CHAPTER 7. Takeoff and Departure Climbs

Terms and Defi nitions

Although the takeoff and climb is one continuous maneuver, it is divided into three separate steps for purposes of explanation: takeoff roll, lift-off, and initial climb after becoming airborne. [Figure 7-1]

  • Takeoff roll ( ground roll)—the portion of the takeoff procedure during which the aircraft is accelerated from standstill to an airspeed that provides suffi cient lift for it to become airborne.
  • Lift-off ( rotation)—the act of becoming airborne as a result of the wings lifting the aircraft off the ground or the pilot rotating the nose up, increasing the angle of attack to start a climb.
  • Initial climb—begins when the aircraft leaves the ground and an initial pitch attitude has been established to climb away from the takeoff area. Normally, it is considered complete when the aircraft has reached a safe maneuvering altitude, or an en route climb has been established.

Prior to Takeoff

Before taxiing onto the runway or takeoff area, the pilot should ensure that the engine is operating properly and that all controls, including trim (if equipped), are set in accordance with the before takeoff checklist. In addition, the pilot must make certain that the approach and takeoff paths are clear of other aircraft. At uncontrolled airports, pilots should announce their intentions on the common traffi c advisory frequency (CTAF) assigned to that airport. When operating from an airport with an operating control tower, pilots must contact the tower operator and receive a takeoff clearance before taxiing onto the active runway.

It is not recommended to take off immediately behind another aircraft, particularly large, heavily loaded transport airplanes because of the wake turbulence that is generated. Even smaller aircraft can generate vortices that can cause the WSC aircraft to lose control during takeoff. Always wait for aircraft vortices to clear before taking off.

While taxiing onto the runway, the pilot can select ground reference points that are aligned with the runway direction as aids to maintaining directional control during the takeoff. These may be runway centerline markings, runway lighting, distant trees, towers, buildings, or mountain peaks.

Normal Takeoff

A normal takeoff is one in which the aircraft is headed into the wind, or the wind is very light. Also, the takeoff surface is fi rm and of suffi cient length to permit the aircraft to gradually accelerate to normal lift-off and climb-out speed, and there are no obstructions along the takeoff path.

There are two reasons for making a takeoff as nearly into the wind as possible. First, the aircraft’s speed while on the ground is much lower than if the takeoff were made downwind, thus reducing wear and stress on the landing gear. Second, a shorter ground roll and, therefore, much less runway length is required to develop the minimum lift necessary for takeoff and climb. Since the aircraft depends on airspeed in order to fl y, a headwind provides some of that airspeed, even with the aircraft motionless, from the wind fl owing over the wings.

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