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Takeoff Notes
2010-03-18

Takeoff Notes

While easy to accomplish, the takeoff is a relatively high risk flight operation because of the few options if things go wrong. The best option available for takeoff is "not to". Risk management gives you the option of not to or to delay the takeoff. Don't let yourself be hurried by ATC or other factors (cost) if a delay or cancellation will reduce your risk.

During your preflight you have determined that the aircraft is safe to takeoff. During the pre-takeoff you have reconfirmed this safety by again checking doors etc. Once you have applied power and begun accelerating you are again limiting your options. Pilot actions taken before takeoff prevent most takeoff accidents.

Don't go until you are ready. Use your pretakeoff checklist. Trim set should be part of the pre-takeoff checklist. If and when something goes wrong on takeoff don't do it to yourself. Plan for the aircraft control operation required by the existing wind, density altitude, runway conditions and the unexpected. What if your door suddenly opens? What is your aborted takeoff distance? What is your minimum altitude before you attempt a 240 degree return to the runway? Have things ready, know your options, clear the close-in-base and final approaches. You cannot rely on the controller's 'clearance' since every aircraft operation is your responsibility. When you have done all of the above, GO.

Don't let a controller or other plane hurry you into a takeoff. A hurried departure may not allow you to properly clear the runway approaches. Remember, ATC only gives clearances. When cleared for takeoff the student is required to taxi and turn toward the final course and base leg before entering the runway. A clearance for takeoff does not relieve the pilot of responsibility for his own safety. This is the only clearance that through common practice does not need the "85K" acknowledgment. However, it is not wrong to do so. Plan your clearing turn to clear the runway so as to give a large turning arc for smooth alignment and acceleration.

Don't waste runway by too slow application of power. The safest takeoff requires that maximum use of the runway be made. Anything other than a smooth rapid application of throttle is relatively unsafe. Rotation and liftoff should occur at minimum safe operating speed (bottom of the green arc) and climb trimmed for best rate.

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