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Common Errors in Instrument Takeoffs

in Airplane Basic Flight Maneuvers - Electronic Flight Display

Common errors associated with the instrument takeoff include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Failure to perform an adequate flight deck check before the takeoff. Pilots have attempted instrument takeoff with inoperative airspeed indicators (pitot tube obstructed), controls locked, and numerous other oversights due to haste or carelessness. It is imperative to cross-check the ASI as soon as possible. No airspeed is indicated until 20 knots of true airspeed is generated in some systems.

2. Improper alignment on the runway. This may result from improper brake applications, allowing the airplane to creep after alignment, or from alignment with the nosewheel or tailwheel cocked. In any case, the result is a built-in directional control problem as the takeoff starts.

3. Improper application of power. Abrupt applications of power complicate directional control. Power should be applied in a smooth and continuous manner to arrive at the takeoff power setting within approximately 3 seconds.

4. Improper use of brakes. Incorrect seat or rudder pedal adjustment, with feet in an uncomfortable position, frequently causes inadvertent application of brakes and excessive heading changes.

5. Overcontrolling rudder pedals. This fault may be caused by late recognition of heading changes, tension on the controls, misinterpretation of the heading indicator (and correcting in the wrong direction), failure to appreciate changing effectiveness of rudder control as the aircraft accelerates, and other factors. If heading changes are observed and corrected instantly with small movement of the rudder pedals, swerving tendencies can be reduced.

6. Failure to maintain attitude after becoming airborne. If the pilot reacts to seat-of-the-pants sensations when the airplane lifts off, pitch control is guesswork. The pilot may either allow excessive pitch or apply excessive forward-elevator pressure, depending on the reaction to trim changes.

7. Inadequate cross-check. Fixations are likely during the trim changes, attitude changes, gear and flap retractions, and power changes. Once an instrument or a control input is applied, continue the cross-check and note the effect control during the next cross-check sequence.

8. Inadequate interpretation of instruments. Failure to understand instrument indications immediately indicates that further study of the maneuver is necessary.


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