December 2000 Issue

Going Up

Takeoff technique may be the last thing on your mind, but its the first task at hand

Many pilots consider takeoff to be almost a no-brainer. Point the airplane down the runway and advance the power. A little footwork keeps the prop pointed in the right direction, then lift the nose.

Yet from an operational viewpoint, takeoff has proven to be one of the most critical phases of flight. NTSB accident statistics from 1998 the latest available at this writing show that general aviation airplanes of less than 12,500 pounds operated non-commercially suffered 262 takeoff accidents, 35 of which were fatal. That year, like each year in the five previous years, general aviation pilots averaged about 22 total and 3 fatal takeoff accidents per month, with no improvement as time p...

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