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Turning Onto the Runway

Source: Pilot Workshops, by Wally Moran

A conversation on takeoff tips

Bob:

"What is a good airman looking for now as they take the active? You're cleared, onto the runway."

Wally:

"There are two things you should be thinking of, at least. Take a look at that windsock. That's the best indicator of the wind you're going to have on your takeoff, and it's usually very close to the end of the runway.

And of course, I always check for traffic on final. Controllers can make mistakes just like pilots can. Now, once you're cleared for takeoff, be sure you're ready to go. Sitting out on the runway is not a good place to be rearranging our charts or winding our clock or scratching our nose. Be ready to go before you call that guy so when he does clear you for takeoff, you can get out there and go. We don't want to be sitting on that runway any longer than we have to."

Bob:

"And you talk about talking on the radio. How about listening on the radio? You know, if you've been cleared for takeoff, and somebody else has been cleared to land…these things happen. There was a horrific accident out in Los Angeles several years ago. You know, the poor pilot was struck as he was sitting on the runway, and it wasn't his fault. But he did have the opportunity to listen to the Tower - and so situational awareness, what's going on around me - certainly does affect you and we can't be myopic as we're taking the runway for takeoff."

Wally:

"That's for sure. I don't like to be in position and holding any longer than I have to with my back to the traffic. Therefore, if you're ready to go when you tell the guy in the tower, you'll be able to roll out and complete that takeoff quickly and reduce the opportunities for those kinds of runway incursions."