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FAA Glossaries

Touring Machine Company

Takeoff Technique

“Far too many pilots begin watching the airspeed indicator, looking for takeoff speed. Bad move, in my opinion. I absolutely do not care what the speed is. My only concern is to allow the airplane to lift off and fly when it wants to. How? In the vast majority of these nosedragger aircraft, if you wait until some decent speed (visually, or by ‘feel’), then lift the nose until the nose gear strut extends fully, that attitude will serve you well for the liftoff and first few hundred feet of climb. Play with this a bit, see if you can lift the nose, feel where the strut “tops out,” then where it actually lifts the nosewheel off. There’s a pretty obvious difference in ‘feel’ between those two points. If you do this a couple of times, you will begin to see the exact attitude you need for the liftoff by looking at the cowling and the runway—while you look on down the runway for that deer, or another airplane pulling onto the runway. Once you know that ‘picture,’ you’ll use it, and the little ‘bump’ (as the nose strut reaches full extent) out won’t be needed.”

Hold that attitude after liftoff, eyes still outside…

When you are sure there will be no further contact with the runway, reach for the gear switch, feel it, think about it, and move it, but don’t look at it. If it’s a strange airplane, then wait until you have more ground clearance, then “peek for it.” Get out of the habit of looking down for it. Stay outside the cockpit. Sometime after the gear is up, and before reaching pattern altitude, glance at the airspeed, and make sure you’re roughly at the speed you want. If there’s a small error, who cares? If it’s larger, then make a mental note to correct that attitude on the next takeoff. If it’s really off, you forgot the pitot cover. None of these are problems, for that attitude will keep you out of trouble.”Link

John Deakin

Abort-Analysis Checklist

If we take the above and boil it down into an abbreviated mental checklist of parameters that must be met or we save the day by aborting the takeoff, we get something along the following lines:

Lineup Check

Are the trim tabs, flaps and fuel selector(s) properly positioned? If no, abort. If yes, continue.

Takeoff Roll

At full throttle, is the rpm is in the acceptable static range on a fixed-pitch prop airplane? With a constant-speed prop, are the manifold pressure, rpm and fuel flow where they should be for the elevation and temperature? For a turbocharged engine, are manifold pressure, rpm and fuel flow at redline? If not, abort. If yes, continue.
Airspeed indicator off the peg and moving without jerking within 5 to 10 seconds of going to full power? If no, abort. If yes, continue.
At the mid-field point on the runway, has the airplane reached at least 71 percent of the published speed for raising the nose? If no, abort. If yes, continue.
At the published speed for raising the nose for takeoff, can the yoke/stick be moved aft and does the nose begins to come up? If no, abort. If yes, continue.

It’s up to the airplane to demonstrate to us, as pilot in command, that it is capable of performing on takeoff. It’s up to us to assure that it is doing what it’s supposed to do and, if not, to abort the takeoff and live to fly another time. Aborting a takeoff isn’t a failure on the part of the pilot; it’s a pilot showing the right stuff by recognizing the wrong stuff and taking action to keep people alive. Link

Rick Durden

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