Takeoffs and Landings

Taking off is optional. Landing is mandatory.

Going to describe the main styles of takeoffs and landings as taught in primary (private) training.



A “standard” takeoff looks like this:

  • Get on centerline of runway
  • Apply throttle, ensure engine instruments are in green
  • Release brakes, accelerating
  • Watch for airspeed to increase (to become “alive”)
    • If the airspeed doesn’t come alive, then abort the takeoff.
  • At rotation speed (Vr), begin rotation. (or, you know, when the plane starts to take off)
  • Climb out at Vy (or Vx, if noise abatement requires it). Note that Vy is usually a higher airspeed than Vx
  • At 500 AGL, reduce flaps to 0° if they weren’t already at 0°.

Short Field

Usually as “short field with 200 ft obstacle”. This is where we get to practice STOL with a non-STOL airplane.

  • Set flaps to 10°.
  • Get on the centerline, as far to the end of the runway as possible (use all available runway)
  • Hold brakes and apply full power. Release brakes.
  • Watch for airspeed to come alive.
  • Rotate at Vr
  • Climb out at Vx.
  • When at 200 AGL (over that 200 ft obstacle), pitch for Vy
  • Reduce flaps to 0° when at 500 AGL.

Soft Field

E.G. a grass field or a sandbar. Or really, any field that’s not concrete or tarmac.

  • Set flaps to 10°.
  • As you take the runway, apply full back pressure on the elevator, do not come to a stop on the runway.
  • Gradually apply full throttle.
  • Keep nosewheel off the ground, but don’t tailstrike.
  • Rotate at Vr
  • Stay in ground effect until you’re at Vy
  • Climb out at Vy
  • Reduce flaps to 0° when at 500 AGL.


Short Field

The point of a short field landing is to get the plane down as early as possible (on your landing mark). Without floating or taking more space than necessary.

  • Once you are on the runway:
    • Reduce flaps to 0°
    • Apply brakes as necessary (don’t destroy the brake pads if you don’t have to)
    • Once flaps are at 0°, pull back on the elevator - use drag as much as possible to reduce speed.

Soft Field

The idea here is to essentially try to keep the plane from landing as much as possible - don’t want it to catch on a sandbar or clump of dirt and cause the plane to flip or something.

  • Don’t idle the engine as you come in to land
    • Instead, wait until you’ve touched the ground to idle the engine
  • Keep the nosewheel off the ground as long as possible
  • Role off the field without applying brakes too much.

Last updated: 2019-06-23 12:13:21 -0700