It would be great if all your takeoffs were into the wind, because the wind speed lowers the amount of airspeed your plane needs to begin flying. It also would be nice if all runways were at least 5,000 ft. long and weren’t surrounded by obstacles you need to avoid. In the real world, 1,800-ft. grass runways always seem to have trees at both ends and wind that’s is trying to push you sideways.
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That’s why you need to practicing advanced takeoffs: crosswind takeoffs, short-field takeoffs, and soft-field takeoffs. They are all relatively easy to master and your instructor will help you get the practice and the skill to make them part of the fun of flying. Meantime, expect lots of “do it again!” from your instructor. To help you, here are some tips:
- Always check the windsock or other indicators and make sure you know the direction of the wind at that moment.
- Select a visual reference point directly ahead of the runway centerline and maintain a straight path by applying rudder as needed.
- Keep your hand on the throttle, ready to cut it if you need to abort the takeoff.
- The purpose of a crosswind takeoff is to compensate for the wind effect on the side of your aircraft. Hold full aileron into the wind, reducing it as your ground speed increases.
- The purpose of a soft-field takeoff is to get the nose wheel off the ground as soon as possible to minimize damage. On a tailwheel airplane you try to keep the tail wheel low and make a three-wheel liftoff. Apply wing flaps (if equipped) as recommended by the manufacturer to increase lift.
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
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