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Takeoff & Climb

Introduction:

  • Takeoff is the first critical phase of flight pilots encounter, requiring a pre-takeoff briefing
  • With a briefing complete, the appropriate type of takeoff procedure will be performed
  • The most basic type of takeoff is simply the normal takeoff and climb procedure
  • While it is preferable to takeoff directly into the wind, most situations will not be a pure headwind which calls for a crosswind takeoff and climb procedure
  • Under most conditions, ever takeoff and climb will have some sort of a crosswind however, when departing an airfield other than a paved surface, you may need to execute a soft field takeoff and climb
  • Depending on the runway or the conditions, a pilot may need to execute a short field takeoff and climb procedure in order get safely airborne out of constrained airfields

WARNING:
All procedures here are GENERALIZED for learning.
Always fly in accordance with Pilot Operating Handbooks (POHs)
and/or current Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Pre-Takeoff Briefing:

  • An often overlooked procedure on the ground is the pre-takeoff briefing
  • Given the terminal phase of flight is one of the most dangerous, it stands to reason that pre-takeoff briefs should never be ignored, and always conducted thoroughly
  • Takeoff Briefing Considerations:

    • Who will perform the takeoff?
    • Takeoff runway
    • type of takeoff to be performed
    • Expected performance and appropriate V speeds
    • Obstacles on departure
    • Departure instructions expected
    • Contingencies, such as engine failure
  • Additional considerations for nonpilot passengers, can be found in the AOPA's Pinch Hitter™ brochure

Normal Takeoff and Climb:

  • Normal Takeoff
    Airplane Flying Handbook, Normal takeoff
  • Normal takeoffs are the most basic of all takeoff maneuvers [Figure 1]
  • Simply stated, the purpose of this maneuver is to safely execute a takeoff under normal conditions (i.e., hard surface, minimal wind, plenty of available takeoff distance)
  • Normal takeoffs are closely related to the performance of flight at minimum controllable airspeeds
  • Normal Takeoff & Climb Procedure:

    1. Complete the Before Takeoff Flows/Checklists, to include a takeoff brief
    2. Check Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS), wind direction indicators, as available, and listen to the wind call given by ATC when issuing the takeoff clearances
    3. Call for takeoff:
      • Controlled Airfield:

        • Pilots must request a clearance from the Air Traffic Control Tower
        • Pilot: "[Facility] tower, [Callsign], ready for taking off [Runway], [Operation], [Location], [Altitude]"
          • Example: "Danbury tower, Cessna one seven two seven victor, ready for taking off runway two six, VFR to the north, 3,500 feet"
        • ATC: "[Callsign], [Wind], cleared for takeoff [Runway]"
          • Example: "Cessna One Seven Two Seven Victor, wind two seven zero at one zero, cleared for takeoff runway two six"
      • Uncontrolled Airfield:

        • A clearance will not be issued so you must announce your intentions over the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF)
          • Pilot: "[Airport Name] traffic, [Callsign], taking off [Runway] [Airport Name]"
            • Example: "Danbury Traffic, Cessna One Seven Two Seven Victor, takeoff runway two six, Danbury"
    4. Check the approach path is clear and then taxi into takeoff position
      • Crossing the hold short call "Lights" (nav/strobe/landing), "Camera" (transponder), "Action" (mixture/flaps/trim/fuel pump, if required
      • Utilize all available runway available (i.e., taxi straight ahead before aligning with the runway centerline)
      • Ensure you roll forward enough to straighten the nose/tailwheel
      • Verify heading indicator/magnetic compass are for that of the active runway
    5. Smoothly and continuously apply full throttle, checking engine instruments (tachometer (RPM), Manifold Pressure, as appropriate) are within their "green" operating range and call-out over the Intercommunication System (ICS)
      • Although not required, firmly depressing the brake pedals and performing a high-power run-up to check engine instruments or to charge a turbocharged engine may be desirable
      • ICS: "Engine instruments in the green"
    6. Release the brakes and maintain directional control and runway centerline with the rudder pedals
      • Lower your feet to the floor ensuring toes are on rudders ONLY, and not the brakes
    7. As you start to roll, monitor your airspeed and engine instruments
      • ICS: "Airspeed Alive, Engine Instruments in the Green"
      • Keep in right rudder and some left aileron to counteract p-factor crosswind effect as required
      • As you accelerate, the aircraft must be flown and not taxied, requiring smaller inputs
    8. At rotation speed (Vr), call out, "Vr, Rotate" and increase control yoke back pressure to pitch up
      • Vr is as recommended for takeoff weight
      • Smoothly pitch up or the aircraft may delay a climb
      • Forcing the aircraft off the ground may leave it stuck in ground effect or stall [Figure 2]
      • During gust conditions, the pilot should remain on the deck a little longer
    9. After liftoff, establish and maintain best climb rate (Vy) , while maintaining the flight path over the runway centerline
      • Trim as necessary
      • Use of the rudders to remain coordinated may be required to keep the airplane headed straight down the runway, avoiding P-factor
    10. With a positive rate of climb, depress the brake pedals, call out, "Positive Climb"
      • Rate of climb can be determined by an increase in altitude and positive VSI
    11. With no runway remaining, raise the landing gear, if appropriate
      • Callout: "gear up"
      • If remaining in the traffic pattern, leave the landing gear down so as not to forget to lower them later
    12. During the climb out (no less than 200' AGL), lower nose momentarily to ensure that the airspace ahead is clear, and then re-establish Vy, while maintaining flight path over extended runway centerline
      • Trim as necessary
    13. At 500' AGL, lower the pitch (approx. 2-3°) to establish and maintain a cruise climb or Vy as appropriate
    14. Set cruise power
      • Trim as necessary
    15. Execute a departure procedure or remain in the traffic pattern, as appropriate
      • If remaining in the traffic pattern, leave the auxiliary fuel pump switch in the ON position
    16. Complete the climb flow/checklist, when appropriate
  • Normal Takeoff and Climb Common Errors:

    • Failure to adequately clear the area prior to taxiing into position on the active runway
    • Abrupt use of the throttle
    • Failure to check engine instruments for signs of malfunction after applying takeoff power
    • Failure to anticipate the airplane’s left turning tendency on initial acceleration
    • Over-correcting for left turning tendency
    • Relying solely on the airspeed indicator rather than developed feel for indications of speed and airplane controllability during acceleration and lift-off
    • Failure to attain proper lift-off attitude
    • Inadequate compensation for torque/P-factor during initial climb resulting in a side-slip
    • Over-Control of elevators during initial climb out
    • Limiting scan to areas directly ahead of the airplane (pitch attitude and direction), resulting in allowing a wing (usually the left) to drop immediately after lift-off
    • Failure to attain/maintain best rate-of-climb airspeed (Vy)
    • Failure to employ the principles of attitude flying during climb-out resulting in "chasing" the airspeed indicator
  • Normal Takeoff
    Airplane Flying Handbook, Normal takeoff

Crosswind Takeoff and Climb

  • While it is usually preferable to takeoff into the wind, but most situations will not be a pure headwind and some crosswind component will exist
  • One example of where you may want to takeoff with a tailwind would be rising terrain, or perhaps if in a glider, a lack of landing options in a rope break
  • No matter what situation you have, always run the numbers and do not exceed the aircrafts limits
  • Crosswind Component Chart
    Crosswind Component Chart
  • Crosswind Component Chart w/ Limitations
    Crosswind Component Chart w/ Limitations
  • Effect of Winds on Takeoff:

    • Headwinds:

      • Takeoffs will require less distance:
        • Air is already flowing over the airfoils without any movement of the aircraft
          • Depending on the amount of wind and sensitivity of the airspeed indicator, this will register an airspeed without any aircraft motion
        • Because the aircraft feels as though it is already moving (by a factor of the headwind), takeoff lift will be achieved in less time
        • The end-state is that the aircraft will become airborne in less time which translates to less distance
      • Takeoff at slower ground speed
    • Effects of a tailwind:

      • Increased speed to develop minimum lift causing stress on tires
      • Increased takeoff distance
    • Crosswinds:

      • Crosswinds will have some component that is chord wise flow (over the wings) and span wise flow (from the wing tip to the wing root)
      • The chord wise flow will be either a headwind or tailwind as previously stated to help or hinder performance
      • The span wise flow will always be disruptive and provide nothing as the air is not flowing over the wings from leading to trailing edge
  • Determining Crosswind Component:

    • Crosswinds can be determined through a number of methods which each serve a purpose, depending on the phase of flight
    • Consider your source for winds (true vs. magnetic) and remember if its written its true, if its spoken its magnetic:
      • ATC reports, a wind sock, or ATIS are given in magnetic
      • METARsare given in true and may need to be converted to magnetic
        • Remember winds are variable too so only bother converting if operating at significant deviations
    • When calculating the crosswind always use the full gust component meaning, calculate crosswind as a "worst case" scenario
    • Chart Method:

      • Crosswind charts can be found in nearly every POH/PIM but are not aircraft specific, so any will do
      • Using the example provided in [Figure 1], plot your point using the number of degrees off the runway heading, at with the full gust component as strength
        • Lets say we're going to land at runway 360 and the wind is coming from 020 at 20 knots
        • We'll plot the wind strength at the 20° radial line (representing 20° off the runway) on the 20° point (representing the wind strength)
        • From that point we plotted we can move straight left for the headwind component: roughly 19 knots
        • We can also move straight down for the crosswind component: roughly 6 knots
    • Heading indicator rule of thumb:

      • Find the reported wind direction on the outside of the DI (shown as a large blue arrow). You now have the first piece of information; the wind is from the right [Figure 2/3]
      • Mentally drop a vertical line down from the wind direction on the outside of the DI to the horizontal centerline (shown in blue)
      • The horizontal center line (red) represents the crosswind axis so visually scale-off the crosswind component as a proportion of the length of the crosswind axis, ie, the wind speed
        • Using our example this means our crosswind component is just less than 20 knots (mathematically the answer is 19 knots)
    • Sixths Rules of Thumb:

      • If angle = 10 deg then crosswind component = 1/6 wind strength
      • If angle = 20 deg then crosswind component = 2/6 (1/3) wind strength
      • If angle = 30 deg then crosswind component = 3/6 (1/2) wind strength
      • If angle = 40 deg then crosswind component = 4/6 (2/3) wind strength
      • If angle = 50 deg then crosswind component = 5/6 wind strength
      • If angle = 60+ deg then crosswind component = wind strength
    • Mathematical Formula:

      • The formula for crosswind component = Wind Speed x Sin (Wind Angle) [Figure 2]
      • Example: if the wind is 310°@ 17 knots and you are lined up 330°, you can see you have a wind angle of 20°
      • Reference the chart to see the sine of 20° is 0.3 and multiply that by the wind component of 17 knots and you will get a crosswind component of 5 knots
  • Crosswind Control Mechanics:

    • From the moment you begin to taxi you will need to compensate for wind blowing at an angle to the runway
    • Placing the yoke into the wind raises the aileron on the upwind wing, to impose a downward force on the wing, to counteract the lifting force of the crosswind and prevents the wing from rising
    • As speed increases, the control surfaces become more effective as you transition from a taxi to flying, thereby requiring less of an input to achieve the same effect, so you will need to take out inputs as you accelerate
      • The crosswind effect will never completely disappear so some input will remain
    • If when taking out your inputs the upwind wing is allowed to rise, it will expose more surface to the crosswind and a skipping action may result
      • This side-skipping imposes severe side stresses on the landing gear and could result in structural failure
    • As both main wheels leave the runway and ground friction no longer resists drifting, the airplane will be slowly carried sideways with the wind unless adequate drift correction is maintained by the pilot
    • If proper crosswind correction is being applied, as soon as the airplane is airborne, it will be side-slipping into the wind sufficiently to counteract the drifting effect of the wind
    • This side-slipping should be continued until the airplane has a positive rate of climb
    • At that time, the airplane should be turned into the wind to establish just enough wind correction angle to counteract the wind and then the wings rolled level
    • Allow the aircraft to weathervane as it rotates and the effect of the crosswind will diminish
      • This puts you at risk if you have too much of an input to have a potential strike with the wingtip and the ground, especially with a low-wing aircraft
      • Anticipate this by keeping the wings level and letting the airplane vane to achieve that straight ground track
    • If a significant crosswind or gusts exists, the main wheels should be held on the ground slightly longer than in a normal takeoff so that a smooth but very definite liftoff can be made
      • This procedure will allow the airplane to leave the ground under more positive control, so that it will definitely remain airborne while the proper amount of wind correction is being established
  • Crosswind Takeoff and Climb Procedure:

    1. Complete the Before Takeoff Flows/Checklists, to include a takeoff brief
    2. Check wind direction indicators, as available, and listen to ATC's wind call when given clearance for takeoff
      • ATC: "[Callsign], [Wind], cleared for takeoff [Runway]"
    3. Check the approach path is clear and then taxi into takeoff position
      • Crossing the hold short call "Lights" (nav/strobe/landing), "Camera" (transponder), "Action" (mixture/flaps/trim/fuel pump, if required
      • Utilize all available runway available (i.e., taxi straight ahead before aligning with the runway centerline) while positioning the flight control as appropriate for the wind conditions
      • Ensure you roll forward enough to straighten the nose/tailwheel
      • Verify heading indicator/magnetic compass are for that of the active runway
      • Use full yoke to position the flight controls for existing wind conditions (full ailerons, neutral elevator)
    4. Smoothly and continuously apply takeoff-power, checking engine instruments (tachometer (RPM), Manifold Pressure, as appropriate) are within their "green" operating range and call-out over the Intercommunication System (ICS)
      • Although not required, firmly depressing the brake pedals and performing a high-power run-up to check engine instruments or to charge a turbocharged engine may be desirable
      • ICS: "Engine instruments in the green"
    5. Release the brakes, maintaining directional control and runway centerline with the rudder pedals
      • Applying power too quickly may yaw the aircraft to the left, due to left turning tendencies, most apparent in high-powered engines
      • Lower your feet to the floor ensuring toes are on rudders ONLY, and not the brakes
    6. As you start to roll, monitor your airspeed and engine instruments
      • ICS: "Airspeed Alive, Engine Instruments in the Green"
      • Keep in right rudder and some left aileron to counteract p-factor crosswind effect as required
      • Keep in right rudder and some left aileron to counteract p-factor crosswind effect as required
    7. As you accelerate, maintain centerline with the rudder and wings level with the aileron
      • Slowly remove aileron inputs as the control surface becomes more effective
      • As you accelerate, the aircraft must be flown and not taxied, requiring smaller inputs
    8. At Vr, call out, "Vr, Rotate" and increase control yoke back pressure to pitch up until the top of the glare shield meets the horizon
      • Smoothly pitch up or the aircraft may delay a climb
      • Forcing the aircraft off the ground may leave it stuck in ground effect or stall
      • During gust conditions, the pilot should remain on the deck a little longer
    9. After liftoff, establish and maintain Vy while maintaining the flight path over the runway centerline
      • Trim as necessary
      • Use of the rudders will be required to keep the airplane headed straight down the runway, avoiding P-factor
      • The remainder of the climb technique is the same used for normal takeoffs and climbs
    10. With a positive rate of climb and no available landing area remaining, depress the brake pedals, call out, "Positive Climb"
    11. With no runway remaining, raise the landing gear, if appropriate
      • Callout: "gear up"
      • If remaining in the traffic pattern, leave the landing gear down so as not to forget to lower them later
    12. During climb out (no less than 200' AGL), lower the nose momentarily to ensure that the airspace ahead is clear, and then reestablish and maintain Vy, maintaining the flight path over the extended runway centerline
      • Trim as necessary
      • Avoid drifting off centerline or into obstructions, or the path of another aircraft that may be taking off from a parallel runway
    13. At 500' AGL, lower the pitch (approx. 7-8°) to establish and maintain a cruise climb
    14. Set cruise power
    15. Execute a departure procedure or remain in the traffic pattern, as appropriate
      • If remaining in the pattern, keep the auxiliary fuel pump on
    16. Complete the Climb checklist
  • Crosswind Takeoff and Climb Common Errors:

    • Failure to adequately clear the area prior to taxiing into position on the active runway
    • Using less than full aileron pressure into the wind initially on the takeoff roll
    • Mechanical use of aileron control rather than sensing the need for varying aileron control input through feel for the airplane
    • Premature liftoff resulting in side-skipping
    • Excessive aileron input in the latter stage of the takeoff roll resulting in a steep bank into the wind at liftoff
    • Inadequate drift correction after liftoff
      • Be sure your track over the ground stays aligned with the runway as part of the upwind leg
      • Do not allow the aircraft to drift closer to downwind, as aircraft may be there
  • Crosswind Takeoff
    Airplane Flying Handbook, Crosswind Takeoff Roll and Initial Climb

Soft Field Takeoff and Climb:

  • Soft field takeoffs are used to obtain maximum performance when departing from a soft or rough runway surface
  • Otherwise "hard" surfaces can be made "soft" following rain storms or disturbance
  • These soft and rough surfaces provide unique challenges which may make the aircraft harder to control and reduce acceleration
  • Additionally, with soft and perhaps bumpy surfaces, you are at risk of getting the nose wheel stuck
  • Soft Field Takeoff and Climb Procedure:

    1. Complete the Before Takeoff Flows/Checklists, to include a takeoff brief
    2. Ensure flaps are set
    3. Check Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS), wind direction indicators, as available, and listen to the wind call given by ATC when issuing the takeoff clearances
      • Pilots must request a clearance from the Air Traffic Control Tower
      • Pilot: "[Facility] tower, [Callsign], ready for taking off [Runway], [Operation], [Location], [Altitude]"
        • Example: "Danbury tower, Cessna one seven two seven victor, ready for taking off runway two six, VFR to the north, 3,500 feet"
      • ATC: "[Callsign], [Wind], cleared for takeoff [Runway]"
        • Example: "Cessna One Seven Two Seven Victor, wind two seven zero at one zero, cleared for takeoff runway two six"
    4. Check the approach path is clear and then taxi into takeoff position
      • Crossing the hold short call "Lights" (nav/strobe/landing), "Camera" (transponder), "Action" (mixture/flaps/trim/fuel pump, if required
      • Utilize all available runway available (i.e., taxi straight ahead before aligning with the runway centerline) while positioning the flight control as appropriate for the wind conditions
      • Ensure you roll forward enough to straighten the nose/tailwheel
      • Verify heading indicator/magnetic compass are for that of the active runway
      • Taxi with full aft yoke, positioning the controls for existing wind conditions
    5. Without stopping the airplane, smoothly and continuously apply full throttle, checking engine instruments and tachometer (RPM) are within their "green" operating range and call-out over the Intercommunication System (ICS)
      • ICS: "Engine instruments in the green"
    6. Keep the nose wheel clear of the runway during the takeoff roll (approx. 7-8°), maintaining directional control and runway centerline with the rudder pedals
      • Lower your feet to the floor ensuring toes are on rudders ONLY, and not the brakes
    7. As you start to roll, monitor your airspeed and engine instruments
      • ICS: "Airspeed Alive, Engine Instruments in the Green"
      • Keep in right rudder and some left aileron to counteract p-factor crosswind effect as required
      • As you accelerate, the aircraft must be flown and not taxied, requiring smaller inputs
    8. As the main wheels lift off the runway, lower the pitch attitude to establish and maintain a level flight attitude, while remaining in ground effect, and accelerating to obstacle clearance speed or the speed recommended for lower takeoff weights
      • If no obstacles present:

        • Establish a Vy climb attitude
        • Establish and maintain Vy, while maintaining the flight path over the runway centerline
        • Trim as necessary
      • If obstacles present:

        • Establish and maintain obstacle clearance speed (Vx), or as recommended for lower takeoff weights until all obstacles are cleared
        • Maintain the flight path over the runway centerline
        • Trim as necessary
    9. After liftoff, establish and maintain obstacle clearance speed until all obstacles are cleared (50' AGL), while maintaining the flight path over the runway centerline
      • Use of the rudders may be required to keep the airplane headed straight down the runway, avoiding P-factor
      • The remainder of the climb technique is the same used for normal takeoffs and climbs
    10. With a positive rate of climb depress the brake pedals, call out, "Positive Climb"
    11. With no runway remaining, raise the landing gear, if appropriate
      • If remaining in the traffic pattern, leave the landing gear down so as not to forget to lower them later
    12. With obstacles cleared, lower the pitch to begin accelerating to Vy
    13. At or above safe flying speed , retract the flaps to 0°
      • Establish and maintain Vy
      • Trim as necessary
      • Avoid drifting off centerline or into obstructions, or the path of another aircraft that may be taking off from a parallel runway
    14. During the climb out (no less than 200' AGL), lower nose momentarily to ensure that the airspace ahead is clear, and then re-establish Vy, while maintaining flight path over extended runway centerline
      • Trim as required
    15. At 500' AGL, lower the pitch to establish and maintain a cruise climb
      • Maintain Vy if climb performance warrants
    16. Execute a departure procedure, or remain in the traffic pattern, as appropriate
      • If remaining in the traffic pattern, leave the auxiliary fuel pump switch in the ON position
    17. Complete the climb flow/checklist, when appropriate
  • Soft Field Takeoff and Climb Common Errors:

    • Failure to adequately clear the area prior to taxiing into position on the active runway
    • Insufficient back-elevator pressure during initial takeoff roll, resulting in inadequate angle of attack
    • Failure to cross-check engine instruments for indicators of proper operation after applying power
    • Poor directional control
    • Allowing the airplane to pitch up excessively, causing a tail strike
    • Climbing too steeply after liftoff
    • Abrupt and/or excessive elevator control while attempting to level off and accelerate after lift-off
    • Allowing the airplane to "mush" or settle, resulting in an inadvertent touchdown after liftoff
    • Attempting to climb out of ground effect area before attaining sufficient climb speed
    • Failure to anticipate an increase in pitch attitude as the airplane climbs out of ground effect
  • Soft Field Takeoff
    Airplane Flying Handbook, Soft field takeoff

Short Field Takeoff and Climb:

  • Short field takeoffs are used to obtain maximum performance in order to minimize runway length required [Figure 1]
  • Should be considered when departing from shorter airfields or when obstacles are present
  • Closely related to the performance of flight at minimum controllable airspeeds
  • Crosswind Component Chart
    Short Field Takeoff Performance
  • Determining Short Field Takeoff Performance:

    • Use the chart for all performance data specific to an aircraft, in this example, a Cessna 172
    • Typically, there will be more than one chart for the same thing, separated by weight or aircraft configuration conditions
    • Always round up if your weight is not close to the reference weights they provide, this is because takeoff data will never improve with weight and therefore your numbers will be more conservative and provide a safety margin
      • Conditions:

        • Aircraft Weight: 2300lbs
        • Altitude: 3,000' MSL
        • 20°C Outside Air Temperature
      • Chart:

        [Figure 4]
        • Starting at the left with the altitude, continue right across the chart until you reach the appropriate temperature
        • We expect a 1,100' takeoff without obstacles and 1,970' with a 50' obstacle
          • With a headwind of 9 knots, we can expect 990' takeoff without obstacles and 1,773' with a 50' obstacle
          • With a tailwind of 4 knots, we can expect 1,320' takeoff without obstacles and 2,364' with a 50' obstacle
    • Crosswind Component Chart
      Short Field Takeoff Performance
  • Short Field Takeoff and Climb Procedure:

    1. Complete the Before Takeoff Flows/Checklists, to include a takeoff brief
    2. Set flaps to 10°
    3. Check wind direction indicators, as available, and listen to ATC's wind call when given clearance for takeoff
      • ATC: "[Callsign], [Wind], cleared for takeoff [Runway]"
        • Example: "Cessna One Seven Two Seven Victor, wind two seven zero at one zero, cleared for takeoff runway two six"
    4. Check the approach path is clear and then taxi into takeoff position
      • Crossing the hold short call "Lights" (nav/strobe/landing), "Camera" (transponder), "Action" (mixture/flaps/trim/fuel pump, if required
      • Utilize all available runway available (i.e., taxi straight ahead before aligning with the runway centerline) while positioning the flight control as appropriate for the wind conditions
      • Ensure you roll forward enough to straighten the nose/tailwheel
      • Verify heading indicator/magnetic compass are for that of the active runway
      • Apply full yoke into the wind
    5. Firmly depress the brake pedals to ensure holding the airplane in position during full power run-up
    6. Smoothly and continuously apply full throttle, checking engine instruments and tachometer (RPM)
      • ICS: "Engine instruments in the green"
    7. Release the brakes, maintaining directional control and runway centerline with the rudder pedals
      • Lower feet to the floor (toes on rudders, not brakes)
    8. As you start to roll, monitor your airspeed
      • ICS: "Airspeed Alive"
      • Keep in right rudder and some left aileron to counteract p-factor crosswind effect as required
      • As you accelerate, the aircraft must be flown and not taxied, requiring smaller inputs
    9. At Vr (or as recommended for lower takeoff weight), call out, "Vr, Rotate" and increase control yoke back pressure to pitch up
      • Smoothly pitch up or the aircraft may delay a climb
      • Forcing the aircraft off the ground may leave it stuck in ground effect or stall [Figure 2]
      • During gust conditions, the pilot should remain on the deck a little longer
    10. After liftoff, establish and maintain obstacle clearance speeduntil all obstacles are cleared (50' AGL), while maintaining the flight path over the runway centerline
      • Trim as necessary
      • Use of the rudders may be required to keep the airplane headed straight down the runway, avoiding P-factor
      • The remainder of the climb technique is the same used for normal takeoffs and climbs
    11. With a positive rate of climb and no available landing area remaining, depress the brake pedals, call out, "Positive Climb"
    12. With obstacles cleared, lower the pitch to begin accelerating to Vy (74 KIAS)
    13. At or above safe flying speed , retract the flaps to 0°
      • Establish and maintain Vy
      • Trim as necessary
      • Avoid drifting off centerline or into obstructions, or the path of another aircraft that may be taking off from a parallel runway
    14. During the climb out (no less than 200' AGL), lower nose momentarily to ensure that the airspace ahead is clear, and then re-establish Vy, while maintaining flight path over extended runway centerline
      • Trim as required
    15. At 500' AGL, lower the pitchto establish and maintain a cruise climb
      • Maintain Vy if climb performance warrants
    16. Execute a departure procedure or remain in the traffic pattern, as appropriate
      • If remaining in the traffic pattern, leave the auxiliary fuel pump switch in the ON position
    17. Complete the climb flow/checklist, when appropriate
    18. Execute a departure procedure or remain in the traffic pattern as appropriate
    19. Short Field Takeoff
      Airplane Flying Handbook, Short field takeoff
  • Short Field Takeoff and Climb Common Errors:

    • Failure to adequately clear the area prior to taxiing into position on the active runway
    • Insufficient back-elevator pressure during initial takeoff roll, resulting in inadequate angle of attack
    • Failure to cross-check engine instruments for indicators of proper operation after applying power
    • Poor directional control
    • Climbing too steeply after liftoff
    • Abrupt and/or excessive elevator control while attempting to level off and accelerate after lift-off
    • Allowing the airplane to "mush" or settle, resulting in an inadvertent touchdown after liftoff
    • Attempting to climb out of ground effect area before attaining sufficient climb speed
    • Failure to anticipate an increase in pitch attitude as the airplane climbs out of ground effect

Aborts:

  • As part of preflight planning, remember to consider an abort

Noise Abatement:

  • Aircraft noise problems are a major concern at many airports throughout the country. Many local communities have pressured airports into developing specific operational procedures that help limit aircraft noise while operating over nearby areas. As a result, noise abatement procedures have been developed for many of these airports that include standardized profiles and procedures to achieve these lower noise goals
  • Airports that have noise abatement procedures provide information to pilots, operators, air carriers, air traffic facilities, and other special groups that are applicable to their airport. These procedures are available to the aviation community by various means. Most of this information comes from the Chart Supplements, local and regional publications, printed handouts, operator bulletin boards, safety briefings, and local air traffic facilities
  • At airports that use noise abatement procedures, reminder signs may be installed at the taxiway hold positions for applicable runways to remind pilots to use and comply with noise abatement procedures on departure. Pilots who are not familiar with these procedures should ask the tower or air traffic facility for the recommended procedures. In any case, pilots should be considerate of the surrounding community while operating their airplane to and from such an airport. This includes operating as quietly, and safely as possible
  • Noise abatement rules are the domain of the FAA however, that will not always stop municipalities from creating their own restrictions such as Scottsdale, AZ
    • When flying to new airports, consider researching local rules
    • If you hear phrases from ATC such as "noise abatement procedures are in effect" then this can be a huge clue
    • While the FAA rules should overrule municipalities, it is always a good idea to be a good neighbor

Intersection Takeoffs:

  • In order to enhance airport capacities, reduce taxiing distances, minimize departure delays, and provide for more efficient movement of air traffic, controllers may initiate intersection takeoffs as well as approve them when the pilot requests
    • If for ANY reason a pilot prefers to use a different intersection or the full length of the runway or desires to obtain the distance between the intersection and the runway end, THE PILOT IS EXPECTED TO INFORM ATC ACCORDINGLY
  • Pilots are expected to assess the suitability of an intersection for use at takeoff during their preflight planning
    • They must consider the resultant length reduction to the published runway length and to the published declared distances from the intersection intended to be used for takeoff
    • The minimum runway required for takeoff must fall within the reduced runway length and the reduced declared distances before the intersection can be accepted for takeoff
    • Controllers will issue the measured distance from the intersection to the runway end rounded "down" to the nearest 50 feet to any pilot who requests and to all military aircraft, unless use of the intersection is covered in appropriate directives
    • Controllers, however, will not be able to inform pilots of the distance from the intersection to the end of any of the published declared distances
  • An aircraft is expected to taxi to (but not onto) the end of the assigned runway unless prior approval for an intersection departure is received from ground control
  • Pilots should state their position when calling tower for takeoff
    • Pilot: "[Location] Tower, [Callsign], at alpha 2, ready for departure [Runway]"
      • Example: "Cleveland Tower, Apache Three Seven Two Two Papa, at alpha 2, ready for departure runway two four"
  • Controllers are required to separate small aircraft that are departing from an intersection on the same runway (same or opposite direction) behind a large nonheavy aircraft (except B757), by ensuring that at least a 3−minute interval exists between the time the preceding large aircraft has taken off and the succeeding small aircraft begins takeoff roll
    • The 3−minute separation requirement will also be applied to small aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 12,500 pounds or less departing behind a small aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds
    • To inform the pilot of the required 3−minute hold, the controller will state, "Hold for wake turbulence"
    • If after considering wake turbulence hazards, the pilot feels that a lesser time interval is appropriate, the pilot may request a waiver to the 3-minute interval
      • PILOT: "Request waiver to 3-minute interval"
    • Controllers may then issue a takeoff clearance if other traffic permits, since the pilot has accepted the responsibility for wake turbulence separation
  • The 3−minute interval is not required when the intersection is 500 feet or less from the departure point of the preceding aircraft and both aircraft are taking off in the same direction
    • Controllers may permit the small aircraft to alter course after takeoff to avoid the flight path of the preceding departure
  • A 4−minute interval is mandatory for small, large, and heavy aircraft behind a super aircraft
  • The 3−minute interval is mandatory behind a heavy aircraft in all cases, and for small aircraft behind a B757
  • NOTE: Controllers will issue the measured distance from the intersection to the runway end rounded "down" to the nearest 50 feet to any pilot who requests and to all military aircraft, unless use of the intersection is covered in appropriate directives. Controllers, however, will not be able to inform pilots of the distance from the intersection to the end of any of the published declared distances

Takeoff and Climb Airman Certification Standards:

Case Studies:

  • NTSB Identification: WPR14CA009: The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's decision to continue the takeoff from a wet and soft airstrip which resulted in his failure to maintain adequate airspeed and aircraft control during the takeoff initial climb

Conclusion:

  • Takeoff performance is dependent on a number of factors
  • Different techniques should be considered when departing from shorter airfields, when obstacles are present, when crosswinds are present, or when operating out of a soft (grass/dirt) airfield
  • Understanding the basics and executing normal takeoffs will set you up for success when performing short, soft, or crosswind takeoffs
  • Note that when an instructor/passenger is not in the plane, the weight will be less and therefore the pitch attitude may differ: airborne sooner, climb more rapidly, higher performance
  • Takeoff (and landing) factors are dependent on: thrust, weight, lift, drag, and friction (runway surfaces)
  • After reaching the hold short and completing all checklists you are ready to call for takeoff clearance
    • If ever told to taxi off the active and you receive a subsequent clearance, ensure all takeoff checklists are performed AGAIN
  • Consider filling out a crosswind sheet with the limits of your aircraft to be able to quickly determine if a wind component is within your aircraft's limitations [Figure 4]
  • Takeoff performance is dependent on a number of factors
  • Takeoff (and landing) factors are dependent on: thrust, weight, lift, drag, and friction (runway surfaces)
  • Having trouble with flaring? Consider the highway picture
  • Consider practicing maneuvers on a flight simulator to introduce yourself to maneuvers or knock off rust

References: