Part II — The Ground and Air Instruction Syllabus — Exercise 16 — Take-Off


To teach:

(1)  How to get the aircraft safely airborne under various conditions of surface, wind and runway length.

(2)  The need to make meaningful decisions as to what type of take-off should be used under existing conditions.


As required.

Essential Background Knowledge

(1)  Using the Pilot Operating Handbook explain recommended techniques for a normal take-off.

Additional take-off considerations for:

  1. Cross-wind. Refer to chart on cross-wind limitations;
  2. Minimum Ground Run. Refer to Pilot Operating Handbook;


  1. short fields without obstacles;
  2. short fields with obstacles;
  3. soft fields;
  4. rough fields;
  5. hard surfaces.

C. Wind shear.

(2)  Explain how density altitude may be computed.

(3)  Review take-off data tables in Pilot Operating Handbook. Show how to determine the effect of varying density altitude and aircraft weight on take-off performance.

(4)  Explain the use of the Koch Chart for take-off distance calculation. Discuss selection of decision point to continue or reject the take-off.

(5)  Explain the effects on take-off distance of:

  1. Wind — use of head wind and cross-wind component graph;
  2. Light shifting wind or tail wind;
  3. Up grade or down grade;
  4. Surface types, e.g., hard or soft, sand, clay, mud, grass, gravel, snow and ice;
  5. Surface conditions, e.g., wet, dry, slush, snow and ice;
  6. Snow, slush, ice, frost and dirt on aerofoils;
  7. Incorrect pilot techniques (example — laminar flow type wings);
  8. Rough field;
  9. Calm surface wind becoming tail wind just above ground — obstacle clearance considerations;
  10. Aeroplane weight.

(6)  For nose wheel and tail wheel aircraft, explain the following as applicable:

  1. Wheelbarrowing, torque, slipstream, asymmetric thrust in high nose-up attitude take-off, gyroscopic effect during rotation, weathercocking and ground looping tendency.

(7)  Considerations for taking off following large aircraft:

  1. Wake turbulence — wing tip vortices:
  1. time delay;
  2. lift-off point decision;
  3. refusal of take-off clearance.

(8)  Airmanship related to holding clear of active runway, not delaying other aircraft waiting for take-off. Use runway holding position markings, if available.

(9)  Instrument indications:

  1. Convert CAS to IAS when necessary;
  2. Airspeed monitoring during various types of take-off.

(10)  Question student on the exercise and clarify as necessary.

Advice to Instructors

(1)  Events happen quickly during a take-off; the instructor has to speak clearly and the student may have difficulty in hearing owing to the noise, especially if the instructor's voice is not raised sufficiently. For this reason, adequate preparatory ground instruction is particularly important in this exercise, and a quick summary of the high points just prior to moving on to the runway is necessary.

(2)  The use of brakes during the take-off run should be avoided unless rudder control is insufficient.

(3)  Advise the student to concentrate on keeping straight by some reference at the far end of the runway.

(4)  Impress the student with the importance of the first few metres; if a good straight start to the run is made, keeping straight throughout the take-off run will be easier.

(5)  The instructor must allow the student to make corrections, assisting only as necessary in the interest of control. Encourage the student to relax.

(6)  It should be emphasized that the purpose of short and soft field training is to enable the student to obtain the maximum performance from the aircraft. However, extreme caution must be used and much more experience gained before the student is qualified to operate in and out of fields of marginal length or conditions, or both. Under these circumstances, it may be necessary to walk the take-off area to determine suitability.

(7)  The short field take-off procedure assumes a firm smooth surface for the take-off run. The decision to take off from a short rough field should be made after assessing distance available, obstacles, and the degree of roughness.

NOTE:  Minimum run take-offs can be similar to those used for soft/rough field conditions; however, certain aeroplane types, especially those with laminar flow wing characteristics require take-off techniques as specified in the Pilot Operating Handbook for the aeroplane type and model.

(8)  During take-off, "wheelbarrowing" may occur at lower speeds than during landing due to the slipstream increasing the lifting effect of the horizontal stabilizer. The use of excessive forward elevator control pressure during take-off to hold the aircraft on the ground to speeds above normal take-off speed could, if a "yaw" force is introduced, result in serious wheelbarrowing.

(9)  By example, insist that the student use the check-list. Make sure that the check is completed conscientiously and does not become a mere formality.

(10)  The student must be taught to size up the situation before any take-off, taking into consideration the effects of wind, surface conditions, obstacles, turbulence, and vortices from other aircraft, etc. When all pertinent points are taken into account, the student should then decide whether or not it is safe to take off. If the decision is to proceed, the student should then select the type of take off to use, rather than correct for problems as they are encountered.

Instruction and Student Practice

(1)  Take-off (ideal conditions):

  1. Complete pre-take-off check, check approach, obtain take-off clearance if applicable, and line up with take-off path;
  2. Apply take-off power, and keep straight;
  3. Nose Wheel Aircraft — raise nose to take-off attitude as elevators become effective; Tail Wheel Aircraft — lower nose to take-off attitude as elevators become effective;
  4. Demonstrate attitude control at and after lift-off in order to accelerate to selected climb speed;
  5. Demonstrate procedure for retraction of flaps if applicable;
  6. Instrument indications — airspeed and heading indications.

(2)  Cross-wind take-off:

  1. Complete pre-take-off check;
  2. Hold control column fully into wind;
  3. As ailerons take effect, use only sufficient deflection to counteract cross-wind effect;
  4. When safe take-off speed attained — leave ground cleanly — control bank;
  5. Avoid re-contacting ground;
  6. At suitable height, adjust for drift with appropriate co-ordinated turn into wind;
  7. Retract flaps if used;
  8. Climb out for normal take-off, tracking along runway centre-line.

(3)  Short field obstacle clearance take-off (hard surface):

  1. Complete the pre-take-off check, and position the aircraft to ensure maximum take-off distance available;
  2. Demonstrate application of power and use of brakes, and maintain attitude for minimum aerodynamic drag on take-off run — lift off at recommended speed;
  3. Demonstrate flight technique for acceleration to best angle of climb speed after lift-off (if applicable — according to type) and emphasize precautions necessary due to ground effect.

(4)  Soft and/or rough field take-off:

  1. Complete the pre-take-off check, and position the aircraft to ensure maximum take-off distance available;
  2. Demonstrate application of power and use of brakes, and maintain an attitude which will transfer the aircraft weight from wheels to wings as quickly as possible to minimize rolling drag and to become airborne as soon as possible. (Avoid dragging aircraft tail on runway);
  3. Advise the student about the precautions necessary due to decreased forward visibility;
  4. Demonstrate flight technique for acceleration to the desired climb speed after lift-off  and emphasize precautions necessary due to ground effect.

(5)  Minimum ground run take-off — no obstacle on climb out.


  1. Similarity to soft/rough field take-off techniques;
  2. Flight technique for acceleration to desired climb speed before attempting to climb out of ground effect;

(6)  When suitable conditions exist, demonstrate effect on take-off run of:

  1. Runway gradient;
  2. Tail wind;
  3. Maximum all-up weight;
  4. High density altitude — (simulate with reduced engine RPM);
  5. Wet runways.
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