Chapter 5—Takeoff and Departure Climbs

Terms and Definitions
Prior to Takeoff

Normal Takeoff
   Takeoff Roll
   Initial Climb

Crosswind Takeoff
   Takeoff Roll
   Initial Climb

Ground Effect on Takeoff
   Takeoff Roll
   Initial Climb

Soft/Rough-Field Takeoff and Climb
   Takeoff Roll
   Initial Climb

Rejected Takeoff/Engine Failure
Noise Abatement

Table of Contents


This chapter discusses takeoffs and departure climbs in tricycle landing gear (nosewheel-type) airplanes under normal conditions, and under conditions which require maximum performance. A thorough knowledge of takeoff principles, both in theory and practice, will often prove of extreme value throughout a pilot’s career. It will often prevent an attempted takeoff that would result in an accident, or during an emergency, make possible a takeoff under critical conditions when a pilot with a less well rounded knowledge and technique would fail.

The takeoff, though relatively simple, often presents the most hazards of any part of a flight. The importance of thorough knowledge and faultless technique and judgment cannot be overemphasized.

It must be remembered that the manufacturer’s recommended procedures, including airplane configuration and airspeeds, and other information relevant to takeoffs and departure climbs in a specific make and model airplane are from the airplane manufacturer’s recommendations as contained in the AFM/POH, the airplane manufacturer’s recommendations take precedence.


Although the takeoff and climb is one continuous maneuver, it will be divided into three separate steps for purposes of explanation: (1) the takeoff roll, (2) the lift-off, and (3) the initial climb after becoming airborne. [Figure 5-1]

  • Takeoff Roll (ground roll)—the portion of the takeoff procedure during which the airplane is accelerated from a standstill to an airspeed that provides sufficient lift for it to become airborne.
  • Lift-off (rotation)—the act of becoming airborne as a result of the wings lifting the airplane off the ground or the pilot rotating the nose up, increasing the angle of attack to start a climb.
  • Initial Climb—begins when the airplane leaves the ground and a pitch attitude has been established to climb away from the takeoff area.

conained in the FAA-approved Airplane Flight Manual and/or Pilot’s Operating Handbook (AFM/POH) for that airplane. If any of the information in this chapter differs Normally, it is considered complete when the airplane has reached a safe maneuvering altitude,

Takeoff and climb Figure 5-1. Takeoff and climb.


Before taxiing onto the runway or takeoff area, the pilot should ensure that the engine is operating properly and that all controls, including flaps and trim tabs, are set in accordance with the before takeoff checklist. In addition, the pilot must make certain that the approach and takeoff paths are clear of other aircraft. At uncontrolled airports, pilots should announce their intentions on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) assigned to that airport. When operating from an airport with an operating control tower, pilots must contact the tower operator and receive a takeoff clearance before taxiing onto the active runway.

It is not recommended to take off immediately behind another aircraft, particularly large, heavily loaded transport airplanes, because of the wake turbulence that is generated.

While taxiing onto the runway, the pilot can select ground reference points that are aligned with the runway direction as aids to maintaining directional control during the takeoff. These may be runway centerline markings, runway lighting, distant trees, towers, buildings, or mountain peaks.

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PED Publication