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Feature Article: Downwind Takeoff

At controlled airports the non-assertive pilot just goes where he is told to go. There are occasions where for convenience or necessity that you may need to make a downwind takeoff. If a downwind takeoff is assigned or mandated by field conditions the pilot has a few things to think about. The pilot must understand that as little as a 10 knot tail wind will almost double the takeoff distance. Increase takeoff distance 10% for each 2 knots of tail wind. Ground speed will give all the sounds, feel, and sensations of being much faster than usual. It is. I don't suggest any takeoffs with more. Ground speed will be 20 knots higher at liftoff than it would be for a 10 knot headwind. Rotation and climb speeds are indicated airspeeds and remain the same. The climb will be flatter and even at Vx we won't clear much of an FAA obstacle until nearly twice the usual distance. With a tailwind, we will need a higher ground speed to make the indicated rotation speed required for lift off. Most pilots show a lack of knowledge as to just how much a tail wind can affect takeoff performance. Any tailwind with a component of 10 knots is going to be full of surprises.

Tailwind accidents occur with nearly the same frequency as density altitude and low ceiling accidents. Tailwind accidents happen half as often as crosswind accidents and twice as often as carburetor ice accidents.

Last Modified September 25, ©2016 TAGE.COM

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