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Feature Article: Soft-field Takeoff
The situation is a takeoff area of unlimited length but having
a soft surface the nature of which would prevent acceleration
of an aircraft to takeoff speed without the application of special
techniques. The intention is to make a running start on to the
runway with 10 degrees of flaps and the yoke held full back. Power
is smoothly applied so as to give sufficient elevator power to
raise and keep the nose wheel off the ground. The aircraft is
allowed to lift off at a minimum flying speed that can be maintained
and accelerated only in ground effect. The aircraft is flown in
ground effect until climb speed is attained. At 200' AGL the flaps
are removed and normal climb maintained. So much for procedure.
Piloting techniques require that the elbow and arm be locked
so that over rotation does not occur with sudden power application.
Coordinated power and yoke is required to attain the required/desired
smoothness. As the aircraft accelerates the pitch attitude is
increased to attain lift off. Anticipatory rudder application
is very important during this entire takeoff to maintain directional
Once in the air you will be behind the power curve. This means
that since you have no more power available you must lower the
nose to increase the speed. Unless this speed increase is carefully
crafted by combining close flight to the ground and a gradual
lowering of the nose an unintentional ground contact is likely.
The closer you are able to fly to the ground while avoiding contact
the sooner the aircraft will attain the flying speed required
for climb. Most common mistake is failing to remove flaps at 200'.
Last Modified May 15, ©2021 TAGE.COM