Runway Centerline: Always Between Your Legs

A pilot completes the pre-takeoff checklist and starts to taxi on the runway for takeoff. The pilot is also occupied in making announcement on the common traffic advisory frequency and is rushing after a late start.

In the middle of all this the aircraft was never quite positioned on the runway centerline before the throttle was advanced.

The single engine trainers have a tendency to stray left when power is added. In case the footwork of the pilot is not correct, the already bad situation will only get worse.

As the aircraft speed up in the runway it is well to the left of the centerline.

Add one more factor of crosswind from the right after liftoff in the already sloppy situation. If left unchecked, some of such flights end up in what is called a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accident.

These types of takeoffs are common.

Student pilots have to be trained to develop a habit of keeping the airplane on the runway centerline. This aspect of flying should never be taken lightly and should never be disregarded.

The aircraft should be steered from taxi to takeoff position and aligned with the centerline of the runway, the correct path for takeoff.

Airman certification standards has mandatory requirement for private pilot certificate to maintain directional control and required wind drift correction during the time of takeoff and climb.

In case a student pilot does not form this habit, the responsibility somehow goes to the instructor who taught him.

It is not just student pilots, but trained pilots as well, who tend to be sloppy in maintaining runway centerline, particularly when runway path is not surrounded by any obstructions.

There are many airports that are not that forgiving. There are many destinations that asks for error free, precise departure and arrival from pilots.

Flying in and out of these airports calls a pilot to divide his attention between a maximum performance takeoff or landing with directional control and always there, crosswinds.

Take the example of departing and arriving to North Fox Island Airstrip, a recreational airfield situated on an island in Lake Michigan.

There are many cautious aired during the safety briefing including wind, trees and displaced thresholds. It is a good challenge for any flying specialist coming from other place.

A pilot who developed a habit of making sloppy takeoffs and landing will find it really difficult to execute things precisely at such places.

Habits like these do not form easy and never at a moments notice.

To become a safe pilot, you will have to practice things according to airman certification standards in every takeoff and landing, regardless of whether the runway is narrow or wide and short or long.

Also Read: Sensing the Unexpected Situations in Flying

Right skills are the best financial security that no aviation insurance companies can provide.

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