[HOW-TO] Line-up and take off

While it’s much easier to take-off than land (nicely), there is still a few things to keep in mind.

Line-up clearance / intentions

On a controlled airport you don’t have the right to line up and take-off whenever you want, you may already got the clearance to taxy up to the holding point (the position before the yellow marking crossing the taxi way), you don’t have yet the clearance to enter a runway. On bigger airports, ground or apron frequencies will handle your taxi movement, and tower should handle your line-up and clearing for departure.

On an un-controlled airport (without controllers / tower) you, as pilot, are responsible of your movements, line-up and take-off. However you should communicate what you want to do. So before any operation you should say on the radio your plans (HB-PPT parking will taxi to holding position RWY 26) then (HB-PPT holding position RWY 26 will line up RWY 26 departure outbound sector west).

On many airport the run-up (check out the aircraft preparation) is done in the holding position.

Just before lining up, a last check has to be done (a short one):

Line-up check

  • Windows, door, cockpit closed and checked
  • Landing lights on
  • Strobe on
  • Time noted (engine timer and navigation plan)
  • Talk (radio)

On the runway

Once lined up on the runway, make sure your wheels are straight (maybe make 1m more to straight them up), check the RWY number and align the directional giro to the RWY number. Look for the wind direction.

Take off

Break released and full throttle. While rolling on the RWY you must control that the airspeed increase (in case the indicator is dead or you didn’t remove the cap), handle the torque (for single prop your aircraft will tends to go left) with the rudders. Reaching VRot (rotation speed) you pull the stick to climb and wait that your speed reaches Vx in a stable way (Vx and Vy are values defines in the AFM). Don’t forget to handle the p-factor while in climb.

Vx stable

Many if not most aircraft which have fixed RPM handling (where you can control throttle and RPM separately), you should reduce RPM as soon as you are clear of obstacles (50ft or like 10m) for noise reduction.

Once Vx is stable and you are clear of obstacle you:

  • Gear up
  • Flaps up
  • Accelerate to Vy
  • Once at Vy trim

Climb check

At some point in the climb (normally turning cross wind or nearly) you do the climb check which includes normally:

  • Gears up checked
  • Flaps up checked
  • Check RPM / Throttle
  • Fuel pump off

Leaving circuit / reaching waypoint

In non-controlled airfields you should continue at circuit altitude / speed while being on the circuit till you leave it. In a controlled airport on the other side you usually have defined outbound routes / waypoints you must follow and call to the controller. Keep in mind you altitude as both circuits and waypoints do have altitudes indicated which you must comply in real life.