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Airplane Flying Handbook
Takeoffs and Departure Climbs
Short-Field Takeoff and Maximum Performance Climb

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Airplane Flying Handbook


Table of Contents

Chapter 1,Introduction to Flight Training
Chapter 2,Ground Operations
Chapter 3,Basic Flight Maneuvers
Chapter 4, Slow Flight, Stalls, and Spins
Chapter 5, Takeoff and Departure Climbs
Chapter 6, Ground Reference Maneuvers
Chapter 7, Airport Traffic Patterns
Chapter 8, Approaches and Landings
Chapter 9, Performance Maneuvers
Chapter 10, Night Operations
Chapter 11,Transition to Complex Airplanes
Chapter 12, Transition to Multiengine Airplanes
Chapter 13,Transition to Tailwheel Airplanes
Chapter 14, Transition to Turbo-propeller Powered Airplanes
Chapter 15,Transition to Jet Powered Airplanes
Chapter 16,Emergency Procedures




Takeoffs and climbs from soft fields require the use of
operational techniques for getting the airplane airborne
as quickly as possible to eliminate the drag caused by
tall grass, soft sand, mud, and snow, and may or may
not require climbing over an obstacle. The technique
makes judicious use of ground effect and requires a
feel for the airplane and fine control touch. These same
techniques are also useful on a rough field where it is
advisable to get the airplane off the ground as soon as
possible to avoid damaging the landing gear.

Soft surfaces or long, wet grass usually reduces the airplane's
acceleration during the takeoff roll so much
that adequate takeoff speed might not be attained if
normal takeoff techniques were employed.

It should be emphasized that the correct takeoff
procedure for soft fields is quite different from
that appropriate for short fields with firm, smooth
surfaces. To minimize the hazards associated with
takeoffs from soft or rough fields, support of the
airplane's weight must be transferred as rapidly
as possible from the wheels to the wings as the
takeoff roll proceeds. Establishing and maintaining
a relatively high angle of attack or nose-high
pitch attitude as early as possible does this. Wing
flaps may be lowered prior to starting the takeoff
(if recommended by the manufacturer) to provide
additional lift and to transfer the airplane's weight
from the wheels to the wings as early as possible.

Stopping on a soft surface, such as mud or snow, might
bog the airplane down; therefore, it should be kept in
continuous motion with sufficient power while lining
up for the takeoff roll.

As the airplane is aligned with the takeoff path, takeoff
power is applied smoothly and as rapidly as the powerplant
will accept it without faltering. As the airplane
accelerates, enough back-elevator pressure should be
applied to establish a positive angle of attack and to
reduce the weight supported by the nosewheel.

When the airplane is held at a nose-high attitude
throughout the takeoff run, the wings will, as speed
increases and lift develops, progressively relieve the
wheels of more and more of the airplane's weight,
thereby minimizing the drag caused by surface irregularities
or adhesion. If this attitude is accurately maintained,
the airplane will virtually fly itself off the ground,
becoming airborne at airspeed slower than a safe climb
speed because of ground effect. [Figure 5-9]

After becoming airborne, the nose should be lowered
very gently with the wheels clear of the surface to
allow the airplane to accelerate to VY, or VX if obstacles
must be cleared. Extreme care must be exercised
immediately after the airplane becomes airborne and
while it accelerates, to avoid settling back onto the surface.
An attempt to climb prematurely or too steeply
may cause the airplane to settle back to the surface as
a result of losing the benefit of ground effect. An
attempt to climb out of ground effect before sufficient
climb airspeed is attained may result in the airplane
being unable to climb further as the ground effect area
is transited, even with full power. Therefore, it is
essential that the airplane remain in ground effect until
at least VX is reached. This requires feel for the airplane,
and a very fine control touch, in order to avoid
over-controlling the elevator as required control pressures
change with airplane acceleration.

After a positive rate of climb is established, and the airplane
has accelerated to VY, retract the landing gear and
flaps, if equipped. If departing from an airstrip with wet
snow or slush on the takeoff surface, the gear should not
be retracted immediately. This allows for any wet snow
or slush to be air-dried. In the event an obstacle must be
cleared after a soft-field takeoff, the climb-out is performed
at VX until the obstacle has been cleared. After
reaching this point, the pitch attitude is adjusted to VY
and the gear and flaps are retracted. The power may
then be reduced to the normal climb setting.

Soft-field takeoff.
Figure 5-9. Soft-field takeoff.