Exercise 16 – Take-Offs

This exercise is progressive and can normally be taught beginning on the second flight.

Pre Take-Off

  • Confirm Before Take-Off Checklist is Complete
  • If required, maneuver aircraft to visually confirm no traffic is inbound to runway
  • Passenger Safety Review
  • Take-off Briefing including which runway, type of take-off, conditions, speeds and go no go point
  • ATC Clearance or Traffic Advisory
    • If Traffic Advisory, the phraseology Taking Off or Lining Up should be used

On Runway

  • Align aircraft with centreline confirming control inputs for wind.
  • Control column should be slightly aft from neutral
  • Keep heels on floor to avoid use of breaks (check wheels after take-off to see if brakes were used)

Rotation and Climb Out

  • Rotate at Vr speed as determined in POH. Nose should be on the horizon with nose wheel off and main wheels about to “unstick”
  • Control yaw during rotation
  • Make sure aircraft isn’t forced off the runway
  • Accelerate to Vy or determined climb out speed
  • Track runway centreline on departure or heading as assigned
  • Complete after take-off checklist when required

Cross-Wind Take-Off

  • Complete all of the same pre-take-off checklists as for a normal take-off
  • Once lined up, place full deflection into wind. Note direction of wind from windsock
  • Hold control column slightly aft of neutral
  • As ailerons become effective reduce the amount of deflection to maintain wings level

Rotation and Climb Out

  • Rotate the airplane at a slightly higher than normal rotation speed with little aileron deflection into wind
  • Maintain positive backpressure to ensure aircraft does not settle back onto runway
  • Airborne, ailerons should be neutral and aircraft crabbed into wind
  • Maintain Vy and climb attitude
  • Track center line on departure or heading as required and complete after take-off checklist

Short Field Take-Off

  • Complete all of the same pre-take-off checklists as for a normal take-off
  • Extend flaps as per POH if required
  • Pick realistic Go/NO GO point which is close to the take-off distance calculated before the flight
  • Enter runway backtracking and using as MUCH runway as possible and align aircraft on centerline
  • Apply and confirm full power against brakes, then release
  • Hold control column slightly aft of neutral

Rotation and Climb Out

  • At Vr, rotate enough to place nose of the aircraft on horizon
  • Accelerate to Vy or Obstacle clearance speed until clear of obstacles
  • Once clear of obstacles resume normal climb
  • Complete normal post take-off checks including retracting flaps

Soft Field Take-Off

Before conducting the soft field take-off for the first time, you should demonstrate the correct attitude to the student on the ground before hand. A common scenario is to have the student sit in the aircraft while you set the take-off attitude by either sitting on the tail (if able) or lifting the nose off the ground from the front. Show the student the correct attitude, a too low attitude and a too high attitude.

  • Complete all of the same pre-take-off checklists as for a normal take-off
  • Extend flaps as per POH if required
  • Enter runway using as much runway as possible and align aircraft on centerline
  • Hold control column full aft and smoothly apply power while aligning on the centerline
  • The aircraft should already have full power by the time it is aligned with the runway
  • At the first indication of the aircraft pitching up, reduce enough backpressure to keep the nose of the aircraft a few inches off of the ground. Set the attitude demonstrated before the flight
  • Maintain correct yaw control with crosswind inputs as necessary

Rotation and Climb Out

  • The aircraft will rotate on its own if you maintain the attitude as described above (nose a few inches off runway)
  • After lift off, allow aircraft to accelerate in ground effect until desired airspeed (Vy, Vx or when aircraft decides its time)
  • Climb out at appropriate speed and complete after take off checklist

Abnormalities during Take-Off


  • Caused by too much pressure on nose wheel, possibly too much speed
  • Apply back pressure to reduce pressure on nose wheel
  • Prevent this by keeping the control column slightly back from neutral during take off run


  • Aircraft shaking during take off run and possible loud noises, could inadvertently cause ELT activation
  • Apply necessary backpressure to the stick or abort take-off depending on severity.
  • Inoperative or ineffective shimmy dampeners must always be reported to maintenance 


  • There are numerous reasons to reject a take-off; ATC instruction, aircraft incursion, aircraft unsafe to fly
  • In any case a reduction in power and maximum allowable brake should be applied to safely stop the aircraft
  • In the event of any engine malfunction, the student should be able to recite from memory the appropriate checklist

Door Opening

  • Numerous older Cessna aircraft have the habit of having the door pop open during takeoff
  • Depending on the airspeed and severity, the option of rejecting or continuing must be made
  • If continuing, follow the appropriate checklist once airborne at a safe altitude and in level flight
  • If there is no checklist, use common sense such as slowing the airplane down, performing a slip or just landing


All of this information on pilot training and flight training in Canada is also available at www.myflighttraining.ca.