Impossible turn practice at 500ft

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by motoadve, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ En-Route

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    It’s a lot different with an instructor and knowing the engine really hasn’t died. I had an engine roll back once, but I had reached 1000ft AGL on the crosswind turn. I turned towards the downwind evaluated a crosswind runway and decided against it. Kept the turn going and called it a base to land opposite direction. Tower approved of course. Heavy T-41B.

    As a glider instructor we train the turn at 200ft, granted we have a 23-1 L/d, turning at 60mph and yes 45 degrees of bank. Plenty of room for a glider. Not sure I would do it in an Airplane below 800ft.
     
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  2. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I don't get why people are freakin out over this. THE ENGINE WAS STILL RUNNING. Meaning they could have returned to normal flight at any time. The "risky" part was the turn itself but you can clearly see the nose was dropping thru the entire turn.

    I once had an instructor, who I didn't know, do a biennial with me. After landing at a small field an taking off again, he pulled power at 400 feet on me without any warning. "Where are we going?" he asked, as I desperately searched for a landing spot. Now THAT was stupid. He didn't know me and had no idea how I would react.

    In this case pilots knew each other and had briefed the maneuver. I understand it may be beyond the risk tolerance of many, but there are those who desire the knowledge to truly understand the capabilities of the plane. Practicing at altitude has value, but is no where near the real world experience.

    Would I do this? No. Would I recommend it? No.

    But this pilot will be better for the experience and may survive a situation where I will not.
     
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  3. motoadve

    motoadve Pre-Flight

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    That was exactly the point, to show it can be done and also how difficult it is, and makes you think twice before attempting it in real life at 500ft.(knock on wood)
    I am grateful I did this training, its an eye opener at how dangerous is the impossible turn at low altitude.
    Conclusion: It actually means I would NOT attempt it, now that I see how extreme it is, at least not at 500ft. And yes if you dont practice it often you are not current, that is for sure.
     
  4. saddletramp

    saddletramp Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I do simulated rope breaks at 300' AGL in my L-23. We always shout out 200' on every tow because I tell the students that's the minimum for the "impossible turn". You're correct plenty of margin.

    In an airplane I prefer to simulate them at altitude beginning at lift off speed. I like the margin of safety but that's just me. To each his own. I've been instructing accident free since 1975. Yes, I'm a bit long in the tooth but I was a teenage CFI so not real old...
     
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  5. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    One other point.

    Real fear/panic induces a general clumsiness. Even in a simulator, once the Cirrus began to spin, even getting the cover off the CAPS handle was difficult for me.

    I think what often happens is that in the primal urge to get back down, clumsiness in the feet leads to a strong unconscious tendency to hurry the turn with rudder, leading to a skid and setting up the spin scenario.

    A scenario that plays out with sickening regularity.
     
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  6. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Ditto. “Deer in the headlights” and all that.

    In the “Huh? What??What to do???” delay, the airspeed will often have bled off from climb speed to sickeningly close to stall speed in the takeoff configuration. Again, the results have been seen regularly enough that we should take the decision to turn back very seriously. Personally, it is not in my bag of tricks.
     
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  7. sardonux

    sardonux Pre-Flight

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    I think the most important consideration one should make when watching @motoadve do a maneuver like this is "context." Go watch his other videos, and tell me where he would land of he has an emergency like this... One could watch this video in an isolation chamber and say, "risk" or "just land on the beach" or whatever; the reality is he's practicing in that relatively safe spot to eliminate risk, not to evaluate his options over the beach. Try flaming out +600 ft in a canyon or any of the other amazing destinations he flies, and you're not going to see a lot of options other than the turn or a stream.

    Kudos to you @motoadve - you're living your dream and I only wish I had the life situation currently to attempt (risk) half of the amazing things you're doing.
     
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  8. brcase

    brcase Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have had a partial power failure at about 500 feet (probably Carb ice), an instructor friend of mine had one just a couple weeks ago (stuck valve). We both did an immediate 180 back to the runway. With very little delay.

    I have practiced the 180 back to the runway probably 100 times in various airplanes and configurations. When the moment the engine lost more than 100rpm I was turning back to the runway because I knew I could do this and it was a maneuver I had done it many times. Now while I have landed gliders in fields a number of times, I don’t normally practice emergency procedures to landing in a field, So proceeding straight ahead is going to have a lot more “Huh, what to do, I haven’t really don’t this before” factor.

    I have also practiced it enough that I know at 400 feet making it back to the runway would be marginal, and I had already prebriefed that I wouldn’t turn back below 500 feet.

    Everyone needs to set there own “Safe” personal minimums.
    But the big lesson here is to help with the “Huh” factor, make sure you already have an abort plan and are as ready to use it as possible.
     
  9. Djdalite

    Djdalite Filing Flight Plan

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    Can we get serious now?

    We’ve all heard about the computer simulations and now we are watching actual footage, but I can’t quite believe you still have not taken into account the human factor.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  10. Flyingfanatic

    Flyingfanatic Pre-Flight

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    What were the winds that day?
     
  11. Rykymus

    Rykymus Line Up and Wait

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    My instructor did this to me. And without warning. However, it was at 700ft, non-towered airport with two runways, so I had a second runway that I could make if I couldn't make it back to the one I had left from, and it was a calm day with no traffic about. (Also in a wide open flat area, with lots of off-airport landing options) This was very late in my training, and although I didn't look, I'm pretty sure he had his hand on the yoke the whole time, just in case. BTW: I did make the landing, but it wasn't pretty.

    To be honest, it scared the crap out of me. Since then I practice the maneuver regularly, but at 3,000 ft. I also have a plan on where to put it down prior to EVERY take off now. I know that I can make the turn from anything above 500 ft, due to practice at 3k. But, I'm not going to attempt that turn unless there is nowhere to land on a more direct line. It is a tool to be used when there is no better option. (And by "better" I mean "has better odds of survival".)

    I pay insurance for a reason. Trying to prove what a great airman I am ain't one of them.
     
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  12. danhagan

    danhagan Cleared for Takeoff

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    It sounded like power was being added back in after the turn, but I only watched the first two. Out here in west Texas a lot of the flight reviews include a stop at KLRU (Las Cruces - 3 runway configuration) which virtually guarantees an engine out at 400 (landing to the next runway or back on the one you just rotated). Sounds "exciting" here on the internet, but is actually pretty tame with tons of room to spare in either situation.

    Depends on your line of work. My career started in a high stress trauma environment. Have had several issues in flight, and in EVERY instance response was so fast that things seemed in slow motion and I was running out of things to do. OTOH the airsafety video with the orthopedic surgeon that is in an emergency situation (low fuel) and is asked if he wants to declare and doesn't is the BAD side of operating without panic and failing to declare.
     
  13. FlySince9

    FlySince9 Pattern Altitude

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    Chicken...
     
  14. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Wellll I am on double secret probation I think...
     
  15. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Around 2003 the guy in the hangar behind me died with his instructor at Bonanza proficiency training seminar. I don't remember if they were actually killing the engine or pulling the power after take off - but it killed them both. I used to have the NTSB report. I think they stalled it in. I had just meet him a few weeks before. That always stuck with me - he was working to get more proficient and it ended badly. I will try about anything at altitude, but down low no thanks.
     
  16. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ En-Route

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    I have my students make 2 calls, the 200ft, changes the mindset from straight ahead to turn around. And again at 500 ft, changes the mindset to “abbreviated downwind”. Then pull the rope at about 600ft and if they try a 180 turn and start to set up for an opposite direction landing they get a verbal smack up side the head. Wait, you just called 500ft, do you really think you can safely land downwind from this high up?

    We have 3500 ft of pavement with at least 500ft gravel underruns, and no trees.
     
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  17. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And what if the engine decided to take that moment to stop working? Remember, that place was full of TREES, which really hurt to hit. They simulated an emergency in a way which left them no outs at all. Lots of folks have gotten themselves dead doing likewise.

    Now try and explain the difference in the manuever when performed at 2000 feet. You put the aircraft in takeoff setup, use takeoff power and velocity settings (and use a landmark on the ground), and then pull the power back at 2500. Student has to get back to runway heading and landmark in 500 feet. The only difference is in this case there are alternatives to flaming death if something goes wrong.

    Oh, the cool factor isn’t there. You don’t get such good bragging rights or get to post such cool videos on YouTube. You just learn about energy management in your aircraft. I promise one thing. The CFI who pulls power in my airplane at 500 feet will be invited to leave immediately if he doesn’t put it the hell back in right now.
     
  18. bluerooster

    bluerooster Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think the training depends on the instructor. My first instructor had me doing impossible turns pre-solo. We found that 500 feet is about the limit in a cherokee 140, with full fuel, and the two of us on board. It was drilled many times, untill it just became automatic for me to do.
    As the OP mentioned in his first post, his results improved with practice. Also one more thing to think about is while planning your flight you should be thinking about 10 steps ahead, to the point that you don't realise that you are. Thing such as "crosswind from the right, engine quits on climbout, 500' plus I turn right back to runway, below 500' sidestep left, and land on road." or some such.
    It's kinda like the canyon turn, unload, stay unloaded, and turn tight, keep it coordinated, and best to turn into the wind.
     
  19. motoadve

    motoadve Pre-Flight

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    Done it at 2000 ft, is not the same, not even close, 500ft is a lot more realistic, and teaches you it can be done, but better dont try it and land straight ahead if its 500ft or less.
    I feel fortunate to have gone thru this training, I wont do it again, its kind of scary.
     
  20. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I don't see how people can say that this or that altitude will work without factoring wind, runway length, and density altitude into the decision.
     
  21. WannFly

    WannFly Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Having no option in an actual emergency and creating a no way out situation are 2 different things. Its easy to send kudos from drawing room. All base to final spins happen between 300 - 400 ft AGL. There is a reason stalls and spins are practiced at altitude even though in reality they will happen too close to the ground. Buster wrote a book on engine out where he documents how he practices engine out at altitude and how USAF does. I don't personally know a lot of USAF pilots, but I can guarantee they have bigger stuff hanging in their pants than most of us average GA pilots combined. If they don't practice this at 500 AGL, thanks I am good practicing at altitude. Keeping an out is big part of ADM.

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  22. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Please. Are you telling everyone that you can’t tell if it works at 2000 feet? Honestly! You either bust the deck or you don’t. If you have to do something this potentially dangerous just to see that “it works” and can’t tell why there might be something wrong in your approach then you really need to listen. Part of being a good pilot is to do everything you can to have an out. Admittedly there are times when an out just isn’t a possibility. But so long as it is it’s our job to make certain we have one.

    I keep seeing people make claims that this or that makes one a better pilot. Flying a taildragger, or a glider, or getting an instrument rating or whatever. I know only one thing that makes a better pilot, and that’s good judgement. I am genuinely sorry to be so critical, but pulling engine power at low altitude does not suggest good judgement at all. The question is so simple, what if the engine hadn’t come back? Lots of simulated emergencies have turned into real ones that have gotten guys dead.
     
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  23. Eric Gleason

    Eric Gleason Pre-Flight

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    The reasons pilots get into trouble with this kind of maneuver and training is that they aren't properly prepared for it, and don't properly manage the risk. Before trying this turn, you need to be proficient at airspeed control and rudder coordination, as well as practicing turning stalls until you can both feel and anticipated what's going on with the airplane. Most pilots don't practice these things enough and are only proficient in managing climbs, cruise, and descents, and too many think that 30 degrees is starting to be a steep turn.

    It is a max performance maneuver, so you're going to be close to the stall. If you're not comfortable with this part of the flight envelope, you absolutely shouldn't be practicing a return to the airport maneuver. Even if you are comfortable in this part of the flight envelope, you should be starting this maneuver around 3000' and never trying it from low altitude until you can do it successfully every time.

    And this should be part of your pre-take off self-brief, so that you're spring loaded into the appropriate action if you do find yourself in this emergency for real. That self-brief should include:

    • Wind direction and speed (always turn into the wind)
    • DA and how it affects performance
    • Takeoff weight and how it affects performance
    • Clear landing spaces you can reach from 200', 500' (or whatever your minimum altitude for the turn is) and 1000'
    If you know these things, then you're prepared to take action and quell the helmet fire if the engine quits for real. If you don't practice the turn and don't know these things, then you're likely to fail.

    I can understand anyone who feels that they're not proficient to perform a maneuver like this, but please refrain from judging others who train to a higher standard.
     
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  24. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, doing edge of the envelope maneuvers at 500 feet is training to a higher standard. Whatever.
     
  25. Eric Gleason

    Eric Gleason Pre-Flight

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    Can you explain to me how it isn't?

    Would you say the same thing about someone who learns to do aerobatics, and practices until he's proficient enough to get a low altitude waiver and performs at airshows?
     
  26. Sundancer

    Sundancer Pattern Altitude

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    I did some experimenting, C-172 and a T-41, a long while back. Yeah wind matters of course, etc., etc., but generally found 500 feet or more is doable.

    Sometimes getting the airplane somewhere on the airport environment would be good enough, like a taxiway, overrun, cleared area next to, or between runways, if the off airport options suck. If you're running out of altitude before you can align with the runway, roll wings level and fly it through the crash.

    To be aware of; the 60 degree bank sight picture is "dramatic" at low altitude; the turn has to be fairly steep to make this work. . .also, the "push" required to keep the AS from decaying is also dramatic. You gotta reduce the AOA very quickly.
     
  27. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    60 degrees of bank is not necessary. Mathematical analysis at the Aerospace Engineering Dept. of the U.S. Naval Academy showed that the least altitude loss in the turn is produced by using a 45 degree bank.

    http://pilatusowners.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/US-Navy-turnback-study-1982.pdf

    Additional papers on this subject are available on this Web site:

    http://www.nar-associates.com/technical-flying/technical_flying.html

    Note: I'm making no recommendation for or against the turnback maneuver.
     
  28. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    I had that beat into me by instructor number three, or maybe four, and I thank him for it every time I see him.

    Takeoff is a serious time in an airplane. If you don’t know those details including your aircraft’s stopping distance, you shouldn’t be pushing the throttle forward yet. And it should be on a TOLD sheet or briefed out loud on any unfamiliar runway and known cold on any familiar one if not briefed.

    This was then reinforced by flying twins. Not knowing your takeoff numbers is a really stupid way to die in a twin. You need to know just how bad your off airport excursion is going to be and what the softest options ahead are.

    I can’t say my methods keep track of glide performance, but everything else you mentioned is known.

    If you haven’t seen a TOLD sheet, shame on your instructor. (Hint: It stands for TakeOff and Landing Data).

    Some may call it other things. Some may just do it and not call it anything. There’s at least one local club here that you aren’t going flying unless you filled one out and left a copy at the front counter. Theirs has some other data for finding you and knowing your overall plan, but it’s no different than doing it professionally with data from dispatch.

    It proves you had to at least partially get your head in the game a few minutes before they hand you the keys.

    In an adrenaline dump, one of the first things to go is fine motor skill. I’m sure you kno this is well known and covered in classes from self defense to shooting, but it is rarely mentioned in Aviation circles.

    You won’t be able to pull the tiny pin on the fire extinguisher for example, without significant concentration on it. More than you think you should need. Once you’ve experienced it you know how frustrating it is.

    No. Not all. Probably not even a majority.

    There’s sad videos out there of a number of them, and frankly, the setup usually is that the aircraft is low when making the turn, and the pilot steps on inside rudder trying to speed up the turn. 300-400 AGL they haven’t started to panic yet when turning final, usually.

    There’s a very strong feeling that you shouldn’t be pushing the throttle up for a go-around when you’re turning. I don’t know why this is, but many pilots say this. Of course, you should absolutely be doing it by then, if you’re that low. But pilots will consistently wait until they finish the turn and line up before announcing they’re going around because the approach sucks. If it sucks lined up at 100’ AGL too low, it sucked a long time before that. Go around and fix it.
     
  29. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    By the way, this video and the canyon turn video are nearly identical skillsets.

    I find it interesting that many who thought that video was “cool” aren’t nearly as enthusiastic for this one.

    Same deal. You’re going to hear the stall horn and see a lot of dirt out the window in a properly done canyon turn, too.
     
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  30. nauga

    nauga Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    This comes up a lot when the talk of turnback gets heated; however, the assumptions that go into that 45 deg optimum are pretty constraining. There have been more than a handful of papers expanding Dr. Rogers' research that show that the optimum maneuver changes with conditions, not least of which is airspeed at the time of power loss. I'm not opposed to turning back with proper training, equipment and proficiency, but I consider a reliable angle of attack indicator far more important for the maneuver than angle of bank.

    Nauga,
    and Uncle OTIS
     
  31. mtuomi

    mtuomi En-Route

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    "Dr Rogers, or how to stop worrying and learn to love the donut".
     
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  32. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    Kitfox can manage it from 300'. Saw it on YouTube.
     
  33. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky En-Route

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    One factor is, if you do a 180 and land, you are going to be landing with the wind. My plane climbs so quickly, I'm hardly past the end of the runway at 500'. I turn 180 and descend, Im likely to overshoot. So it depends on the planes performance, wind and runway length.
     
  34. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Just delay your turn. ;)
     
  35. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    I’d like to hear a real test pilot’s opinion (Hint @nauga ...) but I suspect if you plotted it all out, wind direction and speed is the biggest changeable factor in these, and climb rate is probably second.

    They go hand in hand, of course, but my gut says climb rate for most spam cans doesn’t change as much as a ten knot difference in headwind component will gain you. I’d have to crunch the numbers and I’m way too full of turkey and pie to do that right now...

    That’s in a single.

    Climb rate is certainly the major problem when half of your horsepower goes away in a light twin incapable of climbing at all on a single mill turning.

    Only had a little excess horsepower over what it took to fly level to start with, and losing half of total horsepower means you’re now WAY below having any excess for a climb.

    Would be interesting to crunch some numbers for different wind conditions.

    A nice headwind working against you getting further from the airport during the climb, and helping you get back there, seems like it would be a solidly helpful setup for this to be more successful than no-wind.
     
  36. Sundancer

    Sundancer Pattern Altitude

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    I had seen this, but after the fact, I beleive. Good point made in his paper; but I think/think he assumed zero wind, and my admittedly subjective take was I wanted the wind vector on my tail ASAP. Wind is the tricky variable here; we can probably assume most take-offs are upwind, and more wind on the nose is "better" for being closer to the runway when the engine quits. But it gets murkier as the wind increases, and as the crosswind componet becomes larger. The direction of turn, to start the teardrop return, becomes a larger factor as the wind increases. At some combination of wind, wind angle, and distance-to-return, I think/think getting the course reversed, and minimizing the turn radius, becomes more important than preserving as much altitude as possible in the turn.
     
  37. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So why hasn’t anybody included a treadmill in their analysis yet? :popcorn:want to know.:stirpot:
     
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  38. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Those are definitely important factors, and of course the airport elevation is important too, because of the effect of density altitude on climb performance. In addition, according to what I've been taught, glide performance is equal in importance to climb performance. The reason is that if the descent gradient exceeds the climb gradient under the existing conditions, then making it back to the runway will require a longer runway. Another reason is that on a straight-out departure, the situation gets worse as you get higher (and therefore farther from the airport), because the altitude is not increasing fast enough to compensate for the increased distance.
     
  39. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    Salty
    If I'm understanding you, I think I disagree.

    Follow me here, I'm thinking through this as I type (at 2 am, so I may Be missing something important)

    • Best glide usually isn't that much different than Vx, but it's usually slower than Vy, I think that means if you climb at Vy you have a little more time in the glide than your climb took
    • To stop your roll on the same spot you started, you must glide for more time than you climb, because youre going straight during the climb, but turning during the glide
    • If you are gliding longer than your climb, the headwind will have more effect during the glide
    • If my math is right, in a 10 knot headwind, one minute of gliding more than the climb, you're going to lose a 1,000 Feet of runway during the glide
    My conclusion is that you are more likely to overshoot or not get aligned in time with a headwind.

    Maybe I made too many bad assumptions, feel free to show where I'm wrong.
     
  40. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Richard Palm
    I'm not sure. More headwind also reduces the progress of the airplane away from the airport, so you're getting benefit from the wind both before and after the turn. As for wind angle, that determines which direction to turn; it's best to turn into a crosswind, because that puts you closer to the extend centerline of the runway. (Being offset from the centerline when you come out of the turn requires the turn to be greater than 180 degrees.)