a mental grid above each location, and use those as sections.

You can use a complex image on a single location-grid-section for each of your procedures which maybe a little more difficult if you are new to memorising.

Let me give you a quick idea on your first section with a complex image.
You’d have to mentally imagine this on your location grid.

Title: Abort Start Procedure
Keywords: PCL | OFF | STARTER Switch - AUTO/RESET

Abort Start Procedure Location: Your section slot
PCL: Cucumber Pickle
OFF: Light Bulb Not Lit, with a switch to Off.
STARTER: Switch to ON.
Auto-Reset: A Countdown-Timer

You’d need to imagine and visualize a complex image of the example below.

  • On your Location spot
  • Your Cucumber Pickle is like human with hands and feet. (PCL)
  • He has his arms wide open on both sides.
  • On his left hand is an OFF Switch with a Light Bulb Turned OFF.
  • On his right hand is and ON Switch.
  • His foot is kicking the countdown gadget, Resetting it to 00.
  • The Bun in his mouth represent the digit 1 from number-rhymes (One-Bun)
  • X = Abort
  • Traffic Lights is Red, reminds you of danger.

I’ve done a quick visual of what I would mentally see on the first grid of first section

If you struggle; You can always create a Mind-Map of the sections, and practice it on the mind-map, also practice with Action-Recall. That should also work if you did it a few times, and you should be able to memorise and retain it.

Have you tried doing that?
You can try Chain-Linking new items to the ones you already have. I’m not sure if this would work well, but since you know your subject well it may work for you. The only issue with chain-linking is if you forgot one of the links, then you would cause some issues for yourself. So I would recommend you to create a palace for it, or a mental grid above your current spots.

Welcome to the forum!


Thanks! Above and beyond response!

I will definitely try to use the memory grid. I’d really like to keep the palace inside the cockpit if I can that way there is yet another physical connection to the memory items, but I will experiment!

I have not yet tried just telling a different story for each item, but I think you’re right about the linking issue. I’ve had that issue trying to memorize other sequences. I’ve dabbled with a couple of ideas, but I didn’t really know much about memory development. I spent this entire week researching memory retention and study tactics. I’ve learned a ton. I’ve got a little bit of time before I need anything memorized, so I figured I’d learn the right way of doing it.

I will have to do some research on action recall.

All of this is experimenting for me. I can probably memorize these items fairly quickly with bad rote techniques (there isn’t that much), but as my career progresses these sequences are going to get longer and more complex. There will be more to memorize, less time to do so, and a lot more stress.

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Also, what software did you use to make that image?

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Thank you.

Here is a quick visual of a Grid.

  • Once you have created your images inside the grid,
  • you’d have to practice memorising it until it becomes a second nature to you. So if I asked you about engine failure before take off, you should be able to see the images or the mini story mentally immediately.
  • and practice mentally to see it above your usual loci inside the cockpit.
  • Perhaps imagine a chain between your current locus and the grid above it to connect them together.

Notice also I have typed in the available methods you can use inside each grid.

  • You can simply put images next to each other
  • and use the Chain-Linking story method for each grid.
  • or use pegs to link each image one after another,
  • or as I did it, create a single complex image if you can.

This method alone can help you memorise it all, however, I’d still use mnemonics to help trigger each subject. It’s a very effective method!

  • Action Recall is where you First spend some time learn each subject well.
  • Imagine and visualise as if it’s really happening while you are learning.
  • And then in your own words summarize it as if you are giving a lecture, or teaching it to another person.
  • If it’s a real person then it’s even better because you’d get asked these questions; Why do you have to do this? What do you have to do exactly? When do you have to do it? Give examples for each scenario.

Learn | Summarize | Teach | Give Examples | Ask & Answer Questions.

I used Photoshop.
It’s part of my daily job to be creative, so I’m used to using a few different softwares. But you can use some Online Design softwares to be able to create something similar to what I did. Some are free, some are not. I’d go for the free ones since it’s personal use.

Here are the parts for PCL cucumber person you can download, cut each one out, and use it on your designs if you wanted to.
It is better to just mentally imagine the scene rather than designing it. But if you have all the time in the world to do it, then you can use this and an online design platform.

This forum will be your best friend to learn more methods :slight_smile:


Thank you for these responses. I’ve been plodding along nearly memorising my lines but lack discipline. All these tips have been very helpful. As it’s word for word I’m planning to build a bank of high frequency words or terms. I was thinking of the major system but am open to suggestions. I have memory palaces but was somewhat disturbed to realise how few houses/ rooms I can actually remember. Im familiar with mind maps as I teach them to my students and I tend to link words together already as there is a huge amount of text. For example, ‘heretofore now or in the future communicate unless’ I have a 2 and 4 calling me over with a cow sitting on it, doing a cha cha, with an undressing red guard! Etc. It’s slow work but I envisage it getting faster.

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Awesome! Thanks so much.

I’ve been talking to some pilot friends who’ve memorized these before and they mentioned that understanding WHY you have to do these procedures and understanding the components to each procedure is huge.

i.e. for emergency engine shutdown on the ground I turn the PCL off (it’s like the throttle) to shutoff the engine, the firewall shutoff handle cuts all flow of gas and other flammables to the engine so it doesn’t explode, and then emergency ground egress just means getting out of the plane quickly (probably before bad things happen).

I think understanding all of the reasons why will help me paint a better visual story in my mind that I can organize in a grid system or palace. I think I may memorize the names of the procedures themselves and store those in a separate memory palace (maybe my bedroom dresser). When I open my drawer and see “Abort” I can tell the abort procedure story from my point of view from the cockpit.

Below would be the framework. Main bullet points would be stored in different locations of my bedroom dresser and then sub-points would be what the goal of the procedure is, how to do it, and the story to tie it all together.

1. Abort Start Procedure (top left drawer)

  • Why: shutdown engine before engine is damaged

  • How: Turn the PCL off or the starter switch back to auto reset

  • Story: The engine was going to explode violently, so I grabbed the pickle and threw it off before the explosion happened. I knew if that didn’t work I could flip the switch to stop it from blowing up. (exaggerated on purpose obviously.

  1. Emergency Engine Shutdown on the Ground (Inside my top left drawer underneath my clothes)
  • Why: To shut the engine down quickly in case of a fire, malfunction, or other emergency.
  • How: PCL- off, FWSH- pull, emerg. ground. egress - AR
  • Story: When the fire started, I threw my pickle friend off of the plane, pulled the Fire Handle (on fire to represent stopping more fire), and then I could decide whether to follow my pickle friend out of the plane.

As I’m writing this it is already getting pretty solid in my head! Thanks for walking me through this.

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Update on sequences:

I memorized all of the actual procedure names (no checklist items included) by attaching post-it notes of each one on my dresser. This helped me understand and separate each checklist item later.

I have all of the checklist items memorized almost verbatim. When I write them completely out from memory, I am messing up a couple small punctuation items, which I’m fixing with some strategies below:

I ended up not using the grid system or the cockpit as loci for each memory item, BECAUSE it was so easy to keep mixing up certain procedures because of common or similar components.

What helped the most were the following strategies:

  1. A simple understanding of what procedure was accomplishing and how each component helped with that. I could tell a story in my head about what the desired end state was and how to accomplish it with the different components of the checklist.

  2. A silly picture-based story to memorize longer procedure items with weird grammar, numbers, and keywords.

To help memorize the component for “IF AIRSTART IS SUCCESSFUL,” I drew out a story to imagine what I needed to memorize in step number 8.

It is a pickle (PCL) that is carrying an AR-15 (Abbreviation for “as required”) that is flying through the air with a jet afterburner (so I remember to use the word “after”) screaming “Another One” (N1) like DJ Khaled, while reaching up to pull a throttle to idle and watching a tachometer (RPM). To memorize the “67%” I used Kevin Horsely’s number translation method (6=sh, vowels don’t count, and 7=k) to get a “shake” that is also screaming “another one” in DJ Khaled’s voice.

  1. I also used acronyms for some of the procedures to create a quick-reference framework to make sure I was on the right track. For example, I came up with the acronym “APEF” [with an extremely vulgar phrase to go with it (that I won’t mention here)] to memorize the frame work for a procedure.


  1. I have the items loaded up into Anki to study further and retain them.

  2. I plan on teaching these to some of my friends to help retain them even further in my head and hopefully help them remember them also.

I hope that this is helpful for someone else who is trying to learn either checklist items or sequenced items.

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Good to hear you have memorised them all. Also good to hear you worked out what worked well for you. It sounds like you’ve used the chain-link story method as well as acronyms. Anki is a great idea for long term memory.

It’s a very handy system to memorise any info involving numbers.

This is a well known system as “The major System”.

I also have his book, and he does teach the major system.

However, he does Not mention anywhere in his book, or on the chapter “Remembering Numbers” that it is in fact The major System.
He calls it “The New Method”. He did not claim it to be his system in the book, but he makes it sound like it is with the way he describes it.

No disrespect to Kevin, his book is still a good one to learn from, but I’d have liked it if he did mention it was the major system he was teaching rather then calling it a new method.

Thank you for the update and good luck!

That’s probably where my confusion lies in the naming of it! I have seen it other places. He recommends a different letter system for the numbers than some others do if I recall correctly, but same concept.

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Actually, he does teach the unedited version of the major system. Some other people have changed it to their own, but Kevin uses the original major letters to numbers.

But makes no difference really, yes it is the same concept.
When I read his book a while ago, I was surprised that he never mentioned it was the major system. But he does mention the number Rhyme, and the number Shape system, and calls the major as the new method :slight_smile:

His book is still good tho, it’s very similar to Tony Buzan’s book as its more or less the same content. I do like his Car palace method which gave me a few ideas of my own, and I created a few similar palaces using the same method.

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