What is QRH in Aviation? (Quick Reference Handbook)

A Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) is an essential document in aviation that provides pilots with quick access to critical information and procedures. It is a condensed manual that contains emergency procedures, checklists, and other relevant information used during abnormal or emergency situations in flight. The QRH is typically carried on board an aircraft and serves as a readily available resource to assist pilots in making quick and informed decisions when facing unexpected events.

With its concise format and user-friendly layout, the QRH enables pilots to find the necessary information promptly without extensive searching or reading through lengthy manuals. It contains only the most crucial procedures and checklists that need to be followed in emergency situations, helping to minimize response times and enhance flight safety.

What Does a Quick Reference Handbook Contain?

The content of a Quick Reference Handbook may vary slightly between different aircraft models or operators, but it generally includes the following sections:

1. Emergency Procedures

The Emergency Procedures section of a QRH lists step-by-step instructions for pilots to follow in critical situations. This includes procedures for handling engine failures, fires, electrical system malfunctions, loss of control, and other emergencies that may occur during flight. The procedures are typically presented in a checklist format, with each step clearly outlined to guide pilots through the necessary actions. The checklist format helps pilots maintain proper sequencing and ensure that critical steps are not missed, especially in high-stress situations.

For example, in the case of an engine failure, the QRH will provide pilots with instructions such as verifying engine failure, executing the appropriate engine restart procedure, or initiating a forced landing if necessary. These emergency procedures are designed to mitigate risks and help pilots respond effectively to critical situations.

2. Abbreviated Checklists

Abbreviated checklists are another vital component of a Quick Reference Handbook. These checklists provide pilots with concise reminders of the essential steps required for routine operations and normal, non-emergency procedures. While these checklists are less detailed than those found in comprehensive aircraft manuals, they provide a quick reference for pilots to ensure that all critical tasks are completed correctly.

For example, an abbreviated checklist may include reminders for pre-flight checks, takeoff procedures, climb procedures, descent procedures, approach and landing procedures, and shutdown procedures. The QRH ensures that pilots have immediate access to these critical checklists, reducing the chance of overlooking important steps and promoting thoroughness during all phases of flight.

3. Performance Calculations

Many Quick Reference Handbooks also include performance calculation charts and tables. These calculations are particularly important during abnormal or emergency situations where pilots may need to quickly assess the aircraft’s performance in various scenarios.

For instance, the QRH may include charts and tables for calculating the aircraft’s maximum takeoff weight, landing distance, climb rates, and fuel requirements. These performance calculations allow pilots to make informed decisions during critical moments, such as when determining whether the aircraft can safely continue a flight or if it needs to divert to an alternate airport.

Having this performance information readily available in the QRH ensures that pilots can make accurate assessments and take appropriate actions in a timely manner, ultimately contributing to the safe operation of the aircraft.


A Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) is an indispensable tool in aviation that provides pilots with instant access to critical information and procedures during abnormal or emergency situations. With its condensed format, the QRH enables pilots to quickly locate essential information and follow emergency procedures, thereby enhancing flight safety and reducing response times.

The QRH includes sections such as emergency procedures, abbreviated checklists, and performance calculations to assist pilots in making informed decisions and taking appropriate actions swiftly. By having the QRH readily available, pilots can effectively manage unexpected events, mitigate risks, and ensure the safe operation of the aircraft.

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