Things to Consider for Short Field Takeoff and Landing

Trainee pilots can have issues getting an accurate picture of landings or takeoffs. There is a need to correct it as soon as possible when you are close to the ground and there is hardly any margin for error. Students need to understand runaway length and consider the obstacles, density altitude effect on airplane’s performance, handle crosswinds, and the solution of becoming a safe pilot every time you take off or land.

In this post, let’s discuss the short field takeoff or landing. Students need to find more information about how to operate the airplane when the runaway is of minimal length and challenging even for professional flight instructors. It is an emergency decision-making process where the length of the runway is known to be very short or unknown. For this lesson, the takeoff & landing performance gap booklet is the best reference.

Goal & objectives

  • You need to calculate and ensure there is sufficient runway length for takeoff & landing as per the airplane’s performance data.
  • Make sound decisions before implementing the set principles for takeoff & landing on a minimal length runway.
  • Operate the aircraft according to the short field techniques recommended by the manufacture to achieve the best performance.

Considerations during takeoff

  • Temperature
  • Density
  • Pressure altitude
  • Airplane weight
  • Runway surface
  • Slope
  • Headwind component
  • Wind
  • Takeoff distance calculation

Performance graphs help to determine the necessary takeoff distance. Compare the available distance with the flight manual performance data.

Passenger Airplane Landing with Sunset Stock Footage Video (100% Royalty-free) 31088263 | Shutterstock

  • If takeoff distance is less than necessary, then walk away!
  • If takeoff distance is slightly more or equal to the necessary takeoff distance, then double check your calculation and consider all the above aspects.
  • Takeoff performance statistics is generally based on new propellers & engines, so compare it with the aircraft you are flying.

The distance needed for takeoff will include ground roll and distance for climbing to reach 50 feet height for safety speed takeoff, which depends on the aircraft’s stall speed which differs due to weight.

Landing considerations

  • Pressure altitude
  • Weight
  • Runaway surface
  • Slope
  • Headwind component
  • Wind
  • Landing distance calculation

In case, the landing distance is less than necessary, walk away, and in an alternative condition double-check the considerations seriously. Flight manual states max speed to cross the threshold and flap setting to use. The distance to touch the ground from 50 feet over the threshold and ground roll to full stop needs to be considered in calculating the landing distance.

If the threshold is crossed higher than the required 50 feet using less than the required full flap will increase landing distance, so think carefully. The pilots need to think about their personal competence before trying a takeoff or landing on a minimum-length runway.

Common issues with short field takeoff

  • Not utilizing the entire runway
  • Lifting very quickly creates excessive induced drag that can increase the distance of takeoff
  • Not adding sufficient pressure for Vx maintenance.
  • Plummeting while changing from Vx to Vy

Common issues with short field landing

  • A lot of airspeeds will cause floating down
  • Excessive descent rate leads to a bumpy touchdown
  • Over-braking on the rollout can lock the wheels
  • Set nose wheel down hard instead of controlling its touchdown

These are common issues that you need to work on for better takeoff and landing.

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