Have you ever been told that takeoff is a critical phase of the flight?
This is absolutely right!
The takeoff is a critical phase of the flight
You’re sitting in a plane that accelerates on the runway. You do not have a way to see what is going on ahead, is the runway going to end before we takeoff? Am I going to die now?
Noise, a bit of knocking and vibration …
When will we take off?
And when we’re in the air, suddenly the noise of the engines weakens, aren’t we climbing anymore? maybe we are descending?
The takeoff is certainly one of the most important and critical parts of any flight, and for those who suffer from fear of flight, all the parts of and the events during the takeoff, plus lack of knowledge, can cause great anxiety. By the way, looking at the rate of accidents, takeoff is NOT one of the leading phases of flight with accidents, if you want to know which part is the one with most accidents, click here.
What does it mean critical phase?
The aviation authorities define the various parts of the flight as Critical Phases.
Landing is also considered a critical phase of flight, but as I explained in the Descent and Landing article, there are fewer challenges in landing.
During most of the flight the plane cruises at high altitude, far from obstacles, above most types of clouds, and its speed, track, and altitude are relatively constant. It is true that even at this stage the pilots continue to monitor and take care of the plane, and many other individuals and systems on the ground take care of the safe conduct of the flight. But takeoff is really different.
The plane is heavy because it has not burned fuel, slow, and low. It needs to accelerate and reach altitude. The airport environment may be surrounded by houses and other obstacles, and may also require confronting various weather effects. Therefore, takeoff is considered a complex part, requiring the utmost attention of the crew, and sometimes a quick response.
Interesting Facts About Takeoff
- Takeoff is the only part of the flight that cannot be performed by autopilot. The technology actually allows it, but being a critical phase of the flight, it was decided to leave all control over the takeoff in the hands of the pilots. This is in contrast to the landing, which can be done automatically on most large planes, as I mentioned in the article on descent and landing.
- The takeoff run of a heavy passenger aircraft usually takes 40 to 55 seconds. It may look a long time, but in most cases, that’s the time it takes until liftoff.
- At any stage of take off run, a serious fault can be addressed, even if an engine fails. In the early stages of the takeoff run the pilots can still stop the aircraft on the remainder of the runway, and when at a high speed (beyond the speed of decision called V1), the plane can continue the takeoff run, lift from the ground and climb, even with only one engine out of two. It’s true, an airplane has at least twice as much power as it needs.
- About a minute after liftoff you may feel or hear a decrease in the power of the engines. Remember that we said that the plane has more than twice as much force as it needs? So it is time to reduce power, to preserve the environment (noise) and reduce the load of the engines. During this thrust reduction, the passengers may feel as if the aircraft has lost all of its power. Relax – this is not the case, and soon you will feel the aircraft climbing.
Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the less afraid. In my program, we are getting familiar with all the aspects of flying and get to know this environment.
Join us, and you can fly without fear! Click here to contact me and we will talk soon